Stellenbosch Symposium brings together pianists from across the world

By March 10, 2018News

Three acclaimed pianists will be the guest artists at the seventh Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, which will be held from Monday 12 March to Sunday 20 March 2018. The biennial Symposium, presented by Stellenbosch University (SU) at the Konservatorium, has as its goal to promote piano teaching and performance.

The Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, first held in 2006, provides teachers, performers and students with a platform for performance, education and the sharing of knowledge. The weeklong programme consists of recitals and master classes, a series of lectures, as well as a national piano competition.

This year, guest artists South African Jan Hugo, Israeli Aviram Reichert and the Russian-born German Jura Margulis will each give a piano recital during the Symposium. Reichert and Margulis will also present master classes at the Symposium.

Born in 1991, Hugo studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig, Germany, as well as in Italy. Most recently, in 2017, he was a semi-finalist in the Liszt International Piano Competition in Utrecht. For his Symposium recital on Wednesday 14 March, Hugo will perform works by, among others, Beethoven, Debussy and Liszt.

Reichert, praised for his intelligent interpretations, technique and tone, have won several major competitions in the Far East, France and Germany. He is a frequent soloist with the leading orchestras in his native Israel. On Thursday 17 March, Reichert gives a recital that includes works by Brahms and Schubert.

The final recital on Saturday 19 March will see Margulis performing a programme of works by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Margulis has been internationally recognised for his compellingly communicative and emotional performances, as well as for the range of his tonal palette and his consummate virtuosity.

On the last evening of the Symposium, the popular Piano Extravaganza will be held, in which ten pianos and ten pianists will be on the Endler Hall’s stage.

“We are looking forward to a great 2018 Symposium. Lovers of piano music will get to hear great artists in our three special recitals, while piano teachers and students can learn and share knowledge in an environment where we all have the same passion,” says acclaimed pianist and SU piano lecturer, Prof Nina Schumann.

This year, about 50 piano students, ranging between the ages of 11 and 28, will attend the Symposium, as well as approximately 50 observers from across South Africa. Some of the student participants also perform in lunch-hour concerts.

The Symposium also presents the biennial Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition. This competition was started in 1984 with Virginia Fortesque, Bennie van Eeden and Cecilia Lourens as judges. Some of South Africa’s foremost pianists count among the finalists.

Recent former winners include Louis Nel (2016), Roelof Temmingh (2014), Sulayman Human (2012), and Dr Grethe Nöthling (2000), who will present a lecture at this year’s Symposium.

On the first two days of the Symposium, 12 and 13 March, competition participants will compete for the five finalist positions. These five pianists will then perform in the finals on Friday 18 March with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Corvin Matei. Each of the finalists will play a movement from a piano concerto.

  • Concert tickets are available from Computicket. Symposium passes can be purchased on the Symposium website, The full Symposium programme is also available on the website, or call 021 808 2358 for more information.

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