Chamber music festival's a blast for Jesse

Thursday, 11 July, 2013
Trombonist Jesse Williams (20) of Strandfontein is one of 10 up-and-coming musicians from the Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (CPYO) being given the chance to learn from some of the best in the business this week.
He and his fellow young classical musicians are part of an initiative, funded by the Distell Foundation, to expose emerging talent to top musicians currently performing in the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival (SICMF) that ends on Sunday (July 14).

They are performing with leading professionals and attending workshops with Weston Sprott, trombonist with the Metropolitan Opera NY, amongst others, to hone their talents and inspire them to aim even higher.

Jesse is the principal trombone player for the Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble, principle bass trombone player for the CPYO and an ad-hoc member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO). He is also a CPO Music Academy conductor student under multi-instrumentalist, Brandon Phillips.

The other nine CPYO musicians sponsored by the Distell Foundation include Michael de Kock (trombone), Didi Didlof (bass), Dillon Mohamed (violin), Lynn Rudolph (violin), Megan Thebus (bass), Shannon Thebus (horn), Andrea Esau (oboe), Jeffrey Armstrong (violin) and Zoë Adonis (violin).

Distell Foundation's Irma Albers says this is one of several projects the company supports to build the next generation of South Africa's classical musicians.

"The foundation has been supporting the SICMF since its inception in 2003. It also funds a wide range of other music development initiatives including the CPO’s outreach and education programme, the annual Youth Classical & Jazz Festivals in collaboration with Artscape and the CPO, Cape Town Opera Vocal Ensemble, the Arts & Culture Trust ImpACT Award for Music & Singing, Nederburg New Stars Concerts and the New Music Indaba to name a few," says Albers.

The Distell Foundation’s next funding cycle opens on November 1 and concludes on February 28, 2014 for projects taking place between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Applications can be sent to

For more information on the CPO and CPYO, visit, or go to for more on the SICMF. To see what CPYO musicians are up to and to connect with them, visit For more information on Distell's corporate social responsibility initiatives, go to