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The Cape Town Concert Series 2024 presents acclaimed oboist James Austin Smith in collaboration with pianist Luis Magalhaes, with a programme titled “Fantasy and Metamorphosis” featuring works by Clara Schumann, Brahms, Still, Nielsen, Britten and Saint-Saens.

A chamber musician, curator and on-stage host praised for his “virtuosic,” “dazzling,” and “brilliant” performances (New York Times) and his “bold, keen sound” (New Yorker), James Austin Smith is driven by the communicative nature of live performance. He appears regularly at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, leading national and international chamber music festivals, at Carnegie Hall and on tour as Co-Principal Oboe of the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and as an artist of the International Contemporary Ensemble. is a member of the Manhattan School of Music and State University of New York at Purchase faculties.

Luis Magalhaes is no stranger to Cape Town audiences, both as soloist and chamber musician.  In October 2022, Luis was appointed Artist in Residence at Theatro Circo, Braga – Portugal and he will be returning to Portugal from June 2024 to continue his musical projects.  It is with some sadness that this concert will be his final recital as a ‘local’ pianist.

The concert takes place in the Baxter Concert Hall at 11am. As always the Baxter restaurant and bar is open before and after the concert for refreshments

Tickets are available at Webtickets.  R250 regular, R220 pensioner, R100 student

About the Programme: Fantasy and Metamorphosis
William Grant Still (1895-1978) Incantation and Dance for Oboe and Piano
Clara Schumann (1819-1896) Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22 (trans. for oboe)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Selections from Four Piano Pieces, Op. 119
Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) Two Fantasy Pieces for Oboe and Piano
Marina Dranishnikova (1929-1994) Poem for Oboe and Piano
Five Metamorphoses after Ovid for Solo Oboe
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Helen Grime (b. 1981), Leilehua Lanzilotti (b. 1983)
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Op. 166

You can read more about the programme here where  Albert Combrink takes you Inside the Concert James Austin Smith


Performer, curator and on-stage host, James Austin Smith “proves that an oboist can have an adventurous solo career.” (New Yorker). Praised for his “virtuosic,” “dazzling,” and “brilliant” performances (New York Times), Smith appears regularly at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City and at leading national and international chamber music festivals, at Carnegie Hall and on tour as Co-Principal Oboe of the conductor-less Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and as an artist of the International Contemporary Ensemble.

As Artistic and Executive Director of Tertulia Chamber Music Smith creates intimate evenings of food, drink, and music designed to engage audiences hungry for singular cultural experiences in New York, San Francisco and Serenbe, Georgia, as well as an annual weekend festival of food and music in a variety of global destinations. He serves as Artistic Advisor to Coast Live Music, a new home for chamber music in the San Francisco Bay Area. He mentors graduate-level musicians as a professor of oboe and chamber music at Stony Brook University and the Manhattan School of Music, and as a regular guest at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

In the fall of 2023 Smith presented Hearing Memory, an evening of performance, story-telling and archival film footage documenting a clutch of politically engaged musicians in the former East Germany. Describing the event in the New Yorker, Alex Ross wrote, “no less virtuosic was Smith’s running commentary on the East German context. His deployment of videos, including some of musical discussions that he had found in television archives, gave the evening the feeling of a live documentary. For any young performer seeking an alternative to the usual walk-out-and-play routines, this impeccable event could serve as a model.”

In 2024 Smith joins the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for two national tours, appears as soloist with the Cape Town, Johannesburg and Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestras, and in recital across South Africa with pianist Luis Magalhães. He presents a weekend festival of music and food in Berlin, Germany with Tertulia Chamber Music, as well as a slate of specially-curated events in New York, San Francisco and Serenbe, Georgia, and joins violinist Livia Sohn in launching Coast Live Music in the hills above Silicon Valley. Summer festival appearances include Music@Menlo, the Bridgehampton and Portland Chamber Music Festivals, as well as Bay Chamber Concerts; together with oboist Christian Wetzel he presents Hearing Memory in Cologne, Germany, in New York City and at Stony Brook University.

James Austin Smith holds a master’s degree from the Yale School of Music and bachelor’s degrees in political science and music from Northwestern University. He spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Conservatory in Leipzig, Germany, and is an alum of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. Born in New York and raised in Connecticut, Smith’s principal teachers are Stephen Taylor, Christian Wetzel, Humbert Lucarelli, and Ray Still.

Described as possessing a “wonderfully full sound” (American Record Guide) and a “polished, refined technique” (Allmusic.com), Luis Magalhães has achieved critical acclaim as both a soloist and a chamber musician. Born in Portugal and currently residing in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Luis’s career as a pianist displays the cosmopolitanism typical of successful 21st century musicianship. Luis has played extensively across Europe with recent engagements in Germany, Austria, his native Portugal, Switzerland, amongst others. Beyond Europe, he has appeared on stages in Brazil, South Africa, China, Japan, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and on numerous occasions, the United States. Reflecting his eminence as an artist of global standing, Luis was bestowed the honour of being named a Yamaha International Artist.

Luis is active as a studio musician, and has collaborated with many remarkable recording artists including Frank Stadler (violin), Daniel Rowland (violin), Madeline Adkins (violin), Priya Mitchell (violin), Gareth Lubbe (viola), Julian Arp (cello) Peter Martens (cello), and James Austin Smith (oboe). The recording with Martens, featuring the complete cello sonatas of L. v. Beethoven, was awarded a coveted South African Music Award (SAMA) in 2011, while both violin recordings have received glowing reviews in The Strad. From 2000 to 2021 he formed part of TwoPianists Piano Duo and released four critically acclaimed CDs. This collaboration with the pianist Nina Schumann has been compared to the celebrated Ashkenazy-Previn and Argerich-Freire duos (American Record Guide). Furthermore, he has engaged in more frequent duo collaboration with the violinist Alissa Margulis rendering rave reviews.

Luis’s further activities in the recording industry include the co-founding of the independent label TwoPianists Records. The result has been both local and international accolades, such as a German Record Critic’s Award in 2011. Luis’s immersion in the world of classical music recording has extended to the role of producer, to which he brings a wealth of experience as a practicing musician of the highest calibre. As a promoter of classical music in South Africa, Luis is a co-founder of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, which has since 2004 become the premier classical music festival on African soil. He is also a co-founder of the biannual Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium. In October 2022, Luis was appointed Artist in Residence at Theatro Circo, Braga – Portugal and he will be returning to Portugal from June 2024 to continue his musical projects.

Eminent musicianship always leaves a legacy in the form of tuition. Luis himself was a student of maestro Vladimir Viardo at the University of North Texas. He has since gone to teach students who have scooped up major awards and placings in National and International competitions. Luis was awarded a Doctorate in Music in Piano Performance from the University of Cape Town in 2011, and continued his association with university musical life with his appointment to an Associate Professorship at the University of Stellenbosch until June 2024. Luis has also given extensive masterclass tuition including lessons at New York’s fabled Juilliard School and numerous universities across Europe, Asia and the United States. As an expert pianist and educator, Luis has also served in the jury of many competitions including the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition for Young Musicians.