The Wits Trio plays Schubert
Featured Artists: Zanta Hofmeyr, Susan Mouton, Malcolm Nay
Company: Zanta Hofmeyr
Franz Schubert lived a short life of 31 years from 1797 to 1828 during which he composed a vast amount of music. The Wits Trio will perform the two piano trios that he composed during the last two years of his life. They are marked as opus 99 (in B-flat major) and opus 100 (in E-flat major). By the time he composed these works he was at the end of a very difficult life of poverty, suffering from illness as well as living in a city affected by the Napoleonic wars. The trios are characterised by their exquisitely beautiful melodies filled with joy and sorrow. These compositions portray the three instruments – violin, cello and piano – in their intricate and diverse facets of sound, colour and dynamic range, which requires the utmost control, and musical maturity of the performers. It is unusual to have both works performed in one programme and therefore a special opportunity for music lovers to experience. The Wits Trio is delighted to feature this programme at the National Arts Festival.
Trio in B – flat major, Opus 99 Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Andante un poco mosso
Rondo (Allegro vivace)
Trio in E – flat major, Opus 100 Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828)
Andante con moto
Scherzando (Allegro moderato)
The Wits Trio members are Malcolm Nay(piano), Zanta Hofmeyr (violin) and Susan Mouton (cello).
Since their inauguration in 2012 the Wits Trio has become well-known throughout South Africa. “The two fiery, energetic men on cello and piano form superb bookends to the dulcet tones produced by Zanta Hofmeyr on the violin…” In 2016 the Trio performed the complete trios of Johannes Brahms at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to high acclaim from critics and audiences. At the Vryfees in Bloemfontein they received an award for the Best performance of a new chamber concert programme . In March 2017 they were featured at a SAMRO concert at the University of Pretoria where they performed the Wits Trio Tribute – a composition specially composed for them by the South African composer, Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph. The Trio has toured extensively throughout the Western Cape and the Karoo with the intention of bringing live classical music performances to venues outside of the major metropolitan areas. They performed the Beethoven Triple concerto in September 2017 in Johannesburg. In 2018 Susan Mouton joined the Wits Trio as they undertake their performances of the piano trios of Franz Schubert.
Zanta Hofmeyr graduated from the Juilliard School of Music in New York where she was a student of Dorothy Delay and Hyo Kang. After her New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall (now Weil recital hall), she returned to South Africa in 1985. Zanta teaches violin in Johannesburg and at the University of Pretoria. She often acts as string coach for youth orchestras and has been on the faculty of chamber music festivals in the USA and Stellenbosch, SA. She performs regularly as soloist with symphony orchestras in South Africa and was lauded for her performances of the Britten, Beethoven and Bruch concerti. In 2016 she performed the 10 Beethoven sonatas with Bulgarian pianist Ilia Radoslavov touring SA and the US. She has several recordings with different artists of which the latest are French sonatas and three Beethoven sonatas. With Malcolm Nay she recorded Romantic Violin pieces and they are well-known as a duo partnership performing with performances of the major violin and piano repertoire. In 2016 she served as adjudicator at the Rudolfo Lipizer international violin competition in It
Susan Mouton grew up in Durban, where she began cello lessons at the age of 10. She studied at the University of Pretoria under Professor Gerard van de Geest. Here she was the recipient of the Pretorium Trust bursary on 3 occasions, as well one of the winners of the SA Music Scholarship. During her studies she often appeared as soloist with the University Orchestra, and in 1981 she was one of the soloists in the CAPAB Music Festival. After she graduated, she joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 1983, and was appointed Principal cellist in 1987. She studied with Marian Lewin while completing her Performer’s Diploma at Wits University, and was one of the winners of the Unisa Overseas Study Bursaries in 1987, which she used to spend 3 months attending master classes in Europe with a number of esteemed cellists, including Arto Noras, William Pleeth, Johannes Goritski and Wolfang Laufer.
Since 2000 she has been Principal cellist of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. in addition to her orchestral playing, she is active as a chamber musician, and is frequently asked to examine for Unisa. In 2001, she was on the jury for the National String Competition, and in 2010, she was honoured to be chosen as the only South African string specialist on the jury for the International String Competition. During the past few years, she has also been involved in numerous productions with the well-known Afrikaans singer, Jannie du Toit.
Malcolm Nay is widely regarded as one of the finest chamber pianists and accompanists in South Africa. After graduating with a BMus from Wits University where he studied with Pauline Nossel and Isabella Stengel, he travelled on scholarships to America, where he studied with Bela Siki. Malcolm was the recipient of numerous prizes at several international piano competitions, including the prize for the most talented South African pianist at the 1st Unisa International Piano Competition and 2nd prize at the Montevideo International Piano Competition. As a soloist, he has appeared with most of South Africa’s major orchestras and is remembered especially for performances, in Gauteng, of the Mozart concertos, which he conducted from the keyboard. He is also sought after adjudicator at prestigious music competitions throughout the country and he continues to perform extensively at the larger festivals in South Africa. He is currently Associate Professor at WitsMusic, Wits School of Arts (WSOA).