The health of the local piano music scene is of great importance to the team at Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos. Not only is the success of our business reliant on growing the number of local pianists, but we feel a strong duty to support the growth and health of the industry in any way we can. This includes but is not limited to finding and promoting opportunities for pianists to perform in reasonable spaces, with decent pianos, and under decent conditions. Too often we come across great performance spaces with no piano (or a poor piano), or there is no access for the pianist, or the venue is unable or unwilling to adequately compensate the performers. Given these industry “norms”, it was with great excitement that we met management at the One&Only Resort Cape Town to discuss placing a piano in their main lobby and assisting launching their live music program.
The team first needed to select a piano for the space, and after some discussion we settled on the Kawai GL-10 baby grand. This is an excellent choice for an early stage music program, offering a surprisingly big sound which fills its new home extremely competently. With the piano installed, tuned and ready to go, the discussions turned to the One&Only team’s vision for the magnificent performance space.
We learned the objective is to create a space in which promising performers can showcase their talent for the enjoyment of hotel guests and the advancement of their musical careers. The ideal would be to play a part in discovering fresh talent and assisting launching their local or international careers. This is not limited to professional performers; amateurs and students are welcome, if they are up to it.
From this first discussion of the music program, and through every subsequent discussion, we have been thoroughly impressed with the genuine interest shown by the One&Only to find and showcase up and coming South African piano talent. If more landmark venues showed a similar enthusiasm to support local music the industry would be in a fantastic position. Although focused initially on solo piano performers, the idea is to bring other performers into the space later.
Local pianists Francois Botha and his wife Yohan Chun were signed as the first regular performers on the new One&Only piano, to be joined later in the month by additional performers. The live music filling the space each evening has been very well received by guests and hotel management alike and we hope it is the start of great things to come.