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Thursday, November 29, 2012


(Bongani Tembe, KZNPO Chief Executive &Artistic Director)

At an impressive media function held on Tuesday evening at the Women’s Jail (now an impressive and inspirational museum) in Johannesburg, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO) released exciting news for next year.

The first good news is that the KZNPO will celebrate 30 years of musical excellence in 2013.

The second good news is that the KZNPO will celebrate this milestone with an impressive anniversary season featuring the Royal Concertgebouw’s first South African tour.

“We are very proud to be celebrating our 30th anniversary. The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans by presenting concerts of a high calibre and integrating music into the learning experience of our children.” says  .

In tribute to their 30 years, the 2013 programme will be punctuated by extra special highlights. The first of these, which takes place during the February/March Summer Symphony Season, is a South African tour by the Amsterdam-based Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO). This double anniversary celebration also honours the RCO’s 125th year, which will see them undertaking a world tour, visiting six continents in a single year – the only orchestra ever to do so.

The world-renowned RCO is currently rated by Gramophone magazine as the world’s greatest orchestra. Expressing his delight at hosting them, Tembe said: “It is a privilege to host the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on their first tour to South Africa. The RCO is undoubtedly one of the best orchestras in the world and are known for their unique sound. They will perform in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria. I am also pleased that the RCO will be participating in educational and community related work in Cape Town, Umlazi Township and Soweto.”

Jan Raes, Managing Director of the RCO, said: “We are delighted to be hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa, on our World Tour in celebration of 125 years. How appropriate that the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which has a reputation for achieving and delivering the highest level of quality at every performance, should be partnering with an orchestra whose quest for excellence and innovation has enabled them to be the first orchestra in South Africa’s democratic dispensation to distinguish themselves with a 30 year record.”

Raes added that the orchestra is looking forward to their time in South Africa as part of their world tour. “Both management and musicians approach their work with the goal of making every performance another opportunity to let listeners ‘hear the unhearable, feel the unfeelable and touch the untouchable’; and as a result, magic happens, and their concerts are a truly unforgettable experience. We look forward to delighting South African music lovers. ”

The KZN Philharmonic’s Summer Symphony Season 2013 has been designed to enhance the musical experience of all concert-goers. As the KZN Philharmonic continues to uphold their core goals of excellence, innovation and community engagement, Tembe is proud that “we also present concerts that highlight the cultural heritage of our country and over the years, our programmes have attracted people of all races and ages who come to our events just to enjoy themselves together as South Africans.” Stunning international soloists, reverberating local choirs, popular South African artists and a mix of the very best composers will form part of the offering through the six-week season, with a special concert for Valentine’s Day.

Since its inaugural concert in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on October 22, 1983, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra has contributed many stimulating experiences to diverse audiences nationally and internationally. 70 Fulltime professional musicians hail from over 20 countries including South Africa, the USA, Russia, Bulgaria, Norway, Germany, Italy and the UK. Widely regarded as Africa’s premier orchestra, the KZN Philharmonic has established itself as both a musical force to be reckoned with and as an ensemble willing to break down preconceived notions of what an orchestra should be; and, in celebrating this milestone, confirms its position on the map of South Africa’s cultural landscape, well into an exciting future.

For more information on the KZNPO’s 2013 programme and to stay up to date with current news, link to their website through the banner advert at the top of this page or visit