Students to dazzle on Artscape stage

Lihle Mabhula

Two UCT students, who will be sharing the stage with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), have described it as the opportunity of a lifetime.

Sinesipho Funo and Lihle Mabhula, both from Mowbray, are students at the SA College of Music at UCT and are part of the Western Cape Youth Music Festival – a highlight on the classical music calendar presented by Artscape Theatre Centre and the CPO.

The festival celebrates its 47th anniversary this year with 12 talented, young classical musical instrumentalists and singers who successfully auditioned to have the opportunity of performing on a professional stage with the CPO.

The concert takes place at the Artscape Theatre, on Saturday September 1, at 7.30pm.

The soloists’ ages range from 20 to 25. Seven are studying at the SA College of Music at UCT and four at Stellenbosch University.

Sinesipho, who is originally from the Eastern Cape, is a third-year opera student and will be singing soprano in the show.

The opera bug bit Sinesipho when she joined her school choir. After reaching national levels in a signing competition, she decided to follow music as a career.

“There was nothing else that interested me, and I decided to follow my heart and pursue music,” she said. “I am still happy with my choice; my passion is what drives me,” she said.

Lihle has been interested in music from a young age. At her school, she was tested to play an instrument in Grade 3 and had to decide between the flute and clarinet. She has been playing the flute since.

“I had a friend a year older than me and had played around with her flute before I was tested at school. I knew I wanted to play the flute right away,” she said.

When she passed her Grade 7 external exams with a distinction, she realised just how good she was. After entering the South African Satisfiability Modulo Theories Competition at Nelson Mandela University in Grade 12 and placing second, she decided to further pursue music.

Marlene le Roux, CEO of Artscape Theatre Centre, said they were again astounded by the standard of the young soloists and welcomed the return of two musicians who had auditioned again this year – Shaheel Kooverjee and Cameron Williams.

“We applaud the soloists, their teachers, music institutions and parents who nurture and support these young artists, as this is a journey of many years. Stepping onto the Artscape stage in performance with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra is a significant milestone in their careers,” she said.

Louis Heyneman, the orchestra’s CEO, said working with young musicians had always been part of its mission.

“The orchestra and its predecessors have been a part of the festival, from the days when David Tidboald first established it in 1971. An integral part of orchestral life in Cape Town until not too many years before his death this year at the age of 92. We know he would have been proud of the young musicians who share the stage this year,” he said.

Tickets cost R80 for adults; pensioners, pupils and students pay R40. Book through Artscape Dial-a-Seat at 021 421 7695 or Computicket.