Pianist Megan-Geoffrey Prins
Pianist Megan-Geoffrey Prins

PETA STEWART

Rachmaninov is in his blood and we will have the chance to hear for ourselves when Megan-Geoffrey Prins performs the huge Third Piano Concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on Thursday, August 16 2018.

Prins has just returned to Cape Town from a short tour in Germany with Albert Horne, former chorus master of Cape Town Opera, and the Landesjugendorchester Rheinland-Pfalz.  With them he played the Second Piano Concerto by Rachmaninov, and he will join them with the same piece in October when the youth orchestra and Horne come to South Africa and Botswana.

But Prins has not only returned from Germany, he has returned from Cleveland where he completed his Masters Degree with Antonio Pompa-Baldi and is months away from completing his Doctorate. “The five years of lessons with Antonio were invaluable,” he says. “He is a master teacher.”

Born in Riversdale, he studied at the Conservatoire at the University of Stellenbosch with Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhães. His mother was his first piano teacher when he was six and he grew up in the church where he was exposed to a rich musical culture and all his early life he sang or played the organ in church.

The possibility of making a career as a concert pianist became apparent when he started winning competitions.

“When I was 11, I was lucky to win the Sanlam (now Hubert van der Spuy) competition. “  That was the indication that music which had always been integral to his life would be his future. He went on to win the UNISA 120th Anniversary Competition, the inaugural Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival Competition, the 5th UNISA National Piano Competition, the 2016 Muziq Instrumental Competition, and 2017 SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition.

Megan-Geoffrey Prins
Megan-Geoffrey Prins

Uncommon Creativity

In 2012, Prins received the Sadie Zellen Piano Prize from the Cleveland Institute of Music, in 2017 he was awarded the Maurice and Judith Kaplow Prize for Uncommon Creativity and this year he received the Arthur Loesser Memorial Prize.

By the time was 14, he had performed concerti with all the major orchestras in South Africa including the Cape Town Philharmonic (and looks forward to performing with such excellent musicians, and with the “legendary Bernhard Gueller”), the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic, the Johannesburg Philharmonic and University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra.

Although he is only 28, Prins has a busy life. He has performed in several places in America, Italy, France, (Germany), Switzerland, (Hong Kong, and Mozambique) and returned to South Africa every year while studying in Cleveland for concerts, teaching and community outreach. He says he plans to continue teaching and outreach and hopes to continue performing solo and collaborative music.

While in Cleveland, he was privileged, he says, to have collaborated with and befriended many incredible artists. “Of course I frequently heard the fabulous Cleveland Orchestra, and living overseas was an enriching experience.

“I plan on living in South Africa, and ideally, I would like to continue touring throughout the world while calling this my home. “

Welcome home Megan-Geoffrey Prins, but it won’t be long before he packs up to play as a semi-finalist in the prestigious Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, Canada.

Along with the Third Rachmaninov Piano Concerto, Bernhard Gueller will conduct the CPO in the Romanian Rhapsody by Enescu and Spring, the Symphony no 1 by Robert Schumann.

Who: Megan-Geoffrey Prins, piano
What: Cape Town Philharmonic Winter Season, Bernhard Gueller conductor
Where: Cape Town City Hall South Africa
When:16 August 2018 at 8pm
Info, book tickets: www.cpo.co.za, luvuyo@cpo.co.za, 021 410 9809 http://bit.ly/SchumannsSpring
WS