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Monday, August 6, 2018


(Clermont Community Choir with
Wiseman Mkhize – CEO Clermont Choir Foundation)

The Clermont Community Choir will open the concert of the acclaimed American Minnesota Orchestra, for the Durban leg of the orchestra’s five-city tour of South Africa at the Durban City Hall on Sunday (August 12, 2018).

Conducted by Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä, the tour marks the first-ever visit to South Africa by a professional U.S. orchestra.

A highlight of the tour will be a piece specially commissioned as a tribute to Mandela by Classical Movements. World-acclaimed composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen was commissioned to write a new work featuring soprano Goitsemang Lehobye which premiered in Minneapolis a few days ago and was an astonishing success.

The Orchestra is about to travel to South Africa to perform in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, as well as at the historic Regina Mundi Roman Catholic Church in Soweto.

To open the concert in Durban, the city’s own Clermont Community Choir will be performing a specially curated programme of local indigenous works as a counter-point to the pieces to be performed by Minnesota, and to continue the theme of celebrating Madiba during the centenary year commemorations. The programme to be performed by Minnesota includes Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Bernstein’s Candide Overture and Sibelius’s En Saga.

Classical Movements President Neeta Helms said, “After working in South Africa since 1994, Classical Movements is very grateful that one of the top orchestras in the United States will make this historic, first-ever tour to South Africa. It is an enormous undertaking and a statement of the importance of Africa and the growth of orchestral music in this most choral of countries. This dynamic and visionary Orchestra is exactly the right musical ambassador to pave the way for others to follow.”

The Minnesota Orchestra will participate in a variety of additional education projects with young musicians as part of their tour. While in Durban, the orchestra will be working closely with the KZN Youth Wind Band whose members come from all of the province – from Empangeni to Pietermaritzburg. Just over half of the KZNYWB members come from disadvantaged communities and have their transport, tuition and touring fees covered through bursaries from the Durban Music School and Department of Arts & Culture. KZNYWB musicians also come from a number of schools around Durban.

On Sunday morning, August 12, the entire KZNYWB will play for Osmo Vänskä the celebrated conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra as well as several Minnesota musicians. They will play a selection of pieces from their repertoire. After that the KZNYWB will split up by sections, with a representative from the Minnesota Orchestra taking a section –The Minnesota Musicians will share their years of professional experience with tips and master classes. Later on that day, the entire KZNYWB will attend the Durban concert as guests of the Minnesota Orchestra. 

There are still tickets to the Minnesota concert - prices range from R100 to R600 and bookings can be done through Computicket at For more information, visit

Further performances take place as follows:
City Hall, Cape Town (August 10, 2018, at 20h00);
Aula Theatre, University of Pretoria, Pretoria (August 16, 2018, at 19h30)
Regina Mundi Roman Catholic Church, Soweto (August 17, 2018, at 19h00)
City Hall, Johannesburg (August 18, 2018, at 15h00)