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G’town teen violinist to play with top Zurich orchestra

17 January 2013
Adrienne Carlisle

TEEN musical prodigy Tessa Campbell, from Kingswood College in Grahamstown, will be one of a select few young people to join the Zurich Chamber Orchestra’s (ZCO) tour of South Africa later this month.

World-famous conductor Sir Roger Norrington will lead the orchestra.

The young violinist, who has just turned 17, will join about 50 other young people from the South African National Youth Orchestra (Sanyo) to perform under the baton of Sir Roger with the ZCO. Last year, at the tender age of 16, Tessa was chosen to share first violin, first desk in the youth orchestra and led it in two pieces in its annual showcase concert in Johannesburg. She is one of the youngest musicians to achieve this honour.

Sanyo is widely regarded as the training ground for South Africa’s top classical musicians. It said on its website the aim of the tour was to combine South Africa’s top young talent with the internationally renowned ZKO where aspiring young musicians could rub shoulders with professionals and learn from the best.

“Generally it is impossible for great international orchestras to tour to South Africa, mainly due to financial considerations. Combining the [Zurich] orchestra with South African top young talent gives audiences the chance to hear excellent international musicians with some of the country’s finest young talent and creates an exciting environment for musicians and audiences alike.”

Expert instrument-specific panels auditioned hundreds of young musicians from South Africa to select the orchestra for the project.

Tessa said she was thrilled to be playing alongside some of the world’s finest musicians under the expertise of a conductor of Sir Roger’s calibre.

“I never expected to get this opportunity and it is unlikely that I will ever get to perform under someone like Sir Roger again. It truly is a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Tessa plays three instruments – timpani in the Kingswood Concert Band, violin in the Rhodes University Orchestra, and the piano. She was awarded honours for music at Kingswood College last year.

She also achieved a distinction for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’s Grade 8 violin exam in 2010 and a distinction for the Trinity Guildhall (London) Grade 8 piano exam in 2011.

Tessa was last year also chosen to participate in the National Artscape Competition in Cape Town. Only 30 musicians are chosen via countrywide auditions to participate.

Sir Roger will conduct the orchestra with celebrated South African clarinetist Robert Pickup as soloist in concerts in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Stellenbosch and Cape Town.

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