Greyton Genadendal Classics for All

Saturday 11 May 2024, 19:00, Moravian Church, Genadendal, R200

We are delighted to announce the return to our stage of four of Classics for All’s most popular voices, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Greyton Genadendal Classics for All festival.  Minette du Toit Pearce (mezzo soprano), Janelle Visagie (soprano), Luvo Maranti (tenor) and Van Wyk Venter (baritone) will perform with members of the University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra under the baton of another Classics for All favourite, Liam Burden.  The production will be coordinated by Riaan Van Wyk.  The popular Genadendal Brass Band will also perform at this concert.    




Janelle Visagie

Award winning soprano, Janelle Visagie is best known for her portrayal of Mother Abbess in Pieter Toerien and David Ian’s international touring production of The Sound of Music. She recently reprised this beloved character from December 2023 until March 2024 to great acclaim to sell out audiences in Cape Town and Johannesburg in a new production by Cape Town Opera and Pieter Toerien Productions.

Janelle’s most recent appearance in an opera was Cape Town Opera and Abrahamse Meyer Productions’ Cinderella by Pauline Viardot where she played the role of “Maguelonne”. During 2019-2020 Janelle was part the groundbreaking world tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera which visited several countries, including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Israel, South Korea and Taiwan. In the production she was the cover for “Carlotta Giudicelli” and “wardrobe mistress”. When the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, closing theatres all over the world, this production which was then playing in Seoul, South Korea, was the only one that was able to continue playing for live audiences, and was recognised worldwide as a symbol of hope and inspiration.

Visagie was awarded the 2015 Fleur du Cap for best actress in a musical for her portrayal of “Mother Abbess” in The Sound of Music, the 2017 Woordtrofee and 2018 Fiësta award for best achievement in classical music for the Afrikaans lieder recital Pioniers with long-standing duo partner, pianist José Dias. In 2019 Janelle was awarded the Fleur Du Cap for best performance in opera for her portrayal of “Elle” in Poulenc’s one-woman opera, La voix humaine. She recently reprised this role at Cape Town Opera’s “Shorts Festival” under the direction of Magdalene Minnaar and musical direction by José Dias.  In May last year José Dias and Janelle recorded their much-anticipated album of Stephanus le Roux Marais; immortal Afrikaans art songs – Pionier. It is now in post-production and will be released later this year.

Janelle’s stage roles include “Sister Angelica” (Sour Angelica – Puccini), “Donna Elvira” (Don Giovanni – Mozart), “Suzuki” (Madama Butterfly- Puccini), “Magnolia” (Showboat – Kern), “Elle” (La voix humaine- Poulenc), and “Gertrude” in Engelbert Humperdink’s Hänsel und Gretel. Her numerous oratorio performances include Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Janelle has also been a regular guest artist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

Janelle studied with Prof. Virginia Davids from the South African College of Music (UCT). She obtained her licentiate in performance (LTCL) with honours from the Trinity College London. After starting her operatic career in Cape Town Opera’s Vocal Ensemble, Janelle became a member of the Young Artist programme in 2007-2008. She became the first recipient of the Johan Botha Bursary for young upcoming singers and was able to attend masterclasses with Montserrat Caballé in Zaragoza, Spain.

In 2023 Janelle completed her BMus Hons Cum Laude at Stellenbosch University. She commenced her studies towards an MMus degree in 2024 at the Conservatory, specialising in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Minette Pearce and José Dias.

Liam Burden

Liam Burden teaches saxophone and clarinet at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre where he is Departmental Head: Winds, Percussion and Piano, and principal conductor of the Symphony Orchestra. He also lectures saxophone at Stellenbosch University. Liam is a founding member of the Intonga Reed Quintet, the first of its kind in South Africa. He was an adjudicator at the first South African International Woodwind Competition held in Bloemfontein last year and recently made his debut with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra premiering Kevin Houben’s saxophone concerto, Legend of a Giant.

Liam was recently on the faculty, as saxophone specialist, at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival. There he directed the first ever saxophone choir of the SICMF whichperformed to high praise. Liam has conducted various orchestras in South Africa including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra, and the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Liam graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2021 with an MMus, cum laude. He also studied with Dr Michael Ibrahim (saxophone) and Dr Mitchel Arnold (conducting) at the West Virginia University in the USA.

He was a finalist at the Len van Zyl Conductors Competition, the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition (saxophone), the Unisa Licentiate Competitions (saxophone), and ATKV Muziq Competition (percussion). Liam is a recipient of the Rectors Award for Excellent Achievement in Culture from Stellenbosch University. 

Luvo Maranti

South African aspiring tenor Luvo Maranti, grew up in a musical family, singing in the choir at the Old Apostolic Church, under the baton of his father, a conductor and composer of gospel music, just like his grandfather.

Luvo first obtained a degree in Human Resources from the University of Fort Hare and, while doing his internship, took part in an operatic masterclass organised by the late baritone and UCT Opera School acting-director, George Stevens. Inspired by Stevens’ work and encouragement, Luvo subsequently enrolled for an Opera Diploma at the South African College of Music of the University of Cape Town, which he completed in 2023, under the guidance of his voice teacher Violina Anguelov-Hobbs, and Prof. Jeremy Silver, the director of the Opera School.

Since the start of his studies at UCT, Luvo has appeared in several of the Opera School’s co-productions with Cape Town Opera, including the chorus in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi and as Hendrik Cesars in Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Sara Baartman. In 2020, his performance as Gherardo in Operatunity’s production of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi was captured in film for streaming, and he was also seen on stage as Chief Melingqili in Sibusiso Njeza’s Madiba, the African Opera, in Cape Town. In 2022 Luvo attended the prestigious International Lyric Academy in Vicenza, Italy. There he was selected to sing the leading role of Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. He has been invited to sing the role of Hoffmann in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann later this year in June and July with the International Lyric Academy in North Carolina, USA and again do some Mozart Marathon in Vicenza Italy late July.

Working with his mentor Tim Hedges, managing director of Abagold Ltd, the company he worked for after his HR degree, Luvo and Tim managed to launch an Arts scholarship, because of the difficulty of acquiring funds in SA to study the Arts. The Luvo Maranti Arts Scholarship was launched 2022 December and has awarded R100 000 to the chosen talented young man Ronaldo Bantom. In 2023 Luvo was selected to be part of the 30th Operalia competition by Maestro Placido Domingo. Later in the year Luvo also fulfilled his long-life dream of performing the Verdi Requiem with an amazing cast and with the Libertas Choir. In essence, Luvo is a hardworking individual who loves making new connections and honours his commitments to the finishing line and does so with quality.

Minette du Toit-Pearce

Minette du Toit-Pearce began her vocal training under the tutelage of Dr. Magdalena Oosthuizen at Stellenbosch University where she received the degrees BMus, BMus (Hons) and MMus (Cum Laude) specialising in vocal performance. She completed the UNISA Teacher’s and Performance Licentiates (both Cum Laude) and was awarded the DJ Roode Overseas Scholarship, as well as the Gertrude Buchanan and SAMRO prizes during the UNISA International Scholarship Competition. She was the overall winner of the ATKV Musiq competition as well as winner of the singing category and the Mozart prize. She was first runner up in the SAMRO International Singing Scholarship competition and won the prize for best performance of a prescribed work. She was a finalist in the Kohn Foundation Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London and a finalist in the American Institute of Musical Studies’ (AIMS) Meistersinger Competition in Graz.

Minette regularly performs as a soloist in oratorios and recitals and is an accomplished singer of lieder both locally and abroad. She has performed with all major orchestras in South Africa, most notably the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra. She made her American debut as soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis in 2018 and accompanied the orchestra on their South African tour as part of their “Mandela 100” celebrations. In 2022 she performed at the Neues Lied Festival in Würtsburg, Germany and recorded a CD titled “Nagmusiek” with South African pianist Marika Hofmeyr in France featuring works by Arnold van Wyk and Hendrik Hofmeyr. In February 2024 Minette sang the role of Principessa in Puccini’s opera Suor Angelica for Cape Town Opera.

Minette has performed at most of the major Arts Festivals around South Africa and has been nominated for three Kyknet Fiësta Awards and was the recipient of two WoordTROfees for “100 Jaar van die Afrikaanse Lied” and “As Ek”.

Minette is an experienced adjudicator at Eisteddfods and singing competitions in South Africa but also travels outside of South Africa to Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe to adjudicate, teach and perform. She is the head of the Singing Division at Stellenbosch University and holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Singing. She is currently working towards her PhD in music.

Van Wyk Venter

Van Wyk Venter is a baritenor currently based in Cape Town. He began his musical training at the Drakensberg Boys Choir School where he received a very diverse musical education as a soloist, chorister and instrumentalist. He started focusing his training on solo singing and stage performance at high school. Amongst several theatre performances, he was also chosen to perform with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Naum Rousine and later again under the baton of Richard Cock. 

After receiving the first-year music scholarship to Stellenbosch university, he started training as a singer under Minette du Toit-Pearce and completed his BMus (Hons) Cum Laude in 2020. As a Student at Stellenbosch, he furthered his stage experience by performing regularly as a soloist in various festivals, oratorios and opera productions. 

Van Wyk is currently a member of the Cape Town Opera Judith Neilson Young Artist programme and was nominated for a Fleur du Cap theatre award for best performance in an opera – Male in recognition of his performance of Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. 

Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra

The University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra was founded by Prof Eric Rycroft in 1981. The aim of the orchestra is to provide music students with first-hand training for their profession, as well as offering talented players of orchestral instruments doing other courses, experience in symphonic orchestral playing. To date, the orchestra has studied and performed more than 400 full-scale works including symphonies by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Shostakovich, Mahler, Bruckner and Prokofiev, several cantatas, masses, oratorio and 5 full-scale operas. To their credit, the orchestra has had various works dedicated to them and has performed premieres of numerous works by South African composers such as Arnold van Wyk, Gideon Fagan, Hubert du Plessis, Roelof Temmingh, Johan Cloete, Hans Roosenschoon, John Simon, Hendrik Hofmeyr and Peter Klatzow.

The US Symphony Orchestra has regularly been invited to perform at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, the little Karoo Arts Festival and the Stellenbosch Arts Festival. The orchestra has undertaken four highly successful European tours. Over the years USSO has produced many musicians who now perform with professional orchestras all over the country, and also elsewhere in the world. After the retirement of Eric Rycroft, Louis van der Watt was appointed as conductor. Between 2003 and 2006, a guest-conductor system was implemented, giving students the opportunity to play under visiting conductors like Omri Hadari, Bernhard Gueller, Osvaldo Ferreira, Corvin Matei and Jon Robertson. In 2004, under the direction of Corvin Matei, the orchestra was awarded the prize for the best symphony orchestra at the prestigious Tygerberg Fanfare Competition. At the same competition, USSO was also chosen as one of the three best orchestras among 46 orchestras across all categories. Corvin Matei was appointed as Music director and permanent conductor in 2006 and under his direction, USSO has made a notable contribution to the regular performance of South African music in the Endler Concert Series.

Every second year the USSO hosts a Youth Concerto Festival at which top instrumental students at Stellenbosch University appear as soloists with the orchestra.  In addition to accompanying some of South Africa’s finest soloists, the USSO has accompanied a number of internationally based soloists including Ben Schoeman, Anton Nell, Marie-Christine Klettner, Daniel Rowland, Priya Mitchell and Dirk Mommertz to name but a few.

In 2014, under the baton of Corvin Matei, USSO played to packed venues in Cape Town and Stellenbosch accompanying the legendary violinist, Pinchas Zukerman. This programme was repeated in collaboration with the JPO in Johannesburg to great critical acclaim.

In 2018, the USSO celebrated Stellenbosch University’s 100th birthday with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. This concert also served as the farewell concert of conductor Prof. Corvin Matei and as of 2019, the orchestra started to work with guest conductors such as Daniel Boico (2019), Bernhard Gueller (2020) and student conductor Jacobus de Jager (2021 and 2022).  During the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra was divided into smaller groups: string, wind and percussion ensembles were formed, for greater safety and so that social distance could be maintained on stage. Ensemble concerts were recorded for online broadcasts on YouTube.

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