For one night only, Durban audiences have the privilege of catching Guy Buttery’s new collaboration with The Odeion String Quartet at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on Monday 3 October.
Since 2011, renowned South African guitar player Guy Buttery has been working on a project that combines his virtuosic solo guitar playing and distinctly African musical voice with contemporary compositional techniques and arrangements combined with a String Quartet.
Having worked with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra in an associated project, this collaboration sets up the perfect platform to take Buttery’s intricate guitar-based compositions out of their solo guitar environment and re-contextualizes them in a contemporary symphonic setting.
Buttery has worked closely with arranger and composer Chris Letcher. Together they collaborated with the KZN Philharmonic in a performance was described as “a flawless synchronization of Africa and the West”. Based on this success, the team were immediately discussing how to take this project further. This unique pairing creates a world of opportunity for the strings and guitar operating as musical equals, and even at times as rivals, rather than simply as soloist and accompanying ensemble.
Buttery’s new project creates an enhanced musical interaction between contemporary ‘classical’ music and his own distinctive compositional style. Composing and arranging these two forces is what has been the driving force behind the project which ultimately brought this dynamic collaboration to life at the National Arts Festival in July 2016. Together with the work of Chris Letcher, the project brings a rich and uniquely South African score set amongst Western instrumentation. Each of the members of the quartet as well as Buttery on guitar and mbira, the African thumb piano, are treated as independent musical voices, creating unique string textures, polyphonic melodic lines and polyrhythms, rooted in Buttery’s adventurous musical style.
Based in Bloemfontein, The Odeion String Quartet is the ultimate “mini-orchestra”. Creating a myriad musical layers and colours, this collaboration stretches the possibilities of its known format and instrumentation. Performing a “best-of” of his collective works from the last 15 years along with brand new compositions unique to this project, Buttery relooks at the guitar and string quartet presentation and catapults it to new heights.
The Odeion String Quartet comprises Guy Buttery on acoustic guitar and mbira; Samson Diamon on first violin; Sharon de Kock on second violin; Jeanne Louise Moolman on viola; and Anmari van der Westhuisen on cello.
A sneak peak of their performance can be viewed below –
After sold out performances at this year’s National Arts Festival, Buttery teams up with The Odeion String Quartet for one night of magic at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at UKZN campus on Monday 3 October at 19.30.
For enquiries, you can contact the theatre on 031 260 2296 or Tickets are R120 each and can be purchased here.

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