The Odeion String Quartet (OSQ) is currently conducting international visits to Tanzania and Austria. The quartet is the only residential university quartet in South Africa and they will play concerts, share knowledge and build relationships while abroad.
The OSQ will be an ambassador for the University of the Free State (UFS) through these trips. It visits Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 17 to 20 November 2016 and Austria from 29 November to 4 December 2016.
The quartet, which constitutes string lecturers at the Odeion School of Music, consists of Samson Diamond, Sharon de Kock, Jeanne-Louise Moolman and Prof Anmari van der Westhuizen Joubert.
The OSQ was invited by founder and conductor of the Dar Choral Society, Hekima Raymond, to Tanzania in order to assist the symphony orchestra.
Raymond is a self-taught pianist and conductor and was nominated for a BBC Outlook Inspirations award in 2016.
The quartet will lead the string sections of the orchestra, consisting of members from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, performing Beethoven’s fifth symphony and Verdi’s Requiem.
According to Diamond it is a humbling experience, an opportunity to extend their services and help establish the Dar Choral Society.
“You are part of something really special, because the circumstances are remote if you compare it to what we have here,” he says.
He means it is important to have a real African footprint and being involved there can later serve as a platform for UFS recruitment.
According to Prof. Van der Westhuizen Joubert it is an honour to play in Austria, as Europe is a centre for classical music.
The OSQ will play concerts at the Alte Schmiede, Vienna, and the University of Salzburg.
The concert on 4 December 2016 at the University of Salzburg’s Mozarteum is a highlight because the UFS will have the opportunity to build relationships with the famous music school.
Van der Westhuizen Joubert said it would be a South African/Austrian collaboration.
“We will bring them South African works (Mokale Koapeng, AJ Feder, Arnold van Wyk and Peter-Louis van Dijk) and will be playing Austrian contemporary string quartets.”