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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and the UNISA Music Foundation have agreed to form a partnership spanning the next three years.

This will include the Orchestra accompanying UNISA’s national and international music competitions as well as mutually beneficial commitments to fostering music education and development in South Africa.

The UNISA International Music Competitions were established in 1982 to create an opportunity for promising young musicians in the classical music tradition to be discovered, recognised and financially supported. It also creates an opportunity for local competitors to participate and gain international experience. To date, the competitions have focused on piano, strings, voice and organ soloists. In 2014, for the first time, the competition featured flute and clarinet. 65 applications were received from 57 countries. 27 competitors were selected, ranging in age from 20-28, and drawn from twelve countries including South Africa. Prize money totals approximately R1 million.

Mr Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Orchestra says, “The KZN Philharmonic’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. It is no coincidence that the UNISA Music Foundation has invited our orchestra to accompany the finalists in their prestigious competitions.”

Widely regarded as Africa’s premier orchestra the KZN Philharmonic has established itself as a musical force to be reckoned with and as an ensemble willing to break down preconceived notions of what an orchestra should be.

2013, the Orchestra’s 30th anniversary year, proved to be a milestone of achievements highlighted by presenting the globally-renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from Amsterdam on their first African tour; hosting Durban and Johannesburg symphony concerts with one of the world’s great violinists, Sarah Chang; a busy residency at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, followed by a tour to Marseille and Paris, France with a concert on 18 July in tribute to former President Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. The final honour was the privilege of performing at Mandela’s funeral in Qunu.

Equally important is the KZN Philharmonic’s commitment to furthering the cause of classical music in South Africa. Throughout the year the musicians perform educational concerts and community engagement programmes which expose more than 25,000 urban, township and rural learners to the delights of music. In their commitment to nurturing talent, the KZN Philharmonic’s National Cadetship Programme has produced over 30 accomplished young musicians who work as professionals around South Africa and the world.

Under the baton of British conductor Julian Clayton, the KZN Philharmonic performed its first association with UNISA Music Foundation at the first UNISA International Flute & Clarinet Competition on February 14 and 15.