Friday, April 26, 2013



 SONG RECITAL  AT  WAHNFRIED, McGREGOR Sunday 28th April, 3:30 for 4:00 p.m.

Two song cycles will be performed at the excellent venue in McGregor known as Wahnfried at the end (or beginning!) of Bree Street.  Berlioz wrote the first piece “Les Nuits d’Été” for piano but later orchestrated it. It is more often performed with orchestra but the piano version is very beautiful. The second cycle is by Turina which has 5 pieces, the first being for solo piano. The music is extremely Spanish and runs a whole gamut of emotions. It is called “Poema en forma de canciones”. There will also be a solo piano piece by Manuel da FallaDanse du Meunier which is part of the ballet “The Three-Cornered Hat” and of course, was originally written for orchestra. A very “flamenco” piece! There is also a beautiful Brazilian song.
The programme will be performed by Marcelle Volckaert, soprano and Sylvia Schulman, pianist.
Seats are R80 and booking can be made by phoning 072 601 1616

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Piano Life Saver System

News of the Piano Life Saver System has just reached me and may interest those of you who have valuable acoustic pianos needing to be humidified. My Steinway has had a basin filled with water on the floor under the piano for years, that being the only method I knew to try to keep the soundboard humidified! I will now invest in one of these systems that have had an unrivalled reputation since the 1950's! The suppliers have fitted them to pianos all over South Africa with consistently excellent results. There has been a dramatic improvement in the tone and tuning stability of these pianos, from small uprights to new Model D concert grand Steinways. Contact me for more information. Phone 028 514 2904 or 082 855 0534. You may also email me at sylbenat@futurejhb.co.za

HOW TO REACH THE 80s IN GOOD HEALTH

I've learnt over the years that the adage "You are what you eat" is absolutely true! Here I am, at the age of 87+, moving into a further career as a concert solo and accompanying pianist with recitals becoming more and more frequent, teaching piano, secretary of the Bahá'í Assembly of Swellendam, treasurer of the Swellendam Heritage Association, bookkeeping for a chiropractic clinic and generally enjoying life in a beautiful part of the world. I thought I would just put this information out in case there are those who would like to know how to achieve such a state of health and well-being in what is called "old age"! If you are one of those people, follow my blog and write to me in the comment section. If there are quite a few requests I will post another message to this blog.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updating!

I've been rather backward in keeping the blog up to date and I notice that 6 months has flown past since my last posting. It's been quite hectic for me - various concerts, rehearsals, organising fund raising for the purchase of a new Kawai grand piano for the Swellendam High School, various Bahá'í activities, bookkeeping jobs, teaching etc. etc. In the last few months it has been necessary to get down to some heavy practising for a solo recital at the new concert venue, Wahnfried, in McGregor on 2nd December. I have resuscitated my old programme called "Sylvia Schulman Plays Piano Music for You (from W.A. Mozart to Billy Mayerl)" which I have not played for several years. It consists of 15 pieces with a fair amount of talking in between, sometimes linking different pieces by a common denominator, but generally giving some interesting information about them and/or the composers. Then I decided to present the programme as one of the Country Classics series in Swellendam, this time at my house, a week beforehand. For singing and flute the acoustics here are not good because the room has wall-to-wall carpeting; so we have used other venues for the Country Classics concerts which have been with Marcelle Volckaert, soprano, Brad Liebl, baritone and Chris Nicholls, flute. However, the acoustic is satisfactory for piano so it is very convenient for me to do the solo recital on my own piano! On 9th December Brad Liebl and I will be giving a recital in Barrydale - that lovely drive from Swellendam through the beautiful Tradouws Pass - which includes a Christmas Fantasia on a Theme of Debussy, arranged by Brad Liebl. Going forward into next year, Brad and I will be performing at Wahnfried on 10th February, the programme for which will include songs by Wagner and Verdi as 2013 is the 200th Anniversary of their birth. Later in the year, as near winter as possible, we will do a recital in Barrydale to include some of Die Winterreise of Schubert at the request of our hosts, Tim Teale and Clive Strawbridge. Marcelle Volckaert and I will also be performing in Barrydale with  Turina and Berlioz song cycles. No doubt these recitals will also be presented in Swellendam.

Friday, May 25, 2012

KAWAI The Future of the Piano

The sole distributors (in the Cape, South Africa with agents in Natal) of the wonderful Kawai range of pianos have appointed me as one of their agents. I am very happy as this make of piano is superb - I say this because I own a Steinway grand myself  but have given several concerts on a Kawai, so I have experienced its capabilities. Kawai is rated as one of the top 3 piano manufacturers in the word, along with Steinway and Yamaha. In the last 3 decades Kawai has taken a leading position in mechanism design,  tone character and digital piano development. The range in acoustic pianos is from several models of uprights to baby grands to concert grands. The digital range suits all purposes from  purely home machines to stage pianos. There are several innovations which make for improved tone quality, action and longevity in acoustic and digital.

As well as this agency I am able to take orders for sheet music. Swellendam has no music outlet and those wanting music have to order from Cape Town or Stellenbosch. Now they can order from me which is much more direct.

For more information (if you are in the Cape although not Cape Town itself and as far as say Sir Lowry's Pass) please email me at sylbenat@futurejhb.co.za

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Concerts Coming Up

Concerts in November and January are being planned in Swellendam and Barrydale, following the success of the Garden Route Concert Series in Heidelberg. Marcelle Volckaert, soprano, and I will be performing in November in both towns, and in January it will be Brad Liebl, baritone, and myself at the same venues, both being in beautiful private homes with good pianos! When exact dates have been confirmed all round,I will post another notice. Beautiful programmes have been planned by both singers. I will add about 2 piano solos to each programme, giving the singers a bit of a breather!
By the way, to be informed about concerts or to advertise them go to www.mstring.co.za. Everybody who registers with them receives an email to announce events for the following two weeks. One can also advertise instruments and jobs, make announcements, join the forum etc.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Latest News

The Garden Route Concert Series came and went! They were all very successful as regards performance and much appreciated by the small but very warm audiences. Our hosts, Chris and Sally Nicholls provided a most welcoming ambience and the refreshments were absolutely super!
The day after the last concert I had to go to Johannesburg for two weeks to work with the Gauteng Choristers for their entry in the NCF competitions. They very kindly arranged for a chauffeur driven car to pick me up at home and take me to the Cape Town airport where I was flown to OR Tambo Airport. There was a Hyundai hire car for me to pick up and I was off to the National Bahá'í Centre where I was being accommodated. I was horrified to find that the Giluleys exchange on the N1/3 had been altered and I had no idea which road to take. Fortunately I took the right one and was relieved to see the familiar off ramps coming up. Rehearsals started the next day and I was very warmly welcomed by the Choristers! Good to see them all again and to work with Sidwell Mhlongo, their very talented conductor. I think it is three years since I was last with them. Then I caught a cold and cough, and after another couple of days unexplained pains in my leg kept me awake for three nights. In desperation I went to see a doctor who prescribed the usual drugs which I hate taking, but at least I got some much needed sleep. I had phoned many of my friends and was taken out for lunch and breakfast on several occasions. Great to see them all again. Driving up and down on the busy motorways almost every day was a strain but I got through it all, even the long drive into Soweto and out again after the competitions. I think it took me more than an hour that night to get back to the Bahá'í Centre. I flew back the next day rather the worse for wear! It has taken me nearly two weeks and several wonderful treatments from the outstanding chiropractor/kinesiologist, Dr. Zaida Rivené, to recover and am still a little weak! Piano students have been around for more coaching and things are gradually returning to normal. My lovely little dog Figo was beautifully looked after by Evelyn (my lovely domestic help who comes in three mornings a week normally) who sacrificed her home life to stay with him for the two weeks in my house. Needless to say, he was very pleased to see me and must have licked my face for at least 15 minutes to say Hello!

Well, that's my latest news but there are more concerts in the offing. In the meantime there are quite a few to attend and it will be nice to be part of the audience again.