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Press release: Hiroaki Takenouchi at the GauFestival, South Africa

Press release from the Gauteng International Arts Festival.

World famous Japanese pianist opens 2019 GauFestival with two Mozart piano concertos and the complete set of Mozart Piano Sonatas.

in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in South Africa at Brooklyn Theatre.

Takenouchi’s visit is a veritable feast of Mozart’s music, as he will also be performing two Mozart piano concertos with the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Gauteng Philharmonic is now an established professional orchestra, based at Brooklyn Theatre, Pretoria, for all of six years. The monthly concerts feature the most popular symphonic repertoire, overtures and concertos for various solo instruments. Apart from the top class South African conductors and soloists, collaborations with international embassies are a regular occurrence, facilitating visits by outstanding musicians and conductors from abroad. This is all presented to the SA community by way of affordable ticket prices.

The opening concert of this year’s Gaufestival is a veritable feast of Mozart’s most attractive works. It opens with the evergreen Così fan Tutte Overture followed by the romantic Andante for Flute & Orchestra featuring the brilliant young flautist, Daniël Spies (12) as soloist. Then follows the magical Piano Concerto no. 24 with Hiroaki Takenouchi behind the keys on the Brooklyn Theatre Steinway. After interval follows one Mozart’s shortest, yet most charming symphonies, namely the Symphony no. 23, also sometimes referred to as an Overture.

The final work on the programme is one of the Mozart’s best known piano concertos namely number Piano Concerto no. 20, with a slow movement much in the same league as the slow movement of the 21st Piano Concerto (Elvira Madigan Theme). 20 September 19:00 and 22 September 15:00 at Brooklyn Theatre.

To experience live performances, featuring the entire set of 18 piano sonatas by Mozart, is extremely rare in international terms. Brooklyn Theatre is very proud to host this project with the world famous Japanese pianist, Hiroaki Takenouchi. This will be the first project of its kind in South African music history. Takenouchi has added an additional work to 3 of the performances to balance the recitals time-wise. These are: The Fantasy in C minor K.475, Rondo in A minor K.511 and the Adagio in B minor K. 540.

Enthusiastically championed by artists like Lily Krauss, derided by others, most notoriously Glenn Gould, Mozart’s piano sonatas occupy a special position in his output. Unlike Beethoven’s sonatas, these works are not central to their composer’s achievement. Nevertheless, they are unique as a polished body of works for a single instrument: and this is especially significant in Mozart’s case.

The piano sonatas fascinatingly oscillate between the domestic and the public, not only in their references, but – being by nature playful and thoughtful – also moving between that which includes the audience and that which does not. Vital is the image of the improviser/composer; so too the kind of open experimentation which is a result of abundant facility and an abundance of creativity.

Pianist, Friedrich Gulda, provocatively posits that in the piano sonatas one finds ideas which, more or less a hundred Köchel numbers later, are essayed fully in the operas. Whether or not one chooses to regard these pieces from such a vantage point, it is true that, perhaps because the stakes are not quite as high as they are in the Olympian, large-scale works, and because Mozart was such a fine clavier-player himself, we sense with these pieces more than any others the touch of the craftsman’s hand itself. That is their special place: not central to the Mozart miracle, but revealing of it in a special way. How could they be other than a performer’s delight?

The Complete Mozart piano sonatas will feature in 5 concerts from 23 until 25 September.
For details visit

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