Greyton Genadendal Classics for All

Friday, 10 May 2024, 17:00, Moravian Church, Greyton, R180

François du Toit, an Associate Professor of Piano and Head of Practical Studies at the University of Cape Town, is acknowledged as one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists and musicians. Isaac van der Merwe has studied with Francois du Toit since 2022, and as a laureate of many national music competitions, has become the face of a younger generation of concert pianists. Together Francois du Toit and Isaac van der Merwe compiled a programme of popular piano duo and solo works, including Chopin’s Polonaise in Ab major, Brahms’s Hungarian Dance(s) and Schubert’s Fantasie in F minor for Piano.


Francois du Toit

Acknowledged as one of South Africa’s leading concert pianists and musicians, FRANÇOIS DU TOIT is an Associate Professor of Piano and Head of Practical Studies at the University of Cape Town. Receiving his early musical training from Merryl Preston, he went on to complete an Honours degree at the University of Cape Town, studying under the distinguished pianist and teacher, Laura Searle. Also holding diplomas up to Fellowship level from the Trinity College of Music, London, he studied for the Solistendiplom at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany, under the renowned pedagogues Arie Vardi and Bernd Goetzke.

During his period of study abroad he distinguished himself in several important international piano competitions, taking top prizes in the 1991 Hannover Music Competition, the 1992 Rotterdam and 1993 Marsala Internationals, and the 1994 International Maria Callas Competition in Athens.

Appearing as an acclaimed soloist with orchestras (both locally and abroad) since the age of fifteen, François du Toit was selected, while still a student at UCT, to accompany the former Cape Town Symphony Orchestra as soloist on its historic tour of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1988. He has over 40 concertos in his repertoire, ranging from Bach to Scharwenka and has also performed the concerto premieres of South African composers, Hendrik Hofmeyr and Adrian More. He has performed with conductors including Bernhard Gueller, Victor Yampolsky, Omri Hadari, Alun Francis, Thomas Sanderling, Dawid de Villiers, Piero Gambo, Arjan Tien and Alexander Lazarev. 

Together with Graham du Plessis and Farida Bacharova he formed the UCT Piano Trio in 2020. He is constantly in demand as accompanist for visiting artists which have included Wolfgang David, Philippe Quint, Antje Weithaus, Ilya Gringolts and Julian Lloyd-Webber, to name but a few. In July 2006 he released his first solo CD and in 2010 TwoPianists record label released his recording of the Tchaikovsky 1st Piano Concerto and the Rachmaninoff Paganini Variations with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.  

He has given recitals and master classes in America, Asia and Europe and in 2012 he undertook a concert tour to Paris, Vienna and Cardiff where he accompanied the flautist, Liesl Stolz in a programme of South African flute music which was later recorded on CD under the SACM label. In 2014, he gave the premiere of the Adrian More piano concerto with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.

In between lecturing and administrative duties at the University of Cape Town where he is also Deputy Director, François is external examiner for several universities in South Africa and is often invited to sit as juror for competitions throughout the country and abroad. He has an active piano studio at UCT which has boasted many award-winning pianists over the past 25 years. He sits on the boards of Fine Music Radio and the Cape Chamber Music Collective — the latter an organisation established in 2022 to promote chamber music concerts for musicians in Cape Town.

To celebrate turning 50, he performed all five Beethoven piano concertos with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra at their Summer Festival on the 24th and 25th of February 2016 under the baton of Victor Yampolsky. For this achievement he received the Creative Works Award from the University of Cape Town. This was the first time the award was given to a staff member of the South African College of Music. In the same year, François was also presented with the Molteno Medal for his contribution to Music.

Isaac van der Merwe

Isaac van der Merwe started percussion at Beau Soleil in 2012, studying under Frank Mallows for several years. He began learning piano with Tessa de Groote in 2014, and in 2015 he took up cello with Maya Maille at Beau Soleil, playing it in the CPYO for a number of years.

In 2021 he started learning piano with Albie van Schalkwyk, won first prize in the Senior Piano Category of the Johann Vos, and was overall winner in the Pieter Kooij competition. In 2022 he embarked on a BMus at UCT under François du Toit and won first prizes in the Hennie Joubert Piano Competition and the Atterbury National Piano Competition, in addition to participating in the finals of the National Youth Music Competition. He has appeared as a soloist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Jason Atherton in the finals of the 5th SA Conductors’ Competition and played Shostakovich’s second piano concerto with the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra in Johannesburg in June.

In July 2023 he placed second overall in the 7th UNISA National Piano Competition, playing Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto in the final round with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Boico, and in August he won the open round of the Johann Vos Music Competition.

Scroll to Top