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9 October 2014
UWC and University of Stuttgart Symphony Concert

Standing ovation for UWC and University of Stuttgart Symphony Concert

The Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart’s musical tour of South Africa, co-hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Stellenbosch, came to an end with a final symphony concert at St George's Cathedral on Thursday, 9 October 2014.

The University of Stuttgart is one of Germany’s oldest technical-learning universities and enjoys an excellent international reputation.The roughly 70 musicians from the visiting orchestra performed together with the University of the Western Cape’s Wind Orchestra, including a surprise performance of the South African national anthem that helped earn them a standing ovation from an appreciative crowd.

Thanks to the three orchestras, St. George’s Cathedral echoed with the sounds of Johann Stauss' classic, Die Fledermaus (“The Bat”). The operetta tells the story of a Viennese man, Gabriel von Eisenstein, who leaves his drunken friend dressed as a bat, wandering through the streets after a masked ball. As this is a serious embarrassment for the notary, he plots his revenge, and through the Rache der Fledermaus (“Revenge of the Bat”) the operetta plays out.

Henriette Weber of the UWC Centre for Performing Arts (CPA) welcomed the audience at the concert, explaining that the event had helped the students and universities form stronger relationships, and that it was also a proud occasion for the CPA.

“Europe is the cultural hub of classical music, and with this long history, the calibre of performance by the Stuttgart musicians is exceptional,” Weber noted. “And we are proud to say that our students matched their international counterparts, beat by beat.”

“The University of Stuttgart Academic Orchestra has been in existence for over 50 years, which is close to UWC's age as a university,” she continued. “The CPA has only been in existence since 2005. I dare say that they were impressed with our students, coming from an ensemble that was only started in February of this year.”

Prof Wolfgang Holtkamp, Director of the Department of International Relations at the University of Stuttgart, spoke briefly about the tour, saying that it had been a unique experience for the orchestra to visit impressive classical music venues such as St Georges Cathedral and Endler Hall, and noting that the orchestra especially enjoyed the lively interaction at performances with communities of the New Apostolic Church Palmbridge in the Eastern Cape, while visiting the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Thirteen UWC Wind Orchestra members had previously joined the University of Stuttgart Orchestra in performances at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre and the University of Stellenbosch's Endler Hall during the Cape Town leg of their tour. The tour started on 5 October and involved participants of the Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart performing at its partner universities, along with a few other South African universities.

“Working, rehearsing and performing together created a professional, artistic environment between the two groups,” said Weber. “It was a very good learning experience for management and students alike.”