In a leafy suburb of Cape Town, luthier Brian Lisus embarked on a remarkable journey that fused music, collaboration, and charity. Inspired by the joint Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in 1993, Lisus conceived the idea of creating a quartet of instruments to honour these Nobel laureates, along with Albert Luthuli and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. After years of setbacks, Lisus finally found funding to bring his vision to life, resulting in the birth of the Quartet of Peace.
The Quartet of Peace quickly grew beyond the making of four instruments. Lisus collaborated with an international network of musicians and facilitators, organising a series of charity concerts to showcase the quartet's melodic power. With the help of London-based South African composer Eugene Skeef, the inaugural concert took place at Kings Place in London. The quartet, comprising David Juritz, Peter Martens, Suzanne Martens, and Gareth Lubbe, all talented South African musicians, was quickly assembled.
Following the success of the initial concert, more performances were scheduled at prestigious venues, including the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch, Leipzig's St. Thomas Church, and Picasso's former studio in Paris. The program featured pieces by Mozart, Ravel, and Bach, alongside Skeef's composition, Uxolo, meaning forgiveness in Zulu and Xhosa. The concerts supported various charities, including Musequality and Peace Strings, bringing music projects and the joy of music to underprivileged children.
Creating the Quartet of Peace was an experimental endeavour for Lisus, as he had never made a quartet before. Embracing the spirit of collaboration, one of Lisus's students assisted with the instrument's making, and jeweller Sharon Peddie crafted the scrolls. Lisus's instinctive approach to violin making, relying on his visual ability and a focus on achieving a warm and sweet quality, resulted in unique instruments that possessed their own identities.
Each instrument in the quartet carries a different inscription on the back: 'Freedom,' 'Peace,' 'Reconciliation,' and 'Hope.' These inscriptions reflect the essence of the Nobel laureates they honour and serve as a testament to their enduring legacies. The quartet's distinct appearances perfectly align with their dedication to four extraordinary personalities.
The Quartet of Peace exemplifies the power of music to transcend boundaries and promote reconciliation. Brian Lisus's unwavering dedication, along with the collaborative efforts of musicians and facilitators, has created a project that combines artistry, philanthropy, and the universal language of music. As the quartet travels the world, it not only resonates with the harmonies it produces but also serves as a symbol of hope, peace, and unity in a world that greatly needs them.
You can read the full article of 'A luthier's tribute to Nelson Mandela' on https://www.thestrad.com/a-luthiers-tribute-to-nelson-mandela/232.article