Category Archives: Music

Recital of World Renowned Pianist Sabotaged at South African University.

World renowned pianist Yossi Reshef was born in Israel but has lived in Berlin, Germany for many years. He is a critically acclaimed musical maestro who has received many awards for his musical talents. He has played all over the world including Britain, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Germany, Poland, Croatia, Spain, Russia and the United States of America.

On the evening of Tuesday March 12th 2013, Yossi was scheduled to play a paid recital at Wits University which was open to the public and fully booked. However, when he arrived at the concert hall on Wits East Campus he was met by a delegation of Sixty plus Anti-Israel and Anti-Zionist protestors which included members of the PSC, the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) and the MSA. He was quickly ushered in by security that was guarding the entrance to the building. When guests began to arrive, the protestors started to become restless and rowdy toward them.

According to eye-witnesses there were a number of unruly incidents that took place, where guests were accosted by the members of the so-called “silent” protest. Among those accosted was a lecturer from the Wits Music Department who was apparently pushed and kicked as he attempted to enter the concert hall. Security had to use minor force to help both the lecturer and a number of other guests get into the hall without being injured by the protesters.

Eventually all the doors were closed and the concert was finally allowed to begin. However, as Mr Reshef began to play the protestors outside were blowing vuvuzelas and chanting loudly as a means of trying to disrupt the piano recital.  During this time, the security remained outside to guard the main door. After some time, things became quiet. Suddenly, while Mr Reshef was in middle of playing Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata, another door within the concert hall burst open. The protestors started streaming into the venue whilst chanting and making loud noises as they attempted to sabotage the recital. It was later discovered that the protesters had actually broken into a fire exit and come in through that door. Security swiftly arrived on the scene and managed to push the protesters out of the hall for a time. Nevertheless, the protestors became so forceful that the security officers were actually pushed backward and once again they came into the main hall screaming, jumping and blowing vuvuzelas. Yossi Reshef was ushered out of the venue very quickly as chaos began to reign within the hall. An eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous even stated he saw the Vice-President of the Wits SRC, cheer one of the protestors who began to violently hit the piano keys of a Steinway Piano that was being used by Mr Reshef. One of the music professor’s, who was truly horrified by what was taking place quickly, ran over to close this very expensive piece of musical equipment.

By this time, five members of the Wits SRC, including the President were present in the hall watching this all take place but were doing nothing to put a stop to it. The guests were all forced to leave as security was unable to get a handle on the pandemonium taking place within the venue. As the guests left in a hurry, the protesters began to shout in unison “down with Israel.”

Eyewitnesses have described the protestors as “hooligans” who were purposefully trying to destroy a beautiful evening that was supposed to be memorable; unfortunately for the wrong reasons. It must be noted that Yossi Reshef resides in Berlin and is not in any way politically affiliated with Israel. This hate action against Mr Reshef and the guests was done purely because he was just born in Israel.

In light of the fact that Mr Reshef is a renowned concert pianist, this behaviour will do much to harm the reputation of the University of the Witwatersrand, which represents the bastion of freedom of expression and freedom of speech that is outlined in the South African constitution. It is in poor taste that once again the minority extremists were allowed to gain the upper-hand over the majority of peace loving lecturers and guests alike who were present at this event. The security measures seem to have been woefully inadequate and the whole fiasco was poorly handled. Extra measures should have been implemented to ensure the safety of all the patrons involved, but this was obviously not the case.

A thorough investigation of this incident should be implemented with immediate effect and disciplinary action should be instituted against all those involved in causing this unfortunate incident.

Below is an apology and statement released by the Wits University:

“STATEMENT FROM THE VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, deeply regrets that a concert held on its campus last night was disrupted by some members of the University community and representatives of external organisations.

In light of this incident, the University takes this opportunity to issue a public apology to all those who attended the concert. The disruption of this event points to intolerance on the part of some members of the University community and goes against the core values espoused by the University. The University is investigating this matter and will take the necessary action based on its policies, processes and procedures.

The University reiterates that the views and opinions expressed by the Students’ Representative Council or any other student groups on campus do not represent the official views of the University, nor are they necessarily an accurate reflection of the views of the majority of students, staff and alumni.

Wits University is a leading institution on the African continent renowned for encouraging dialogue and debate on often diverse and conflicting views confronting society. It provides a platform for different constituencies to express their views and opinions through considered debate and intellectual engagement in the spirit of tolerance, respect and openness.

We value the diverse views of all our staff, students and alumni regardless of their race, religion, gender, culture, language, ideology or otherwise, provided that they do not exceed the limitations explicated in our Constitution.

The diversity of people, programmes and ideas at Wits leads to the richness and robustness of the institution. This is indeed one of the greatest qualities of excellent higher education institutions, and one which Wits cherishes.

Prof. Loyiso Nongxa

Vice-Chancellor and Principal

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

13 March 2013”

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The Magic of the Opera

I had a lovely evening with my sister and a few friend last night. We went off to see the Phantom of the Opera at Montecasino. It was absolutely phenomenal!

My first real exposure to this wonderful production was when I was in Grade 5. A small theatre company came to perform this in a simple manner for my Primary School. I fell in love with it immediately. I remember insisting that my mother rent me the 1925 silent version and 1986 Movie versions of the Production from the Local Video store. I was absolutely enchanted and went through quite an “obsessed” phase.

I had to have the “Christine” doll, posters, stickers, you name it – I had it. As I got older the obsession faded but my love for the music and storyline was always there. It came in phases!

In 2004, my “obsession” was renewed, the Brand New Film Version (directed by Joel Schumacher) was released. Starring the GORGEOUS Gerard Butler and Beautiful Emmy Rossum. Once again, I was enthralled with Andrew Lloyd Webbers Musical.

So of course when the Production came to the Johannesburg Theatre (a few years later) I went to go see it too!

Yet, of all the versions I have come across, (without giving too much away), nothing can beat last nights performance. The acting, vocal talent and special effects take this Musical to new heights, from the rise of the Chandelier in the Overture scene to the underground Boat scene, you felt as if you were right there, watching this events unfold before your very eyes. Andre Schwartz, star of the Cape Town Performance played the part of Erik, the Phantom. As always, he did an absolutely astounding job. (Although Jonathan Roxmouth was missed!) The vibrant costumes and flawless orchestra make this a production an absolute MUST-SEE. Whether you’re a fan or not, it will truly inspire you.

The Production is Running at Montecasino until May 20th.

Thomas Newman – Musical Mistero

There is something mysteriously beautiful about Score Pieces of Music. They add an emotional air to a scene within a movie. It just may be that the music you are hearing in that specific scene reminds you of a moment in you life, it recalls a painful, happy or sad memory. Thus, you have a deeply emotional connection to the scene.

OR

It may be that you understand how that person feels within that situation. It can also be the idea that one hopes that a part of ones life will either play out in that specific way or perhaps NOT play out in that way at all.

Maybe it’s just that; we base the way in which we hope situations will turn out too much on scenes within a movie or television show. The way we fall in love, the Happily Ever After or that ending we don’t hope for – the dramatic music and the overly-dramatic ending…. Think about it, just for a second, what movie scene relates perfectly to the way something in your life has turned out. Have you based what should or could happen in life on the rest of the movie or TV show?

We all have, even I sometimes imagine that I will meet my “Prince Charming” spontaneously, that he’ll rescue me from a treacherous dragon or perhaps that we may meet when I drop my coffee or a bunch of books on the ground in the middle of a bustling New York Street or even the idea of that dramatic fight before I marry just to get proof of how much ‘he’ actually loves me (like in the scene of the Blender in Father of the Bride with Steve Martin) yet knowingly and undoubtedly, we will make-up and live happily ever after with that beautiful love song or that breathtaking score music “playing” in the background…To dramatic?

Although there are no lyrics to it, score music is something that is truly unbelievable. It brings real feelings forward, touches a chord and even allows us to perhaps see things in a brilliant or different way. It can even change your mood – without that score music in the background, would you really shed a tear during the saddest scene in a movie?

For example: listening to a hopeful piece such as Thomas Newman’s “Pay it Forward” theme, may give you strength and hope. It can even turn your mood around…well it does for me anyway!

Of all the composers that create score music, the one that touches a part of me most, is definitely Thomas Newman and his *insert appropriate adjective here* pieces. My favourite piece is a toss up between “The Letter That Never Came” from the Lemony Snickets’ Film, A Series of Unfortunate Events and of course that of Road to Perdition. (An excellent film I might add with a great cast – Tom Hanks is flawless as usual).

There is something ultimately perfect about the way he composes his music, the instruments he uses and even more so his technique and control.

In my opinion, the use of score music is specifically aimed at provoking a psychological reaction. With the perfect score music; a movie can make a strong imprint and impact on the audience. It is this genre of music that actually connects everybody, all over the world. It makes us one, provoking similar feelings or idea’s within each and every one of us.

No lyrics, yet overtly powerful.

As the say – less is more…