No under 13s

Purpur Festival

Sat Oct 9, 11:00 - Sat Oct 9, 18:00

Hoofstraat Conceptual



The Purpur Festival is an annual one day Cape Town event which programmes New Music alongside sound art, video, dance, theatre and other art forms. Because of Covid, the last Purpur Festival was held in January 2020, and this year it will take place in a rural environment on 9 October at Hoofstraat Conceptual in Riebeek Kasteel. By its very nature New Music is unconventional, challenging and conceptual – also transgressive in the sense that it is not strange to find the likes of conceptual artists Yoko Ono and Marcel Duchamp as some of the composers on the programme. 


Purpur has previously presented the work of Dadaists and Fluxus artists like La Monte Young and Kurt Schwitters. Now there’ll be a chance to hear Yoko Ono’s Four Pieces for Orchestra, a short text which provides the players with instructions for improvisation; or the now classic monumental graphic score Treatise – 200 pages of immaculately drawn abstract calligraphy by Cornelius Cardew, another source for improvisation by the musicians. And pieces like Robert Ashley’s In Memoriam … Esteban Gomez and Markus Trunk’s slightly  ajar – for any number of doors, sound and light sources also have a theatrical element, while some of the pieces will have their scores projected on a screen, as visual artworks in their own right even suggesting the participation of an audience. All works containing in one way or another the theme of this years festival: distance, intimacy, concealment. 


This seventh edition of the Purpur Festival showcases a variety of New Music compositions performed by South African and international performers. This year is no exception with performers Likhona Tokota, Garth Erasmus, Esther Marié Pauw, Wimien Wicomb, Visser Liebenberg, John Pringle, Michael Blake and Pierre-Henri Wicomb participating and performing works by South Africans Pierre-Henri Wicomb, Michael Blake, Miles Warrington, and Meryl van Noie, as well as composers from around the world: Markus Trunk, Robert Ashley, Jackson Mac Low, Tom Johnson and Cornelius Cardew. This year the guest performer is the acclaimed Swedish horn player Sören Hermansson who introduces recent works for horn and electronics written for him by Swedish composers Jenny Hettne, Marcus Fjellström and Fredrik Olofsson.


He also presents three cutting edge pieces from South Africa, including two world premieres: Michael Blake’s Ixilongo – isiXhosa for trumpet or horn – has the player duetting with himself in music based on a Xhosa scale, and accompanied by an offstage ensemble of twelve prerecorded horns and Miles Warrington’s Façade incorporating live electronics manipulating the horn sounds of Hermansson in real-time. He will revisit Pierre-Henri Wicomb’s Solecism for horn and soundtrack incorporating the recordings and altering of unorthodox playing techniques.


As has now become customary, the Purpur Festival is preceded by the Sterkfontein Composers Meeting, a forum where young composers get the opportunity to refine their own compositions with seasoned composers and international performers over the course of a week. These works are then performed at the Purpur Festival and we look forward eagerly to five new compositions for horn and live electronics by young South African composers, to be performed by Sören Hermansson who has become identified internationally with the medium of horn and electronics.




Purpur Festival
Hoofstraat Conceptual
52 Main St, Riebeeck Kasteel, 7307
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