Mariel Ilusorio and Nicholas Nicolaidis to perform Schubert

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Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

The next concert to be presented by the Grahamstown Music Society, on Thursday 10th October, will be Nicholas Nicolaidis (tenor), accompanied by Mariel Ilusorio (piano), performing Franz Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin” (“The Lovely Maid of the Mill”).

This song cycle by Franz Schubert, a setting of twenty poems by Wilhelm Müller, is the earliest extended song cycle to be widely performed and is considered one of Schubert's most important works. The piano part bears much of the expressive burden of the work, and is seldom a mere “accompaniment” to the singer. Müller's poems were published in 1820, and Schubert set most of them to music between May and September 1823, when he was 26 years old. He omitted several of the poems, such as a prologue and an epilogue delivered by the poet. The strong rhythms and evocative language of this song cycle embody the Romantic love affair with death that rests at the heart of so much of Schubert’s best work.

Nicholas Nicolaidis was born in Johannesburg. At the age of ten he was the runner-up in the Golden Voice of South Africa singing competition run by the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School. The following year he joined the school, where he spent the next four years. During this time he was firstly the lead treble soloist and then the leading tenor soloist. He completed his school career at St John’s College in Houghton, and then completed a Bachelor of Music Degree, specialising in vocal performance, at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). During his studies at Wits he received both the Elizabeth Connell/Samro and Joyce Barker vocal awards, and in August 2003 he won the South African Music Rights Organisation overseas scholarship award for singing and thus furthered his singing studies in London with professors from the Royal College of Music.

Nicholas’s voice may best be described as being a “lyric tenor”. He has a wide repertoire but specialises in Oratorio, Lieder and Songs from the Shows. He has performed as a soloist with the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, Bach Choir of Johannesburg, Bach Choir of Natal, Bach Choir of Pretoria, Drakensberg Boys’ Choir, Bonisodumo Choristers, Port Elizabeth Oratorio Choir, Chanticleer Singers, Côr Meibion Cymru de Affrig, Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg Choir, University of Pretoria Choir, St Mary’s School Choir and St John’s College Choir. He has appeared with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra in the very popular ‘Starlight Classics’, ‘Last Night of the Proms’, 702 Mother’s Day Concert at the Zoo and has performed at the Classic FM soirées and National Budget dinner hosted by Rand Merchant Bank. Nicholas is a regular star performer at the annual National Arts Festival held in Grahamstown, and has been a member of the acclaimed South African choir the Chanticleer Singers since 1994.

Mariel Ilusorio is a Filipina pianist educated in New York (The Juilliard School), Ohio (Oberlin Conservatory of Music) and Germany (Hannover State Academy of Music).  She has given solo and chamber music concerts across five continents.  As a soloist, Mariel has performed with the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony Orchestra, the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Oberlin Symphony Orchestra, the Cantu Orchestra, the Manila Chamber Orchestra, the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, the Wernigerode Orchestra, the Rhodes Orchestra, and the East Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.  Her main mentors include Stella Brimo in the Philippines, Richard Fabre and Joseph Schwartz in the US, and Arie Vardi in Germany. 


Mariel moved to South Africa eight years ago, and together with her husband, violinist-conductor Juan Munoz, perform in their own chamber music series called "Juan, Mariel and Friends".  An active teacher, she also initiated the Rising Stars Music Competition in Grahamstown, which has now evolved into the Grahamstown National Music Competition.  She lives and works as performer and teacher in Grahamstown, with Juan Munoz and their 7-year old daughter, Anita.

The venue for this concert will be the Beethoven Room at the Rhodes University Music Department. The concert will start at 19:30 and tickets – R80 (adults), R60 (pensioners), R40 (tertiary students) – will be available at the door. School-goers and GMS members FREE!


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