Top duo for final concert in GMS season

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Concertmaster of Orchestra Wellington, Amalia Hall, will perform with versatile concert pianist Jose Dias in the Grahamstown Music Society’s final concert for the year on Tuesday 24 October.

One of New Zealand’s foremost violinists, Hall’s career began at the age of 8 when she started playing chamber music with her siblings in the Hall String Quartet. She has gone on to play chamber music with eminent musicians around the world. Her competition successes include the Royal Overseas League Overseas Award and both First Prize and the overall prize at the Tunbridge Wells International Music Competition, and the top prize at the Jeunesses International Music Competition Dinu Lipatti; First Prize at the Leos Janacek International Competition, the Postacchini International Violin Competition (and the ‘Absolute Winner’ Prize) and the Gisborne International Music Competition (at the age of 16).

Since making her debut at the age of 9 with the Auckland Philharmonia, Amalia has been a regular soloist with orchestras in New Zealand, as well as Europe including I Virtuosi Italiani, Munich Chamber Orchestra, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Amadeus Polish Radio Chamber Orchestra, the State Philharmonic of Sibiu and Filharmonica Marchigiana, and with the Mexico State Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Filharmonía in Mexico. Performances have taken her to China, Germany, Scotland, England, France, Austria, Mexico, the US and Australia among other countries.

At the age of 10 Amalia was the youngest ever member to be accepted into the NZSO National Youth Orchestra, and continued on to later become its Concertmaster. She has been an associate member of the Auckland Philharmonia since the age of 16 and was contracted as Principal First Violin in 2012.

At the age of 19 Amalia began postgraduate studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, having completed her Bachelor of Music degree at the age of 19 at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

She is violin and viola lecturer on the University of Waikato faculty and has taught and given masterclasses at institutions including The Menuhin School, Vicenza Conservatorio, Rossini Conservatorio, University of Veracruz Faculty of Music and New Zealand School of Music.

Amalia plays on a violin made in 2013 by the Padova-based luthier Alberto Cassutti.

Jose Dias will be playing the piano. Photo: Supplied

Portuguese-born pianist, José Dias, first travelled to South Africa in 2001 to enrol at the University of Stellenbosch, where he was to complete his BMus Honours cum laude, then furthering his studies at the Hochschule für Muzik und Theater in Zürich (Switzerland) where he obtained his Konzertdiplom with distinction.

In 2007, José Dias took up a position as repetiteur at Cape Town Opera, where he accompanied CTO artists in countless concert performances and was involved as repetiteur and vocal coach in productions ranging from Monteverdi to Gershwin and Heggie. He is still a regular collaborator and guest artist with CTO, most recently and notably as musical director and pianist of the CTO African Angels production, which has been touring locally and internationally since 2013 to unanimous popular and critical acclaim.

His freelance performing career sees him as a regular presence in all major concert halls in South Africa as well as in Festivals such as Aardklop, KKNK, Klein Karoo Klassique, Woordfees, etc. In recent seasons, international performances have taken him to Portugal, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria, with extensive tours of the Netherlands and Germany, including performances in such prestigious halls as the Berliner Philharmonie, Münchner Philharmonie, Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, among many others.

José Dias has also been the musical director of Biblioteek Productions’ Amore, Waansin and Poskantoor operatic stage-works. He was co-creator and curator of RISE, in cooperation with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra – a platform for the display of young SA classical talent – and is also an avid supporter of contemporary music, having premiered works by composers such as Hendrik Hofmeyr, Alexander Johnson and Braam du Toit. Many of these (some written especially for him) have been recorded and are available on CD.

José Dias is currently completing his PhD (Music) at the University of Cape Town under the supervision of François du Toit and Hendrik Hofmeyr, and is a part-time lecturer at the UCT College of Music.

The concert on Tuesday 24 October starts at 7.30pm in the Auditorium at the National English Literary Museum (NELM). Tickets are available at the door. The tickets cost R90 per adult, R70 per pensioner, R50 per tertiary student and schoolgoers and Grahamstown Society Music members attend for free.

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