Melvyn Tan | Buskaid


Mozart – Buskaid – Soweto – South Africa


 Febraury 2014 took me on a journey to Johannesburg in South Africa deep into the townhips of Soweto. I was embarking on a week’s project and work with Buskaid, the extraodinary String Ensemble Project which has been going for  over 20 years, run by the wonderful Rosemary Nalden, an ex-colleague of mine in London and very good friend. In the 20 years since she started running Buskaid, she has seen a new music centre built for the kids, and has made a reputation for them which has brought them to attention worldwide . To listen to them play is one of the most touching and moving experiences.

When Rosemary first muted the possiblity of working a Mozart Concerto with them I naturally jumped at the chance. We decided on K414 in A Major, a work small enough for them to start with ( after all they had never played a Mozart Piano concerto before) but big enough for a concert, which was to take place in Johannesburg at the end of the week that I was there working with them.

Rehearsing Mozart with them in the heart of Sowerto was quite a surreal experience!!

But the surreal soon turned into the sublime with elegant phrasing, articulation and inate poise, all thanks to Rosemary’s meticulous training.

The concert was a resounding success and played to a capacity audience. We are hoping that maybe one day we could repeat this wonderful experience elsewhere in South Africa or even in Europe. Who knows?