SICMF 2023 – A Celebration of Women


Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival

30 June to 9 July at Endler Hall, Stellenbosch University Conservatorium

This year, a special focus on the musical talents of extraordinary women will be the main theme of the festival.

SICMF has invited Rebecca Tong, one of very few up-and-coming international women conductors to conduct the Festival Symphony Orchestra that will perform on 7 and 9 July respectively. Since winning the First, ARTE and Orchestra Prizes at the inaugural La Maestra conducting competition in 2020, Tong has conducted the Orchestre de Paris, Tampere Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto, Orchestre national de Lyon and Manchester Camerata amongst others. Born in Indonesia, Tong is Resident Conductor of Jakarta Simfonia Orchestra and Artistic Director and Music Director of Ensemble Kontempore.

The concert on 4 July will open with a world premiere by New York based SA composer Mikhaila Alyssa Smith. Smith has written extensively for film and television, supplying scores and orchestration for productions by Netflix, Disney, HBO and PBS. Lighting our Stories: Tapestries of the Invisible is a collaboration with jazz singer and songwriter Tina Schouw – a musical depiction of Schouw’s life and work, in particular, her experiences and personal journey during South Africa’s the transition to democracy.

Allison Loggins-Hull is also a USA based female composer who has written for a variety of media, from television and film to radio and the concert stage. Her piece Hammers for the unlikely combination of flute and percussion will also be performed on 4 July by Demarre McGill (flute) and Jauvon Gilliam (percussion).

Other high- profile women artists on the faculty include our two top local violinists, Suzanne Martens and Farida Bacharova. Acclaimed violinists and violists from abroad include Gwendolyn Masin, Jennifer Stumm, Frederieke Saeijs, and Karolina Errera. In the brass department, Stellenbosch University is represented by French horn pedagogue Pamela Kierman. In the piano division, the international award winning pianist, Anastasia Markina, will be performing Rachmaninoff’s grand Trio Élégiac on 3 July and Grieg’s much loved piano concerto with the Festival Concert Orchestra on 8 July.

Of special significance is the woman whose brainchild the SICMF is. Nina Schumann, the artistic Director of the SICMF needs no introduction to South African audiences. Schumann deserves credit for the amazing line-up of artists as well as the spectacular programmes. She will be performing herself on 1 July (Vaughan Williams piano quintet) and on 5 July (Taneyev piano quartet).

And amongst the 150 or so women in the student participant body is Colette Brand, who will be attending with her string quartet. Brand says, “As a female string quartet based in Switzerland, the Eleas Quartet is building up a versatile repertoire which ranges from classical to jazz to contemporary music. We are very excited to make music together with the international artists and the South African students at the SICMF and are eager to see what the festival has to offer.”

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. Tickets and additional programme details are available at Webtickets.

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

Follow the link to buy your tickets via Webtickets:

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The full lineup of festival artists can be found at: