RIO HARP FESTIVAL: artist Kobie du Plessis
Kobie gives three solo recitals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as part of the RioHarp Festival
Kobie du Plessis was born in South Africa. At the moment she lives in Barcelona, Spain. She majored in harp at the University of Pretoria and was awarded scholarships for outstanding performance.
She toured South America as harp soloist with the South African Broadcasting Corporation Junior Orchestra. Kobie continued her studies with Ventura Rosenthal and Kathleen Alister and took master classes in Europe with international harp virtuosi including Edward Witsenburg, Susanna Mildonian and Daphne Boden.
Kobie has performed with most of the major symphony orchestras of South Africa, as well as making solo and duo recordings for the SABC, included on her previous CD (En Bateau – music for flute and harp, with flautist Corvin Matei). She also has extensive experience as a soloist and in chamber groups in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Catalonia, Spain.
Some of Kobie’s fondest harp memories include performing the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto as well as the Debussy Danses with various orchestras in South Africa. She played in the orchestras that accompanied Luciano Pavarotti (Stellenbosch, SA) and José Carreras (Segovia, Spain), and performed with Dutch harpist Edward Witsenburg, in Barcelona.
She loves performing concerts on three of her harps, the Celtic, Austrian Folk, and Concert harp to demonstrate the variety of sound effects and possibilities on the different instruments, as well as in duo with flute, cello, oboe and voice accompaniment.
Kobie has judged a harp competition in Vorarlberg, Austria, and gives regular recitals in Amsterdam,Salzburg, Munich, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Barcelona.
Apart from her family, Kobie’s main passions are performing and teaching on her different harps and arranging folk music from around the world for harp. She also enjoys reading, creative writing and nature.
Long History of Kobie, plus short summary of each year.
Kobie du Plessis was born in South Africa to parents who encouraged culture. Her father was English Inspector of Schools in the Orange Free State, and her mother was a painter who exhibited widely and also performed as singer.
Kobie started with the piano at the age of seven, and from the age of nine started winning awards and scholarships with the piano at Eisteddfods and music exams.
She started on the Celtic Harp when she was twelve years old. She also performed with this harp in the Free State Youth Woodwind Orchestra.
Kobie attended the University of Pretoria to study harp at the Conservatorium under Rosalind Dunbar (who studied in Belgium and Holland under Phia Berghout) where she majored in performance. In her third year she won the Pretorium Trust Scholarship for outstanding performance. During her studies, Kobie joined the SABC Junior Orchestra and twice accompanied them on tour to South America. She performed the Debussy Dances with the orchestra in the Teatro Solis in Montevideo (Uruguay) as well as in South Africa. She also performed with the South African Youth Orchestra.
After her studies Kobie took harp lessons with Kathleen Alister, doyenne of harp in South Africa. Kobie also started teaching piano and harp. After marrying Charl du Plessis, she moved to the Western Cape with her husband and started freelancing in the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra (CTSO) and Cape Performing Arts Board (CAPAB).
Kobie formed a duo, Syrinx Duo, with principal flautist of the CTSO at that time, Corvin Matei. Together they recorded a compact disc with classical music for flute and harp. Syrinx Duo performed the Mozart Concerto for Harp and Flute for the 25th Anniversary of the Free State Orchestra (PACOFS) as well as with the CTSO. They also broadcast with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
Kobie performed with various chamber music groups in the Western Cape. She also broadcast solo music for the SABC. She was frequently asked to free-lance in the Durban Orchestra and regularly performed solos with the Stellenbosch Chamber Orchestra.
While Kobie was free-lancing as first harpist for the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, she, together with the CTSO, accompanied Pavarotti when he performed in the Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Kobie taught harp for must of the time, especially the Celtic Harp, which was more readily available to students. She also taught her daughter Suemari first on the Celtic Harp and later on the Concert Harp. Her son Chris plays the violin. Kobie arranged many pieces for harp and violin for her two children. Later she formed a duo with a violinist, Roelof Swart, with whom she performed for four years.
Kobie started arranging light and contemporary music to for solo harp as well as duos with a flute or violin for the purpose of performing at special events such as weddings, at exhibitions etc.
In 2001 Kobie moved overseas with her family. They first lived in Holland, where she performed in Amsterdam for the Grachten Festival as representative of her country. She repeatedly performed for the South African Embassy in The Hague. Kobie also performed with local musicians and choirs near Maastricht, where she lived. After two and a half years the family moved to Barcelona.
In 2004 she returned to the Western Cape where she performed two concerti with a string orchestra. She gave five solo recitals and one concert with a singer.
In 2005 Kobie performed in a Chamber Music Group at the Liceu Theatre in Barcelona. She also received her mentor and world famous harpist Edward Witsenburg at her home. Together with Edward Witsenburg and Magdalena Barera Oro, Kobie partook in a three harps concert.
Between 2006 and 2009 Kobie gave duo concerts with Thekla von Dombois, oboist, Matthias Weinman, cellist, Magdalena Barera Oro, harpist, Michelle Frances, singer, in Barcelona, as well as solo recitals.
In 2009 Kobie was invited to judge a harp competition in Feldkirchen, Austria, as part of the Harfentage, in the Vorarlberg area,where she taught and performed with Austrian harpist Gertrud Kaufman.
In 2010 Kobie gave concerts in Cologne with oboist Thekla von Dombois and together they toured the Western Cape South Africa. Kobie gave concerts with Roelof Swart, violinist in Stellenbosch and performed a solo recital in Johannesburg for the South African Harp Society.
In 2011 Kobie gave solo recitals in Barcelona, and harp and flute concerts in Salzburg, Austria, with flautist Amanda du Pre.
In 2012 Kobie performed a series of concerts on three of her harps, commencing on 26 April for the Charities of the BWN. In October she performed harp and flute duo concerts with Iulian Gogu, in Barcelona and in November and December with Amanda du Pre in Salzburg and Vöcklabruck, Austria.
Recently Kobie developed an interest in arranging traditional music for the harp. Her latest interests are Celtic, South African, South America, Catalan and Spanish music. She has five harps, two Celtic, Austrian Folk and two Concert Harps. She likes to perform using one or a combination of her harps, which in combination with her diverse collection of music demonstrates all the different colors of the sounds of the harps.
In 2013 Kobie has arranged more traditional music from all over the world for harp, gave three harp concerts, taught, gave flute and harp recitals together with Iulian Gogu, flautist, and recorded her newest compact disc, which is music ranging from Baroque to Blues, for the harp, called The Magic of the Harp.
In 2014, January, Kobie has given a solo recital to celebrate the coming out of the solo cd, in the Helderberg Church in Somerset West, South Africa. After her return to Spain she gave a harp and flute recital in the MEAM arts museum in Barcelona, and is busy launching the cd in Spain with various concerts, commencing on the 16h of May in the St George´s Church, 24th of May in Museum the Modernisme, Barcelona, 4th of June in Casa Orlandai, 16h of June in German church of Barcelona, 23rd of August in MEAM, Barcelona. On August 30th Kobie has given a concert with violinist Roelof Swart in Gordons Bay, South Africa, and 7th of September followed a solo concert in Johannesburg for the South African Harp Society. Follow her Upcoming Concerts on her website for the rest of the year.......delightful flute and harp concerts....etc! She is also continuing her writing of traditional music for the harp, which she plans to publish in the near future.