Alla Turca

Dear Friends of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, 

“It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating,” said the Queen presently. “What would you like best to eat?” “Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund. The Queen let another drop fall from her bottle on to the snow, and instantly there appeared a round box, tied with green silk ribbon, which, when opened, turned out to contain several pounds of the best Turkish Delight.”

I would like to think that Johannesburg audiences might feel like Edmund from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, enjoying oriental delicacies, elegantly wrapped up in that elaborate box which is this year’s edition of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival.

The eighth year of the JIMF pays tribute to Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca and beyond. Ever since Mozart’s days, when the city of Vienna was besieged by the Turks during the war, composers and audiences have been fascinated by the arrival of arabesque elements in Western music. The 2016 Festival reflects the influence of oriental and exotic styles in a colourful variety of composers from our Classical patron to the present day; from Debussy’s penchant towards Gamelan music and the Moorish flavours in some Spanish guitar music, via Strauss’s Fairy Tales from the Orient to the Sān Gloria of this year’s Composer-in-Residence, Peter Louis van Dijk.

The diversity of the programme reflects once again that the Festival places great emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches, providing innovative intersections between “classical” repertoires, new music, improvisation, film, dance, theatre and contemporary South African art. The JIMF’s educational initiatives, too, are going from strength to strength. Our current three vocal scholars at the Musikhochschule in Cologne/Germany have recently enjoyed international competition successes and concert engagements. The 2016 Festival will, of course, see another edition of the annual vocal masterclass, along with a multidisciplinary workshop with poet Sthembiso Khwela and three young South African composers.

Between 23 January and 7 February, all our artists and ensembles will JoIn forces in concert, dishing out the Turkish Delights.

Bon appetit – may I wish you inspiring concerts and encounters!


Florian Uhlig
Artistic Director