Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival launches an eclectic programme.
30 June to 9 July at Endler Hall, Stellenbosch University Conservatorium.

The widely anticipated 2023 Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (SICMF) will run from 30 June to 9 July in the Endler Hall at the Stellenbosch University Conservatorium.

With over 250 participants already enrolled, the 2023 SICMF promises 10 days of magical music-making for participants and faculty alike. The format of the festival is jam-packed with orchestral rehearsals, chamber music coachings, lecture-interviews, student chamber music concerts, faculty concerts and public master classes, all of which culminates on the last three days with concerts featuring the Festival Symphony and Festival Concert Orchestras.

This year, a special focus on women musicians includes the Festival Symphony Orchestra’s first female conductor, Rebecca Tong, alongside further members of a star-studded faculty, including a number of new internationally acclaimed artists as well as much loved household names from previous editions of the SICMF.

Nina Schumann, Artistic Director of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, has released the programme for this year’s SICMF faculty concerts. As with previous years, the much-anticipated programme has something special for every music lover.

The opening concert on 30 June will begin with Bach’s Goldberg Variations in a beautiful arrangement for string trio played by Andrey Baranov (violin), Jennifer Stumm (viola) and David Cohen (cello).

Other well-known highlights include Mendelssohn’s String Quintet no 1, Weber’s virtuoso quintet for clarinet and strings featuring star clarinetist from the USA, YaoGuang Zhai, Schubert’s sublime quintet for strings in C, and Rachmaninoff’s momentous Trio Élégiaque with faculty artists, Nicolas Dautricourt (violin), Boris Andrianov (cello) and Anastasia Markina (piano).

For those who enjoy hearing repertoire from somewhat off the beaten track, Taneyev’s piano quartet, Raff’s octet for strings, Vaughan Williams’ piano quintet and Jolivet’s second trumpet concerto featuring soloist Marco Silva will certainly whet the appetite.

New music includes Matthijs van Dijk’s concerto for violin (David Bester) and uhadi (Dizu Plaatjies), and Allison Loggins-Hill’s Hammers for flute and percussion trio with Demarre McGill (flute) and Jauvon Giliam (percussion). This year’s commissioned work by New York based SA composer Mikhaila Alyssa Smith is a collaboration with jazz singer and songwriter Tina Schouw – a musical depiction of Schouw’s life and work. Nina Schumann says, “Although Schouw’s activism takes center stage, an engaging creative process by two women of colour from different generations has resulted in a synergy of profound significance.”

This year`s special focus on women in music is evident, not only in the number of prominent female instrumentalists on the SICMF faculty, but also in the composer and narrator of the aforementioned work that will receive its world-premiere on Monday 3 July. The SICMF has for several years used the platform to give a voice to anti-apartheid activists, Desmond Tutu and Denis Goldberg amongst them, and this year’s commission featuring the life and work of Tina Schouw will be no different.

One musical profession in which women are still very underrepresented is that of conducting. The recent box office hit film, Tár, highlights the challenges of women in this profession succinctly. The SICMF has invited Rebecca Tong, one of very few women conductors to conduct the Festival Symphony Orchestra that will perform on Friday and Sunday, 7 and 9 July respectively.

Student chamber music concerts will take place every day at 13:00 and 17:00. Likhona Tokota, a bursary winner who has attended the SICMF as a student participant several times says, “I am looking forward to making music with very talented and passionate musicians, to learn a ton and yet again leave the festival extremely inspired!”

The coveted evening concerts take place every day at 20:00 from 30 June to 8 July. The final concert on 9 July begins at 16:30.

There are options for tickets for individual concerts as well as full festival passes. More information about the full packages: