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Friday, November 7, 2008


KZN Philharmonic closes its celebration of 25 years of music excellence with right royal ending.

The expansive music epic cantata, Shaka KaSenzangakhona, which is based on the dramatic story of the Zulu King uShaka KaSenzangakhona has been chosen as the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s World Symphony Spring Season finale to take place with a host of soloists and choirs, in the Durban City Hall on November 13

“Ending the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s 25th birthday season with uShaka KaSenzangakhona - a rousing and watershed South African work feels entirely appropriate, particularly as we are utilising this concert to also recognise many distinguished South Africans who have also celebrated their birthday milestones recently: These include former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu who turned 90, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who turned 80 and His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelethini who turned 60,” says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the KZNPO.

Composed by respected South African composer, arranger and choral director Professor Emeritus of African Languages, Prof J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo, the concert is conducted by US born and SA-based conductor, Robert Maxym, who did the orchestration of this majestic piece.

The narrator is Prof Themba Msimang, a Professor of African Languages at the University of South Africa.

Fellow academics, Msimang and Khumalo, found they shared an interest in the history of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu Empire. Their separate research into the life and times of King Shaka resulted in an unlikely product - a musical collaboration between the two. Ultimately librettist Themba Msimang wrote an epic narrative on King Shaka from the Zulu perspective, which composer Mzilikazi Khumalo set to music.

Soloists featured are the distinguished South African and Juilliard trained soprano Linda Bukhosini who has performed at prestigious concert halls around the world; Tina Mene - the accomplished mezzo-soprano who appeared recently at the International Society for the Performing Arts Congress at the Playhouse in Durban; Themba Mkhwani - the charismatic tenor who is a TV personality and Musa Ngquwana - the highly gifted bass baritone who is currently finishing his studies at the University of Cape Town Opera School.

Three powerful choirs comprising 150 voices will also be on stage: the national choral competition champions - the African Chorus and SA Singers who will be joined by the Durban Symphonic Choir - the mainstay of Durban choirs.

Ushaka KaSenzangakhona, an epic in music and poetry on Shaka, son of Senzangakhona is a delicate blend of Zulu and European elements and it is sung in isiZulu. This work looks at the life of King Shaka in four distinct parts: his birth; his youth; his reign and victories and finally, his death.

The concert starts at 19h30 in the Durban City Hall. Booking is at Computicket on 083 915 8000 or visit

Friends of Music will hold their regular pre-concert lecture at 18h00 in the Royal Hotel.

Patrons are reminded that parking is available at the Royal Hotel Parking Garage and security guards are stationed between the garage and the City Hall.