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Thursday, December 2, 2010


National Arts Festival signs KZNPO for three years

Africa's premier orchestra, the Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Arts Festival have entered into a three-year agreement that will see the Durban-based orchestra travel to Grahamstown to perform at each of the next three Festivals.

“We are proud of the KZNPO’s tradition of excellence,” said Festival Director Ismail Mahomed. “They have won many accolades from music critics and audiences alike. Its live performances as well as its comprehensive education and development initiatives, complements our mission to stage excellent work and to create enriching opportunities for audiences and artists.”

Since its inaugural concert held in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall in 1983, the KZNPO has positioned itself as a leading South African orchestra with its World Symphony Series subscription concerts setting national attendance records. Similarly the Festival, now heading towards its 38th year, has established itself as one of the world’s three biggest arts gatherings, recording attendance in 2010 of just over 180 000, and a platform that has launched the careers of hundreds of young artists.

The KZNPO is led by its charismatic Artistic Director and CEO Bongani Tembe who has received international recognition as one of Africa’s leading arts administrators. The KZNPO is a not-for-profit orchestra dedicated to building new audiences for serious and popular music.

At the annual National Arts Festival, the KZNPO will present the Symphony Concert and a concert of more popular music, as well as accompany the annual ballet production. In addition, aspirant musicians will be given opportunities to engage and learn from professional musicians through a series of workshops that will be included in the Festival’s education programmes.

“In addition to presenting world class performances at the Festival, we would like to capitalise on the KZNPO’s experience as South African forerunners in bringing orchestral music to newer audiences by giving participants in our workshops the opportunity to learn some conducting skills, ask questions and share their own artistic experiences,” added Ismail Mahomed. “In this way, we bring to life the common vision between the Festival and the KZNPO, aimed at giving a greater number of South Africans the opportunity to experience and enjoy orchestral music.”

The KZNPO will travel to Grahamstown in June 2011 to take part in the Festival, which runs from June 30 to July 10.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The Eastern Cape Government, The National Arts Council, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, The Sunday Independent and M-Net.