In January 2023, the Cape Town-based award-winning film composer Grant McLachlan presented a fabulous concert celebrating the UCT Summer School 2023, following on from his lecture series Tipping Points in Music. Works presented included his composition Of Light, a setting of poems by four female South Africa poets, as well as music by Debussy, Brahms, McLachlan, Jeremy Dale Roberts and Arvo Pärt. VOX Cape Town joined Grant together with the Kirby Quartet and Gabriele von Dürckheim (flute).

Grant writes: “In the late twentieth century, several composers reacted against the inaccessible and difficult music of the avant-garde. Among these were the composers Arvo Pärt, Henryk Gorecki, Kim André Arnesen from Eastern and Northern Europe, and Eric Whitacre from the United States. The ethereal beauty of this music has captivated audiences worldwide. We will be presenting a selection from these composers performed by VOX Cape Town, interspersed with chamber music for strings and flute, including the sensitive and delicate miniatures of the British composer Jeremy Dale Roberts as well as music by Debussy. The performance Of Light, a setting by Grant McLachlan of four South African poems, will conclude the programme.”

UCT Summer School is a public education programme that offers a range of short courses to all, regardless of educational qualifications. Read about VOX’s other performances at the UCT Summer School.

About the other performers

The Kirby Quartet was formed in 2022, with members Nicholas Bruiners (violin 1), Kaitlin Visser Downie (violin 2), Micaela Arries (viola) and Ashlin Grobbelaar (cello). All four members study at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town. The Quartet is named after the Kirby Collection, a room in the South African College of Music housing over 600 African, European and Asian instruments, as well as sound recordings, field notes, photos, correspondence and more. When naming the quartet, the members wanted to honour the institution they studied at which is why they chose to name the quartet after the Kirby Collection. In September 2022, they placed as a runner up in the Stellenbosch University National Ensembles Competition. In October 2022, they won the 15th Annual Schock Prize for Chamber Music with their performance of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 3, Op.73 in F Major. They were also presented as the Cape Chamber Music Collective’s 8th project with pianist Gerhard Joubert and performed five concerts in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, which included a performance at Spier Wine Estate’s Jazz and Classical Encounters. Other venues they have performed at include Oude Nectar, No. 6 Spin Street, Erin Hall and Casa Labia.

Gabriele von Dürckheim, principal flute of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra since 2002, received her first flute lessons from Eva Tamassy while still at primary school in Stellenbosch. After finishing her Higher Licentiate at the University of Stellenbosch, she continued her studies in England with renowned flautist Trevor Wye. During her studies, Gabriele won several prizes and awards including Category prize of the ATKV Musiq competition and Oude Meester Music Competition, and had the privilege to perform in concerts in the UK. Gabriele is active as a flute teacher at the German International School in Cape Town as well as SACS. She also mentors flautists of the CPYWE and CPYO. She regularly performs as soloist and ensemble player in and around Cape Town notably with Luis Magalhaes as duo partner, and most recently as soloist as well as in a double concerto with principal violist Petrus Coetzee with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performed as a member of the Cape Town Philharmonic Wind Quintet in online concerts with Pieter Grobler, in the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s highly successful chamber concert series, Symphonic Masterpieces in Miniature, and in Concert Connect’s fundraiser for the Red Cross Trust with Nina Schumann, Francois du Toit and Gloria Bosman. She has also been a member of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Malaysian Symphony Orchestra and the South African National Youth Orchestra.

Grant McLachlan holds music degrees from Magdalen College, Oxford; King’s College, London; and a film music degree from Bournemouth University. He has won several awards for his film music, and has scored music for more than 120 wildlife and feature film productions over the last 3 three decades. He has composed for many broadcasters, including the BBC, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Animal Planet, Discovery, ZDF, NKH, Terra Mater, and many more. The feature-documentary Ocean Voyagers (with voice over by Meryl Streep) was screened with Grant’s music played live to picture by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for Animal Planet’s 10th anniversary in Cadogan Hall, London in 2007. He has also been active as a composer, music director, and pianist and musical director in various theatre. He has an extensive catalogue of concert music, including the Christmas carol Come, Colours Rise which has been performed by hundreds of choirs around the world, by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra Brass Ensemble, among others. Grant presented lectures series at the UCT Summers Schools 2020 and 2022.