Rockin’ the night with classical music

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Bassoonist Gunter Weyermuller and his rockin' band of orchestral musicians with Free State Symphony Orchestra conductor, Alexander Fokkens

It was a rockin’ night at the Free State Symphony Orchestra (FSSO) Concert when Namibian bassoonist, Gunter Weyermüller, rolled onto the stage on a Harley disguised as Elvis Presley, on Saturday.

The internationally acclaimed musician visited Bloemfontein to perform in the Fun, Humour and the Symphony concert at the University of the Free State.

The audience was delighted by the sound of the classics such as Mozart, Kalliwoda and Haydn, with a contemporary touch of Michael Daugherty’s Dead Elvis for Bassoon and Chamber Ensemble. It was Mozart’s A Musical Joke that got the evening going by injecting a good sense of humour into the sophistication of orchestral music.

“The show is about having fun but in a serious kind of way. Some people see symphony orchestras as old fashioned. There’s a perception that they have to sit and quietly watch as the music plays. While some concerts are like that, there is a lot of other stuff that’s not like that,” expressed Alexander Fokkens, who orchestrated the show.

“I put a bunch of pieces together that through the past 200 to 300 years have been written to make a statement or make fun of somebody. Normally Mozart’s works are incredibly well constructed, written and crafted. But this one sounds like it was written by somebody else and that was the way he intended it to be,” added Fokkens.

Weyermüller took to the stage holding his bassoon like an electric guitar much to the amusement of the audience and performed a solo that earned a lively applause at the Odeion. “He brings excellence because he really is a wonderful player who has made a career for himself despite the odds. He also brings a fantastic sense of humour, which is perfect for this show,” said Fokkens.

To stay informed of upcoming performances by the Free State Symphony Orchestra, send your name and cell phone number to Michelle Horn at HertzelM@ufs.ac.za.

Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za