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Friday, February 3, 2012


(Sir Roger Norrington conducting the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, courtesy of the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation)

Each year Sasol sponsors orchestra courses that attract top-quality musicians from across the country. This year the National Youth Orchestra Foundation has two programmes to apply for, and several young musicians may be lucky enough to perform under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington.

A leading light on the classical music scene for almost 50 years, Sir Roger Norrington will conduct the Zurich Chamber Orchestra with celebrated South African clarinettist Robert Pickup as soloist in Johannesburg and Cape Town in January 2013. In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, selected members of the South African National Youth Orchestra will join them on their tour.

Sir Roger is an expert in historically informed orchestral playing, in which he seeks to put modern players in touch with the historical style of the music they are performing. He has built up a reputation with this approach, his breakthrough coming with London Classical Players in the 1980s.

A frequent guest with many of the world's major orchestras, he is now principal conductor of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, one of the leading ensembles of its kind.

Over close on half a century the South African National Youth Orchestra has hosted courses, concerts and tours that have changed the lives of scores of our young musicians, many of whom have excelled as performers and teachers in South Africa and abroad.

Last year, at the culmination of the Sasol National Youth Orchestra Course in Johannesburg, the NYO performed Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as narrator.

The programmes that can be applied for include a symphony orchestra course in June in Johannesburg as well as an advanced strings course and wind band course in December in Cape Town.

Auditions for all programmes will be held in February, and applications can be made online at or by sending an SMS to 083 272 2117 with the applicant's name, location and instrument. Musicians wishing to apply should be between the ages of 13 and 25 and play an orchestral instrument at at least Grade 6 music level. Selected members of the South African National Youth Orchestra (SA NYO) from 2012 will perform alongside the Zurich Chamber Orchestra on their tour.