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Wednesday, July 10, 2013


The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, widely regarded as Africa’s premier orchestra, is celebrating the France South Africa Season 2013 by touring to France.

Intrinsic to the ethos of the Orchestra is their commitment to excellence, innovation and community engagement.

The South African Season in France, under the patronage of President Jacob Zuma and President François Hollande, and led by the national Department of Arts and Culture, is a tribute to the struggle for freedom and choice of reconciliation over racial division. From May to December, 2013, the French public has an opportunity to appreciate South Africa today – a young thriving democracy that continues to heal the wounds of past oppression and every day consolidates its position among the emerging countries. The Season, consisting of 240 projects happening in more than 100 cities across France, features more than 1,000 South Africans. These participants represent a broad range of categories including arts, culture, sport, education, economy, gastronomy, tourism, business and many more.

Bongani Tembe, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the KZN Philharmonic, said: ‘One of the joys of being South African is the celebration of diversity in our country. It portrays our ability to accept and grow from the differences amongst our fellow country folk and to find the common threads that unify us. The Orchestra’s tour to France demonstrates the power of music to bring nations together to enjoy themselves, whilst branding our city, our province and our country positively around the world.’

The Orchestra’s first stop is in Marseille to participate in Le Festival Musique Interdites. On July 11, in the landmark Prefecture inner court, they perform an adaptation of Meyerowitz’s opera The Barrier versus Le Mulatre. Frenchman Nicolas Cavallier sings the lead role of Captain Norwood with South Africans Kelebogile Boikanyo, Nobulumko Mngxekeza (both sopranos), Mandisinde Mbuyazwe and Aubrey Lodewyk (baritones) in supporting roles. Tickets are available on

Also at the Prefecture, on July 13, the KZN Philharmonic presents a free community concert themed around humankind and representing various parts of the world and its civilisations. It opens with Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and includes excerpts of traditional and classical pieces, as well as opera pieces and an African drummer. The soloists are Aubrey Lodewyk, Derick Ellis and Nozuko Teto. Johan Farjot will be at the podium for both concerts. He also conducted the closing ceremony concert in the Durban City Hall of the France South Africa Season 2012.

The orchestra then moves to Paris for the memorable concert on Place de la Republique on July 18 at 21.45 – the Nelson Mandela International Day Concert – forming part of the Paris Quartier d’ete. Conducted by Laurent Petitgirard and with praise poet Melusi Kubheka, the programme features the overture and other excerpts from Ushaka KaSenzangakhona composed by Milikazi Khumalo as well as excerpts from P L van Dijk’s Mandela Trilogy. Yvonne Chaka Chaka makes a special appearance and the Clermont Community Choir from Durban provides the choral components. Also featured in the programme are Verdi’s La Forza del Destino Overture, Ipi Ntombi Medley and African Suite. This free concert will last for 67 minutes – one minute for every year of Mr. Mandela’s public service – and is a gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards inspiring change in honour of Mr Mandela.