There’s nothing quite so sublime as sitting in a concert hall listening to the synchronised creativity of more than 50 musicians performing classical music together. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) is a national treasure, a cultural institution that’s more than 100 years old, entertaining generations of audiences with everything from hardcore Haydn symphonies to cool community concerts. Their ongoing programme of performances (often with international soloists and conductors), youth outreach programmes, schools tours and collaborations with companies like Cape Town Opera and Cape Town City Ballet, make for a very full schedule, every year.
Until Covid-19 struck South Af rica, that is. From 27 April 2020, all performance venues were closed, and all musicians (along with actors and dancers and entertainment workers across the country) found themselves at home, unable to do what they loved best. The orchestra went silent – and who knew for how long?
Louis Heyneman, CEO of the CPO, explains what they did: “Virtual online concerts were our only option. In the initial hard lockdown period, we compiled videos f rom mobile phones at home, all synchronised with a click track to make sure everybody played at the same tempo.” Months later, some lockdown rules were relaxed. “As soon as we could gather together on stage – socially distanced and wearing masks, of course – we started to film the orchestra for online concerts,” says Heyneman.
Shirley de Kock Gueller, CPO Strategic Marketer, says, “It was important to connect with our audiences … our musicians missed them as much as they missed us.”
This article is supplied by Karen Rutter, Editor-in-Chief of WeekendSpecial, an online arts, entertainment and lifestyle magazine. Visit www.weekendspecial.co.za
To find out more about the CPO concert programme, how to buy tickets and how to watch, visit www.cpo.org.za
There are still two more concerts in the current winter season for July/August.