Saturday 19 October 18:00

David Bester, Violin
James Grace, Guitar

Award-winning violinist and senior lecturer in violin and viola at Nelson Mandela University David Bester joins forces with leading South African-based guitarist and three-time SAMA nominee James Grace in From Paganini to Piazzolla.

Making their Brooklyn Theatre debut as a duo, Bester and Grace blend the sounds of bowed and plucked strings together in an exciting programme offering a dazzling display of virtuosity and refined musicianship.

In addition to featuring original works for violin and guitar by Italian composers Paganini and Giuliani, the programme also includes a strong Latin element with Piazzolla’s L’Histoire du Tango (History of the Tango) and a selection of works by other South American composers.

Don’t miss From Paganini to Piazzolla!

Ticket sales:

Saturday, 19 October 18:00

Block A (Adult) - R290   Block B (Adult) - R200
Block A Senior(60+) / Student(21-) - R240   Block B Senior(60+) / Student(21-) - R160


Brooklyn Theatre (012 460 6033)
Greenlyn Village Centre
C/o Thomas Edison and 13th Streets
Menlo Park

David Bester

David Bester, senior lecturer in violin and viola at Nelson Mandela University, is a performer with a passion for research in string pedagogy. As soloist, he has performed with the Stellenbosch Camerata, the Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng Philharmonic and Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestras and plays regularly as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Namur and the Amici Quartet.

After obtaining his BMus (cum laude) and MMus (cum laude) in music performance from Stellenbosch University under Suzanne Martens, David furthered his studies in Belgium. There, he obtained a second MMus (cum laude) from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp under the tutelage of Alissa Margulis. His studies abroad were made possible by a generous grant from the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (2015-2017), National Art’s Council of South Africa (2016), as well as the Oranje-bursary awarded to David by the Dutch Consulate in Antwerp in 2017.

During the course of his studies, David received master classes from acclaimed violinists Pavel Vernikov, Ivry Gitlis, Barnabás Kelemen, Ilya Gringolts, Priya Mtichell, Daniel Rowland, Frank Stadler, and Jan Repko. He has also had the opportunity to work closely alongside inspiring musicians such as Pinchas Zukerman, Benjamin Schmid, Joshua Bell, and Leila Josefowicz.

David won the string category of the ATKV Muziq competition and was a finalist in the Stellenbosch International Study Bursary competition in 2015. He has also been the recipient of the Mabel Quick Bursary (2014), Hans Endler Prize (2012-2014), SAMRO Bursary (2011 and 2013), Graham Beck Bursary (2010), and the Stellenbosch University Merit Bursary (2011-2015).

In 2018, David founded the Nelson Mandela University String Ensemble (NMUSE) which gives string students the opportunity to work closely alongside professional musicians. This ensemble has already given three successful concerts in their first year. In 2018, David was awarded the Nelson Mandela University Arts Faculty’s Creative Output Award for 2017.

James Grace

Recently described by local media as a ‘South African icon’, James Grace is one of South Africa’s leading concert artists, having appeared with all the major South African orchestras and at every arts festival. James’s concert schedule frequently takes him throughout Southern Africa, Europe and the U.A.E.

Born in England in 1978, James immigrated with his family to South Africa at the age of ten. Beginning guitar lessons in his seventh year, James continued his studies with the late Dietrich Wagner, Professor of guitar at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape.

Subsequently James studied at the Royal College of Music in London as a Foundation Scholar with Carlos Bonell. Upon graduating he became the first guitarist in the history of the College to receive the Tagore Gold Medal, an annual award presented to the most outstanding student.

After spending two years in Doha, in the Arabian State of Qatar where he taught guitar at an International Music Centre, James returned to South Africa and was appointed Head of Classical Guitar Studies at the University of Cape Town’s College of Music.

A career highlight was the South African premier performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto Madrigal for two guitars with Jonathan Crossley and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alessandro Crudele in 2012.

More recently James performed Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and visiting Dutch conductor Arjan Tien to over 6000 people at the Kirstenbosch 2017 Summer Concert Series, where ‘Grace’s fingers danced… as if possessed by a demon’ (Rudolph Mare, whatsonincapetown.com).

As an entrepreneur and concert promoter, James often hosts and collaborates with visiting artists, most recently having organized and performed a nationwide tour with Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanksi in 2018.

James’s 2017 album, Chilled, produced under the banner of his independently owned and operated record label, Stringwise Records, received a South African Music Award nomination (SAMA). Two of his previous CDs Sevilla – Music of Spain II and Café Latino both topped the Classic FM Top 20 South African Charts and earned James SAMA nominations for Best Popular Classical Album and Best Instrumental Album respectively.

James released his seventh solo studio album Andaluza – Music of Spain III in January 2019.