Clarinet and piano duo play to support local choir


A pair of Joburg musicians were so inspired by hearing the Graeme College Senior Choir in action that they’re dedicating their own performance in Grahamstown (Makhanda) on 15 August to this lively and talented ensemble, raising funds for the group’s upcoming performance tour.

Morné van Heerden (clarinet) and Lara Kirsten (piano) will bring a programme inspired by dance to the NELM auditorium on Wednesday 15 August. They describe it as an eclectic mix of vibrant and lively music from Hungary, France, Spain, Argentina and Poland and their programme ranges from Debussy’s Valse Romantique to Astor Piazzolla’s virtuosic Histoire du Tango and contemporary South African composer Surendran Reddy’s Game 1 for Lila.

The duo have been playing together for 18 years – starting in their student days at the University of Pretoria. Over the years, they have performed at venues such as Lucit Candle Garden in Pretoria, the Johannesburg Performing Arts Library, the Odeion in Bloemfontein (for the ATKV Music competition, where Morné won first prize in the Wind Instrument category), the Sandton Theatre on the Square and the prestigious Hilton Arts Festival.

Jean-Frédérik, the host of the Kindlewood soirée series in Johannesburg describes this duo as “spontaneous, considered, meticulous, passionate, and personal”.

Duo Recital to raise funds for the Graeme College Choir

Wednesday 15 August 2018 at 7pm

NELM auditorium, 25a Worcester Street, Grahamstown
R90 per person (R70 for pensioners and students)

Tickets available at Fusion Speciality Food shop, Allen Street
Inquiries Priscilla Glover or call 082 576 7227


The Programme
Kókai Rezsö – Four Hungarian Dances
Claude Debussy – Valse Romantique
Isaac Albéniz – Seguidillas from Cantos de España, Op.23
Witold Lutoslawski – Five Dance Preludes
Astor Piazzolla (Arrangement by Dmitriy Varelas) – Histoire du Tango
Surendran Reddy – Game 1 for Lila
Darius Milhaud – Samba from Scaramouche, Op.165b
Serban Nichifor – Klezmer Dance

Morné van Heerden

Morné van Heerden graduated from the University of Pretoria in 2001 with a BMus in Performance (cum laude). In 2009 he received a Performer's Licentiate in clarinet from the University of South Africa. As an orchestral musician Morné has played for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000 and is currently their co-principal clarinettist. Other orchestras he freelances for include the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Johannesburg Music Initiative.

Morné is actively involved with South African new music. Various established composers such as Clare Loveday and Andile Khumalo liaise with him to write and promote clarinet music in South Africa. Commissions and world premieres include works by Kevin Volans, Robert Fokkens, Cameron Harris and Allan Stephenson.

As an educator Morné has several diverse roles ranging from coaching clarinet students, and arranging for and directing orchestras at Kingsmead College in Johannesburg. In addition to this he presents workshops on performance-related topics, and works with up-and-coming young South African composers. Morné regularly performs at national music festivals such as the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Klein Karoo Klassique, Aardklop and the Wakkerstroom Music Festival. He often collaborates with the pianist and published poet Lara Kirsten, presenting a unique combination of music and performance poetry. Morné recently became an artist for Yamaha South Africa and the international reed and mouthpiece company Vandoren.


Lara Kirsten

Lara Kirsten is a pianist and performance poet. After completing her high school career at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg in 1997, Lara received her BMus and BMus Honours degrees, both cum laude at the University of Pretoria. Joseph Stanford and Wessel van Wyk were her mentors in solo piano and chamber music respectively.

For the past decade Lara has been active as both a solo and chamber musician. She has performed at the Wakkerstroom Music Festival, the McGregor Poetry Festival, the AfrikaBurn Festival in the Tankwa Karoo, the Woordfees in Stellenbosch, the FynArts Festival in Hermanus and the Michaelhouse Music Festival in KwaZulu-Natal.

For the past five years Lara has been based in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal from where she travels with her concert tours. She also teaches piano from her home. From 2014-2017 Lara has been invited to serve as adjudicator for the Pietermaritzburg Eisteddfod of the South African Music Society of Music Teachers. Since 2007 Lara’s poetry has been published in the South African Literary Journal New Contrast. In 2008 she became part of the Eastern Cape poet-group,Ecca, who present readings and publish collectively each year.

In 2015 and 2016 poems by Lara have been selected to feature in the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Anthology. Lara’s poetry and creative projects can be viewed on her blog at


WATCH: Graeme College boys choir rehearse for competition


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