#Let’sCultureTogether during EU’s cultural month in @SAEurope_FestSA

#Let’sCultureTogether during EU’s cultural month in SA

A month-long feast of European culture awaits South African arts lovers when the EuropeFest 2015 celebrates the 56th anniversary of the European Union between 22 April and 29 May 2015.

EuropeFest 2015 will see EU Member State embassies to South Africa gather a number of their cultural events under a single umbrella, celebrating cultural diversity while showcasing outstanding music, art and cinema from each nation.

The eclectic programme ranges from premium classical music and jazz offerings to cutting-edge club DJs, from live bronze casting to a travelling exhibition depicting the life of a medieval philosopher and reformer, and will feature a number of South Africa-Europe collaborations, workshops and educational radio programmes on Radio Today. And the ever-popular European Film Festival, EUFF, will this year also take place under the EuropeFest 2015 banner.

Roeland van de Geer, the European Union Ambassador to South Africa, says: “I am delighted that, together with our EU member states represented in South Africa, we are able to present our cultural diversity in celebration of the 56th anniversary of the European Union’s establishment.

“Our EuropeFest will underline unity in diversity and will deliver to audiences across South Africa some wonderful performances and exchanges. I invite you to join in as we, the EU and South Africa, move forward in the spirit of cultural cooperation – let’s culture together!”

The multifaceted EuropeFest 2015 programme will open with the Alma Chamber Orchestra’s South African tour in April, and will conclude with a performance by Spanish singer Joana Serrat on Africa Day, 29 May, at the Bassline in Johannesburg.

EuropeFest 2015 Programme:
The festival kicks off with a performance by the world-renowned Alma Chamber Orchestra on Wednesday, 22 April at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg. The 58-member French orchestra will then play at the Durban City Hall (with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra) on Thursday, 23 April before completing its tour at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto (with the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble) with a free concert on Saturday, 25 April. Led by concertmaster and artistic director Anne Gravoin, and featuring famous Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire under the direction of Lionel Bringuier, the programme will include works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Wael Binali. Tickets are available at Computicket (www.computicket.com).

Johannesburg jazz lovers will have the opportunity to experience a live performance by acclaimed Portuguese musician Luísa Sobral at Bassline in Newtown on Wednesday, 22 April. Influenced by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker and Björk, this composer, lyricist, performer and multi-instrumentalist has released three albums and has been nominated for several music awards. Tickets will be on sale at the venue.

Returning to classical music, two stars of the Latvian National Opera, Sonora Vaice (soprano) and Krišjānis Norvelis (baritone) accompanied by Agnese Aglina on piano, will perform a varied programme to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Latvian independence. The Latvian Opera Concert at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria on Wednesday, 6 May will include works by Mozart, Rossini, Lehar, Gershwin, Puccini and Handel. Book for the concert via www.ticketspace.co.za.

A travelling exhibition on Jan Hus (1369-1415), a medieval Czech priest, philosopher, reformer and educator at Prague University whose teachings influenced the states of Europe at the time, opens in Cape Town on 28 April. The exhibition commemorates the 600th anniversary of Hus’s condemning and burning at the stake by the Council of Constance. It moves to the University of Pretoria on 5 May before returning to the Western Cape, this time to the mission station at Genadendal, from 9 to 15 May. The exhibitions ends its tour in Port Elizabeth from 18 to 25 May. Entrance is free. For details, contact the Czech Embassy at pretoria@embassy.mzv.cz.

Another highlight for art lovers is the two open days at the Renzo Vignali Artistic Foundry in Pretoria on Saturday, 23 May and Sunday, 24 May. See live bronze casting, mould making and wax preparation in action at the oldest artistic foundry in South Africa between 09h00 and 15h00 on both days. In addition, a number of Italian-South African sculptor Edoardo Villa’s works cast in the foundry will be on display. Entrance is free. The foundry is located at 379 Koos de la Rey Street in Pretoria North. Call 012 565 4525 for more details.

From 8 to 17 May a regular jewel on the EU’s cultural calendar in South Africa, the European Film Festival, will run at Cinema Nouveau theatres in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. Twelve EU member states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom – will screen recent releases that have received acclaim and accolades. Films on offer include Ida, Poland’s 2015 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, as well as Three Hearts from acclaimed French director Benoît Jacquot and Two Days, One Night from Belgium’s Dardenne brothers. Visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za or www.ifas.org.za for details and tickets.

For something a little different, German DJs Schlachthofbronx will be performing on Tuesday, 12 May at Kong Club in Rosebank. The innovative multi-genre club music duo will be visiting Johannesburg for a one-night-only session as part of their African tour that includes concerts in Kigali, Yaoundé, Kampala and Nairobi. Tickets will be available at the door or visit www.kongsa.co.za for more details.

Pretoria’s Brooklyn Theatre again provides the stage on Sunday, 24 May at 15h00 when Slovak-Hungarian duet Sándor Jávorkai, violin and Miriam Rodriguez Brüllová, guitar will perform a concert titled Violin and Guitar Romance. They will return to the venue on Thursday, 28 May at 20h00 for another performance, this time joined by the Czech violoncello player Petr Nouzovsky for a concert titled Fiesta Strings. For more info and tickets please see: http://www.brooklyntheatre.co.za or call 012 460 6033.

On 27 and 28 May, in Soweto and Pretoria, EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) South Africa will be presenting free public workshops titled Convening New Audiences. Delegates from Africa and Europe will share best-practice advice on how to develop new audiences for institutions such as museums, galleries and art spaces. The workshops will focus on ways to engage distant or inaccessible communities, and will look at case studies of institutions that have managed to gain diverse audiences through innovative and economical strategies. Particular attention will be paid to education, with a focus on young people. 

The final event of the 2015 EuropeFest will be a performance by rising Spanish singer-songwriter Joana Serrat on Africa Day, Friday 29 May, at the Bassline in Johannesburg. For tickets, contact info@bassline.co.za or phone 011 838 9142.

For more information on EuropeFest 2015, follow @Europe_FestSA on Twitter, use the hashtag #letsculturetogether, and visit the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa on Facebook.

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