Fine Music Radio presents an exciting new programme that shines the spotlight on local musicians, giving them a platform to showcase their music in light of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Derek Gripper

 The local classical and jazz music industry, which thrives on live performances, has ground to a halt as a result of the lockdown and distancing measures necessary to combat the spread of the virus. Live performances have been postponed or cancelled indefinitely and this will continue long after the initial lockdown has been lifted. Corporate events, weddings and other bookings have also been affected. Not only performers have lost their income, but also arrangers, conductors and composers. To keep local music alive, FMR presents a platform in the form of Virtual (Lunchtime) Concerts – which we have called PLAY ON! – to highlight and support affected musicians.  PLAY ON! will soon also be available as an FMR podcast at

Journey across classical and jazz genres

In PLAY ON! local musicians will share their stories and music choices – from new CDs which should have been launched, to ‘live’ performances recorded from their homes or simply their choice of music they have previously produced that has inspired them.  It is hoped that this exposure will keep the musicians in listeners’ minds and encourage them to follow the musicians online, perhaps purchase available material and, importantly, support them at performances once the lockdown period has ended.

Fine Music Radio

PLAY ON! is an hour-long programme in which listeners are encouraged to suspend their disbelief and imagine themselves in the studio, concert hall, or music salon as FMR presents a journey across classical and jazz genres through some of the most diverse and proudly South African music.

The programme exploits radio’s unique capacity for “theatre of the mind”, encouraging listeners to be transported out of their living rooms. It is compiled from the presenters’ homes to reinforce physical distancing measures that have been taken to minimise the number of people visiting the FMR studios.

PLAY ON! is spearheaded by Kyle Paulssen of the choral ensemble VOX Cape Town and supported by Cape Town Concert Series manager and singer Louise Howlett (both also presenters at FMR).

Any classical or jazz musicians, arrangers or composers with radio-friendly recordings are encouraged to email for inclusion in this new programme.

FMR is looking for a sponsor for this programme so if you or your organisation would like to support FMR for this positive programme, please do get in touch with us at

During the lockdown period the programme will feature every Monday afternoon between 12h00-13h00. Artists coming up include Blake Hellaby, Lente Louw, Derek Gripper (pictured above), Jan Hugo, Magdalene Minnaar, Charl du Plessis and more.

The pilot programme aired on Monday 13 April 2020 and feedback has been all-round positive. The musicians featured were flautist Liesl Stolz, jazz musician Dan Shout, pianist Liam Pitcher and cellist Peter Martens in collaboration with bassist Leon Bosch. A compilation of comments from musicians and listeners about the initiative and their response to the programme is included below:

 From the musicians, who are grateful to FMR for this programme:

  • “Thank you for all the effort in getting our music played/heard.”
  • “Thanks very much for the feature. Can’t wait for future instalments!”
  • “Thanks again for the opportunity to perform and to have our story told over the airwaves at this time of difficulty for us performing musicians!”
  • “I’ve already received a new Facebook subscriber as a result [of the programme] who has reached out personally.”

From the many social media comments, emails and personal messages we received about the show:

  • “Wonderful. Fabulous idea. So proud of FMR.”
  • “Great idea to showcase our local talent. I enjoyed the programme and look forward to the next one. Thank you.”
  • “Looking forward to hear our local artists promoted on local radio. What a wonderful initiative. Very creative idea. Well done!”
  • “Fantastic initiative! I am enjoying every moment of the programme!”
  • “I really enjoyed today’s programme – and the hope it brings for a time when we will have live music again. It is hard to believe how much has changed in the last few weeks.”

From a listener to one of the featured musicians:

  • “To my own embarrassment I must admit that I only now discovered your work thanks to FMR. Absolutely lovely! On what planet have I been! […] I am definitely going to make a point of discovering your work further.”

 What: PLAY ON!

Where: FMR online and DStv Channel 838 and CapeTown 101.3 | Fish Hoek – Noordhoek 107.9 | Hout Bay – Llandudno 94.7 | Atlantic Seaboard 97.1