String trio treat for Gtown


Spanish cellist Andrea Casarrubios, German violist Ernst-Martin Schmidt and South African violinist Avigail Bushakevitz make up the Brandenberg Trio that wil perform in Grahamstown on Tuesday 9 May. Photo supplied


International ensemble the Brandenburg String Trio will perform in the NELM auditorium in Grahamstown on Tuesday 9 May. South African violinist and South African Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year Avigail Bushakevitz, German violist Ernst-Martin Schmidt and Spanish cellist Andrea Casarrubios will perform works by Purcell, Mozart and Schubert, as well as 20th century composers Jean Françaix and Gideon Klein.

Grounded by Schubert’s unfinished String Trio in B flat major, D. 471 and Mozart’s Divertimento in E flat major, the programme opens with Purcell’s Fantasia in D minor.

​Founded in 2014, the Brandenburg String Trio’s members span the globe, with Bushakevitz and Schmidt living in Berlin and Casarrubios in New York City. The trio members have performed in the world’s greatest halls, such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Albert Hall in London at the BBC Proms, Carnegie Hall in New York and the Philharmonie in Berlin. As musicians they are equally at home as orchestral players, soloists and chamber musicians.

The concert in Grahamstown on Tuesday 9 May starts at 7.30pm in the auditorium at NELM, the National English Literary Museum, at 25 Worcester Street. Tickets are available at the door, same price as last year: R90 (adults), R70 (pensioners), R50 (tertiary students). Schoolgoers and GMS members free.


Violinist Avigail Bushakevitz  was born in Israel and grew up in George, South Africa, studying with Professor Jack de Wet in Cape Town. No stranger to South African audiences, she has performed as soloist with all the major orchestras in the country, has won multiple national and international competitions including first prizes at the Unisa National Strings Competition and the UNO Competition in Jerusalem. In 2016 Bushakevitz was named South African Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year. Together with her brother Ammiel she has toured South Africa, and performed in New York as well as various European countries. In 2014 the duo were awarded first prize in the international Spanish competition “Paper de Musica de Capellades”.   After completing her Masters degree at The Juilliard School in New York under the tutelage of Sylvia Rosenbeerg, Avigail continued her studies in Tel Aviv. In 2013 Avigail moved to Berlin taking up her current position as a first violinist in the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin where she met her husband Ernst-Martin Schmidt.

Violist Ernst-Martin Schmidt was born in East Berlin where he first studied violin at the CPE Bach specialist music school. By the age of 16 he changed to the instrument where his heart lay, the viola.  He completed his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the Musik Hochschule Hanns Eisler in Berlin with Professor G Riedel and Professor W Küssner. During the final two years of studies he commenced two years’ playing in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra as a fellow of the orchestra’s Karajan Academy.  Thereafter, in 2005, he joined the violas of Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin. He performs regularly with the Berlin Baroque Soloists, the Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin and is a member of diverse chamber music groups with whom he has toured, Brazil, Japan and many European countries. Schmidt is a passionate baritone singer and is a member of the Gregorian Schola of the Hedwig’s Cathedral of Berlin.

Cellist Andrea Casarrubios studied at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore with Amit Peled and at the University of Southern California under Ralph Kirschbaum. After completing her Masters Casarrubios worked with the residence ensemble of Carnegie Hall in New York.  She is also a composer with compositions premiered at illustrious venues such as Carnegie Hall.  The New York Times praised her cello playing as having “traversed the palette of emotions” with “gorgeous tone and an edge-of-seat intensity”.  She has collaborated in various festivals, among them the  Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, Ravinia, Pablo Casals Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and the Verbier Festival. She has won many awards and is a first prize winner of the American Fine Arts Festival International Concerto Competition 2012 and the SOR Solo String Concerto Competition 2009. At the 2011 festival of the Heifetz Institute in New Hampshire, Casarrubios and Bushakevitz met and started their chamber music collaboration.


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