City University DMA student, pianist Ben Schoeman, has given concerts at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. At the prestigious Gala Concert of this event on 30 June 2013, Schoeman performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Richard Cock. The prominent South African critic Jeff Brukman (Head of the Music Department at Rhodes University) described his performance as “a sensitive interpretation” and wrote that “compositional features and inner-voiced thematic material were highlighted through Schoeman’s careful voicing of the richly-hued tapestry” (Cue Newspaper, Grahamstown). On 2 July Schoeman gave a solo recital at the National Arts Festival. His programme included works of Haydn, Schumann, Wagner-Liszt as well as the South African composer Surendran Reddy.
During his South African visit, Ben Schoeman also gave two chamber music recitals in collaboration with his duo-partner cellist Anzél Gerber. The two musicians won the first prize in the IBLA Grand Prize Competition in Italy (2012). Their first recital took place at the ZK Matthews Great Hall of the University of South Africa on 23 June and was described by the critic Thys Odendaal (Beeld newspaper) as “an ecstatic performance that can surely be described as a highlight of Pretoria’s concert calendar for this year”. On 1 July the Gerber/Schoeman Duo repeated their programme to a capacity audience at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The following review appeared in the Cue Newspaper (Wednesday 3 July 2013): http://cue.ru.ac.za/2013/07/moments-of-virtuosity/