UP Symphony Orchestra
Currently, both the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra (UPSO) and Symphonic Winds (UPSW) form entities of the department of UP Arts and present a platform of cultural expression and identity at the University of Pretoria. UPSO has been in existence since the inception of the Department of Music in 1961 at the University of Pretoria. Both ensembles showcase, through their unique repertoire and diverse array of participants, the profoundly complex past and present of South Africa as well as repertoire that encapsulates all facets of music, including Western Art Music and world music. The ambience of the concert hall is an ever-changing experience for the listener. With the intention of changing emotional perceptions, both ensembles strive to entertain and stimulate the audience.
Message from the Conductor
Dear Students, Colleagues and fellow Music Lovers,
It gives me great pleasure to write to you for the first time as the new conductor of the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Winds.
We are indeed privileged to be part of a very special moment in the history of our country and indeed the world. It is precisely because of the rapid and ever-changing nature of our world that we as musicians must fight for relevance in a world where true beauty and art is too often marginalised to the fringes. At this rate, a society fast spiralling downward to global celebrations of mediocrity in the secular music industry poses a threat toward the preservation of the art we love dearly. What a brilliant opportunity these ensembles present us to champion our music with passion and sharpen our craft while doing so? A love for life-long learning and constant improvement is critical - if we are to inspire others we first need to be inspired and inspiration comes while you work, not while you wait! The next generation of South Africans are in desperate need for high level music education and many of you will become the greatest teachers that will no doubt touch their lives in a positive and encouraging way!
Next year we are working around the theme: 'Born free and dancing!'. As you all know by now, we are also planning a tour of Italy in July 2016. This will be an outstanding challenge and an incredibly rewarding experience to prepare toward. That being said, I think it is important that we do not go to Europe and perform European music only, so we have selected a more diverse (including South African) repertoire list.
Without simply shying away from the 'core repertoire', all the music we perform needs to meet three stringent criteria. Firstly, does it serve educational ends; i.e. will we have improved as performers upon mastering the repertoire? Secondly, is it exciting to play and does it make us feel good? Thirdly, does it move the audiences whom we perform for? I am convinced that should we tick the first two boxes the third criteria will be an inevitable outcome. We believe that the repertoire choices for next year is both exceptionally challenging, but also incredibly fun to master and relevant to our audiences as well.
Please note that we await the parts for next year’s repertoire and to not have these parts as yet. Once it arrives, we will scan in parts and e-mail it to you for your convenient practicing as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have provided you with excerpts that are a must for your instrument groups when you pursue a career as an orchestral musician. You will therefore be required to prepare these prescribed excerpts for your auditions next January.
Here's wishing you a beautiful festive period for you and your loved ones. May it be a safe, peaceful and happy time. Personally we are awaiting the birth of our daughter later in December so this too will be a memorable time for my family and I. We look forward to meeting you all in the new year with great eagerness!
Warmest regards and best wishes,
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