PE Music Society fighting for classical music

PE Music Society president Dr Erika Bothma

Despite financial challenges, the Port Elizabeth Music Society is poised for a year with “wonderful artists both local and international”, starting on March 7 and continuing until November.

PEMS president Dr Erika Bothma said although last year was full of musical highlights and the society had a diverse programme planned this year, there were also increasing monetary pressures.

“We must fight for classical music – if we don’t do that it will die in this city,” she said this week. “The PE Music Society is now more than 75 years old and we are one of the few remaining societies that still goes on. There are many which have folded and do not run any more,” Bothma said.

“The 2018 concert series boasts wonderful artists both local and international, but it also brings many financial challenges.

“A new year requires good planning and adjustments to ensure that the organisation will still be strong and standing tall in 2020 to celebrate an 80th birthday,” she said.

The society has increased its fees this year and, as it costs the society in the region of R20 000 to bring one invited guest artist for a concert, it is hoping to explore new fundraising avenues.

“Our membership fees are just enough to cover the cost of two concerts per year,” said Bothma. The ticket prices, which were generally between R80 and R85, did not cover the expenses.

“We had a municipal grant in the past but the municipality took away our grant a few years ago.

“This year we have applied to the Rupert Foundation which supports classical music and we are holding thumbs that this will be successful. Then we can breathe for a little bit!”

Despite this, the society has a programme of eight concerts planned for the year, which include:

March 7: German-based string quartet Signum Quartet;

March 20: Luca Ciarla on violin and Antonino De Luca on accordion;

April 19: David Best on violin and Jose Dias on piano;

May 23: Antonio Pompa-Baldi on piano;

August 16: This concert will feature Port Elizabeth musicians;

September 3: Alissa Margulis on violin and Luis Magalhães on piano;

October 18: Peter Martens on cello with Bryan Wallick on piano; November 20: Bel Canto Ensemble. Bothma said the society welcomed new members and was looking at varying the content of concerts it offered to help attract a growing and diverse audience of classical music fans.

For further information on the PE Music Society, contact secretary Theresa Cunliffe on (041) 504-2250 or e-mail:

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