The Charl du Plessis Trio is at Johannesburg International Mozart Festival - JIMF 2019
The Charl du Plessis Trio

From Mozart to Mafikizolo, Bach to Porter, the 2019 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is set to be another highlight. Commemorating the 263rd birthday of the composer, it runs from 26 January to 3 February 2019.

More than 20 events across three cities

“Ten years down the line we are still celebrating the birth of Mozart on 27 January The Mozart Festival began as a small selection of concerts, over just one weekend, and it’s now grown into a force to be reckoned with,” said maestro Richard Cock. “It includes more than 20 events across three cities in the greater Gauteng region, over a 10-day period.

“Over the years we’ve celebrated many aspects of Mozart’s music and personality, and this year is no different, as we examine Mozart as a man of many jokes, both personally and within his music,” he said.

“This year, we celebrate his quirky sense of humour through the theme Ein Musikalischer Spass (the Musical Joke), looking at various forms of humour. So, come ready to have your laugh lines deepened with the 2019 edition of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival,” he adds.

Hear Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi at Johannesburg International Mozart Festival - JIMF 2019
Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi performs at JIMF 2019

Viennese New Year concerts

The showcase will be previewed by the annual Viennese New Year concerts on 19 January at 5.30pm and 20 January at 3pm at the Linder Auditorium. With Richard Cock conducting the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, this lavish concert will feature soloists Phenye Modiane (tenor) and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi (soprano) singing dazzling arias, in addition to the orchestral waltzes and polkas which form the traditional backbone of the event.

The programme will include works by Offenbach, Anderson and the Strauss family.

The festival begins on 25 January with the Charl du Plessis Trio kicking off the celebrations with another ‘souped-up’ programme of all-time greats including works by Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and more contemporary composers Cole Porter and Chick Corea.

The following day young South African composers Jesse Dreyer, Kayode Ibiayo and Conrad Asman present new commissions in collaboration with physical theatre specialist Craig Morris. These new works focus on bringing the JIMF theme to life, and the programme includes a discussion with the composers on the creative process.

The performance, supported by the Goethe Institut, will also feature a small ensemble of members of the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and Richard Cock, and the discussion will be facilitated by Composer-in-Residence Hans Roosenschoon.

Orchestra from Scratch is next in the line-up, on January 27, at the Scott Gym at the wits Education Campus. Over 150 amateur orchestral musicians will be rehearsing from 11am that morning to make sure that their performance is like no other you’ve ever experienced. Entry to the performance at 3pm will be by donation, the proceeds of which will go towards supporting music students in their tertiary studies.

The event, supported by Corobrik, promises to be fun-filled family entertainment with pieces by Albert Ketelby, Mafikizolo and John Williams, and all-time favourites such as a Jungle Book Medley and Colonel Bogey. It will be conducted by Susan and Richard Cock.

Timothy Moloi appears at the 2019 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival
Timothy Moloi is on the 2019 Johannesburg International Mozart Festival bill

67 Blankets for Mandela 

On  27 January, the 10th anniversary of JIMF and Mozart’s 263rd birthday, the 67 Blankets for Mandela charity is teaming up with the festival to try to break the world record for the largest number of people in one venue crocheting simultaneously. Entertainment will be by Elize Kruger on piano, Camelia Onea on violin, the Jeppe Pipe Band, the Jeppe Girls’ Marimba Band and baritone Tim Moloi, among others. Registration is at noon at the Linder Auditorium.

27 January at 6pm sees JIMF  host a Violin and Piano Recital at Northwards House. UK-based duo Miriam Kramer (violin) and Nick Durcan (piano) present a programme with a twist, including works by Mozart, Elgar, Cage and their own version of Leory Anderson’s The Typewriter.

Continuing the chamber recital line-up, Maxime Zecchini will perform in a Piano Recital on Monday, 28 January at 7.30pm at Northwards house. This recital is supported by the French Institute of South Africa and features works by Scriabin, Massenet and Bellini.  Zecchini will attempt this recital with only his left hand!

The rest of the festival line-up includes chamber recitals featuring German violinist Linus Roth, and Belgian clarinettist Annelien van Wauwe, both of whom will be accompanied by the JIMF Artistic Director Florian Uhlig, as well as a recital by Italian classical pianist Mariangela Vacatello. There is the annual Vocal Masterclass final recital, showcasing six young opera hopefuls who will have been coached by German tenor Josef Protschka. The Mozart Effect Chamber Music Concert examines barbs of music critics, great musical disasters and petulant conductors, and will also feature a premiere of a new work by former Composer-in-Residence Clare Loveday.

Cinema Improvisando will also screen on 30 January a collection of films by Georges Melies, and on 31 January a screening of Buster Keaton’s The General. Screenings will be enhanced by improvised music by al team of musicians lead by Paul Hanmer on the keyboard, including Dan Selsick on trombone and Tlale Makhene playing percussion.

The BASA CEOs Conduct the Orchestra sees a line-up of six CEOs pick their favourite orchestral work and, with guidance from Richard Cock, attempt to bring it all together with a live orchestra. Supported by BASA (Business and Arts South Africa), the concert is on 1 February at 2pm at The Spaceframe Theatre, Wits Education Campus. Entry is by donation.

The final day of the Festival promises an extraordinary line-up, starting with a performance of Mozart’s Requiem. This is presented by the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and will feature soloists Maudée Montierre, Nicholas Nicolaidis and Aubrey Lodewyk, as well as the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, and will be conducted by Richard Cock.

The highlight of the festival will be the Closing Concert on 3 February at 3pm. Taking place at The Spaceframe Theatre, Wits Education Campus, it will feature a new commission by Composer-in-Residence Hans Roosenschoon, as well as a past work, A new costume for the Emperor. Supported by the Rupert Musikstigting, it will see Florian Uhlig on piano, Linus Roth on violin, Jeanne-Louise Moolman on viola and Carel Henn on cello.

What: Johannesburg International Mozart Festival 2019
Book JIMF tickets:
When: 26 January – 3 February 2019
Johannesburg International Mozart Festival tickets: 
Linder Auditorium tickets: 0861 915 8000, 
Mariangela Vacatello Piano recital: 2 February, 2019, R250, R205, Students R50
Symphony Choir Concert Mozart Requiem: 3 February 2019, R160 – R330
Spaceframe Theatre tickets: 079 233 2569,
Closing Concert: 3 February 2019, R245, 65+ and students R205
Northwards House tickets: 079 233 2569, All tickets (except 27 January) R210, 65+ & students R175
St Francis of Assisi Parkview: 079 233 2569, Chamber Music Concert 29 January, R210, 65+ & students R175
The Bioscope: 010 007 0119, Cinema Improvisando 30, 31 January
BASA Business and Arts South Africa: 011 447 2295, CEOs Conduct the Orchestra 1 February 2019 Donation
Goethe Institute: 011 442 3232,, New Music Event 26 January 2019. Free
The Scott Gym: 079 233 2569, Orchestra from Scratch 27 January 2019, Participants R75. Audience donation