Alexander Johnson's Ni' Concerto (1994) - Concerto no. 1 for Piano and Orchestra: a Discussion of Influences from Africa, Eastern and Western Europe
Description: In the new generation of artists emerging in South Africa, Alexander Johnson is considered the most prolific young composer of his day. In a recent review in the Pretoria News, Johnson has been praised by eminent critic Paul Boekkooi as a composer who has “an ear for the exotic and knows exactly how to bring it off....” He continued by noting that his music is “mentally engrossing, pleasurable to the senses and seems refreshingly free from dogmatic formulas." Johnson writes for musicians and the general public to equal satisfaction. His accessible compositions and catching use of melodic materials have made his writings very popular both in South Africa and abroad. During his residency in Belgrade in 1993-94, Johnson met Croatian pianist Dorian Leljak. Impressed with Johnson's compositional ideas and output, Leljak commissioned a work from Johnson for piano and orchestra. The result was the Ni Concerto, which Johnson completed in April 1994. The world premiere took place on June 23, 1994 with the Ni Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Anatoli Nowiestski with Dorian Leljak as soloist. The Ni Concerto received its South African premiere in 1995 during a simultaneous celebration for “Europe Day” and the new democracy of the Republic of South Africa. The Delegation of the European Commission of South Africa sponsored the celebration, which took place in the Aula Auditorium on the campus of the University of Pretoria. The performers included the Artium Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dutch-born Prof. Henk Temmingh and Johnson himself as piano soloist.
Date: August 2001
Creator: Malan, Petronel