Clarinettist Shelley Levy and pianist Pavel Timofeyevsky will feature in the Grahamstown Music Society’s next concert on Thursday 10 May at 7.30pm in the NELM Auditorium at 25 Worcester Street.
Shelley Levy (clarinet) was born in Cape Town, where she received her first musical education, before studying further in Geneva and London. Pavel Timofeyevsky (piano) was born in Russia and educated in Britain. Both artists, who are resident in Britain, have frequently performed there and in several other countries.
The programme consists of works by Burgmüller, Brahms, Chausson, Debussy, Bozza, Bernstein and the highly acclaimed contemporary South Afrcan composer Hendrik Hofmeyr.
Tickets cost R90, R70 (pensioners), R50 (students in tertiary institutions) and there is no charge for Music Society members or school-goers.
Burgmüller’s Duo for Clarinet and Piano in E flat Major Op.15 opens the programme, followed by Hofmeyr’s Canto Notturno and Brahms’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F Minor Op. 120 no.1.
After the interval are Chausson’s Andante et Allegro for clarinet and piano, Debussy’s Prelude “Bruyères” L’Isle Joyeuse, Bozza’s Idylle and Leonard Bernstein’s Sonata for Clarinet and Piano.
Norbert Burgmüller (1810-1836) Duo Op.15(1834)
Burgmüller was a German pianist and composer. He was greatly respected by Mendelssohn and Schumann. Burmüller died at age 26 when he drowned at a spa in Aachen. His Duo for clarinet and piano was only published 29 years after his death in 1865. It is in three sections played as a single movement. The Duo has lyrical tunes combined with virtuoso passages that are passed between the clarinet and piano.
Hendrik Hofmeyr (1957-) Canto Notturno
Hendrik Hofmeyr was born in Cape Town in 1957. In 1997 he won 2 major international competitions, the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition of Belgium (with Raptus for violin and orchestra) and the Dimitri Mitropoulos Competition in Athens (with Byzantium for high voice and orchestra). His Incantesimo for flute was chosen to represent South Africa at the Congress of the International Society of Contemporary Music in Croatia in 2005. Hofmeyr, whose oeuvre includes some 90 commissioned works, is currently professor and Head of Composition and Music Theory at the University of Cape Town, where he obtained his Doctorate in 1999. Canto Notturno (2010) is a sombre nocturne which exploits the dark timbre and lyrical character of the clarinet.
Brahms (1833-1897) Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in f Minor op. 120 no.1
In 1890, Brahms had announced he would be retiring from composing. In 1991 he heard a concert performed by the clarinettist Richard Mühlfield and was so impressed by his virtuosity and beautiful sound. Brahms developed a friendship with Mühlfield and nicknamed him “Fräulein Klarinette”. Inspired by Mühlfield’s playing and less than a year after announcing his retirement, Brahms began composing again. He wrote 4 remarkable works for clarinet cherished by clarinettists, a trio for clarinet, cello and piano, a quintet for clarinet and strings and 2 sonatas for clarinet and piano. Both Sonatas were first publicly performed in 1895 by Brahms and Mühlfield. It is interesting that the keys of the sonatas – F minor and E b Major – are the same keys as Weber’s two clarinet concerto’s which were composed more than 80 years earlier.
Chausson (1855-1899) Andante and Allegro
Chausson studied law to please his father but had little interest in it. At the late age of 24 he began studying composition at the Paris Conservatoire. Andante and Allegro is an early work, and Chausson deliberately chose the clarinet as it was rarely featured in concert halls at the time. Andante and Allegro was influenced by his two professors- Franck and Massenet. Chausson experimented with the expressive and technical possibilities of the clarinet. He explored its use of colour, its lyrical quality and virtuosity and its bright and mellow tone.
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Prelude “Bruyeres” and L’isle Joyeuse
It is the centenary year since Debussy’s passing and we wanted to pay homage to one of our favourite composers by including some of his piano compositions in this concert. Bruyeres which means heather and is also a name of small town in eastern France which Debussy has visited. This is a short, calm and serene composition, which was composed for his Second Book of 12 preludes between 1912-13 is one of the great examples of his late period. L’isle Joyeuse which literally means Isle of Joy was composed some 8 years earlier during probably some of the happiest times in Debussy’s life. Two theories as to the inspiration for this composition exists. First is that it is said to have been inspired by a Rococo painting of Jean-Antoine Watteau entitled L’Embarquement pour Cythère (The Embarkation for Cythera) where it depicts the voluptuous love revels of a party of aristocrats on the island sacred to Venus, goddess of love. The second theory is that the Island of Joy is supposed to represent Channel Island of Jersey. In 1904, Debussy escaped from France to the island with Emma Bardac, who became his second wife.
Eugène Bozza (1905-1991) Idylle and Claribel for Clarinet and piano
Eugene Joseph Bozza was a French/Italian composer, violinist and conductor who in his youth achieved the remarkable feat of winning the Premier Prix at the Paris Conservatoire in all of these three disciplines. He was also awarded the much-coveted Prix de Rome where as his prize he spent 4 blissful years at the Villa Medici in the Italian capital devoting his existence entirely to composition. It was during that time at the Villa that he composed these two charming miniatures for clarinet and piano. He wrote these for his friend and old conservatoire classmate, clarinettist Henri Dubois, who at that time recently became appointed professor at the Vallensienne music academy. The pieces with its lightness, wit, beauty reflect the very happy time in Bozza’s life, who was young, had just married and had a baby girl with his wife.
Bernstein (1918-1990) Sonata for Clarinet and piano
Bernstein’s Sonata for clarinet and piano was published in 1942, it was his first published piece. It is dedicated to the clarinettist David Oppenheim, whom Bernstein met while studying in Tanglewood in 1940 and 1941. The premiere performance took place at the Institute of Modern Art in Boston. It was performed by David Glazer on clarinet and the 23-year-old Bernstein on piano. The New York Premiere took place a year later at The New York Public Library, with Bernstein on piano and Oppenheim on clarinet. The first movement of the Sonata is lyrical and the second movement begins with a tranquil opening and then moves into a rhythmic and syncopated fast section that foreshadows Bernstein’s writing in West Side Story.
Clarinettist, Shelley Levy, was born in Cape Town, South Africa. She began her studies at the University of Cape Town graduating with a performer’s diploma in 1992. She was then awarded a prestigious Swiss government scholarship to study at the Geneva Conservatoire where she graduated with a Prix de Virtuosite (Premiere Prix) in 1996. Shelley continued her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, where she received a post graduate diploma in Orchestral training in 1997. Her teachers have included Oliver de Groote, Walter Boeykens, Thomas Friedli, Joan Enric Lluna, Thea King and Michael Whight. She has also participated in clarinet masterclasses with soloists Antony Pay and Michael Collins as well as chamber music masterclasses with Maurice Borgue, Lamar Crowson and the Floristan Trio. During her student years Shelley was principal clarinet of the South African National Youth Orchestra, the Rotterdam Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra, the Geneva Conservatoire Orchestra and the Young Musician Symphony Orchestra, UK.
In 1991 Shelley won the Oudemeester competition for wind instruments, the Natal 75th Anniversary Prize for Orchestral Instruments and the wind category of the ATKV Forte Competition in South Africa. In 1994 she was a finalist in the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s Music Competition, and in 1997 a woodwind finalist in the Royal Overseas League Competition, London.
Shelley has performed both as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician in the UK and abroad. Her solo appearances include the Mozart and Weber concerto’s no’s 1 and 2, as well as the Krommer double concerto with all the major Symphony orchestras in South Africa. She has also performed as soloist with the Geneva Conservatoire Orchestra, in Switzerland. She has performed as an orchestral freelancer in the Cape Town Symphony orchestra, the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Brunel Ensemble, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra amongst others. Shelley has given numerous solo and chamber music concerts in South Africa, France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada, including all the major duo clarinet sonatas as well as chamber ensemble works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Bartok, Brahms, Bruch, Poulenc, and Stravinsky.
In 2010 she commissioned and gave a World Premier of Yoko Kubo’s piece ‘Reflections’ for flute and clarinet at the Sani International Festival in Greece while more recent commissions include a trio for alto flute, clarinet and piano by British composer Ian Stuart. In the UK Shelley has appeared at various important venues including the Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican and has been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 with Leto Ensemble. Other venues have included performances in the Baxter Concert Hall and Linder Auditorium in South Africa, The Gothenburg Opera Foyer chamber music series in Sweden and Demetria Festival in Greece.
Shelley is a founding member of ‘Ensemble Hans Gal’, ‘Leto Ensemble’ and Ensemble Burletta. Shelley has recently recorded a cd of all Hans Gal’s works for clarinet and strings with Ensemble Burletta released on the Toccata Classics record label. This CD was featured in Gramophone Magazine in January 2017 with a positive review. Upcoming concerts include Breadsall Festival of Music and Ceders Hall.
Pianist and composer, Pavel Timofeyevsky, is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting and compelling artists of his generation. Born in Russia and educated in England, Pavel graduated with distinction as Master of Arts from the Royal Academy of Music, London. Solo and chamber music recitals, as well as concerto performances with orchestras have brought him to nearly all major concert venues in UK; these include the prestigious Wigmore Hall, as well as the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London. Concert tours, along with television and radio appearances in other parts of the world include the USA, Russia, China, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus and India. Pavel is the recipient of several prestigious British music awards, scholarships and national competition prizes: these include the Musicians Benevolent Fund Award, the 2007 Myra Hess Award, and the Philharmonia Orchestra Martin Musical Scholarship for piano, as well as winning the BBC/Guardian Young Composer of the Year award for composition.
Having made London his home and professional stomping ground, Pavel is highly sought after as a solo performer and a chamber music partner, collaborating with some of world’s finest musicians. A keen and eloquent speaker, Pavel enjoys giving lecture- recitals and has his own regular lecture concert series for the Kensington Music Society. As a prominent member of the Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now scheme, Pavel gave concerts, and led workshops in a variety of community venues across the United Kingdom: these included hospitals, prisons and schools for children with learning and behavioural difficulties. Additionally, Pavel directs a West London Music School Symphony Orchestra. In July 2014, under his baton, the orchestra has performed a world premiere of Pavel’s orchestral composition at the Cadogan Hall, London.
Pavel’s passion for film has led him to work in that field too. He recorded the soundtrack and starred in the US documentary “Tchaikovsky” (US Biography channel) and has composed music for several films, including the critically acclaimed “Le fin de la belle époque” documentary for Russian television. Most recently he created a soundtrack for Russia’s oldest Animated film studio “Souyzmultfilm”.
A fervent advocate of contemporary music, Pavel has given many premieres of fellow composers works and has recorded an album called “ISLAS” of chamber music by cult British composer Ian Stewart for the music-chamber label in 2011. He continued this collaboration with music-chamber by recording an album of works for viola and piano with violist Katya Lazareva, which was released in 2014. 2014-2015 season highlights included Pavel making his US and Italian debuts with solo recitals at the prestigious Merkin Concert Hall in New York, and Basilica San Miniato Al Monte in Florence respectively. In March 2015, Pavel joined violinist Irmina Trynkos on a two-week concert tour of China. Other highlights included a highly successful collaboration with the Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra in performance of Ravel’s piano concerto and a debut performance at the Latvian Music Academy in Riga, Latvia. Highly sought after as a soloist and chamber music partner, Pavel continues to collaborate with orchestras and to tour extensively with recitals across the UK and abroad, making regular appearances on the British music festival scene. Concerts next season include recital tours of Switzerland and Kenya as well as a return to the US.