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Thursday, August 1, 2019


(Das Bundesjugendorchester, Bonn 2018. Photo by Selina Pfruener)

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra is delighted to host a one-off public-holiday afternoon concert featuring the astonishing 90-strong Bundesjugendorchester (BJO) / National Youth Orchestra of Germany in the Durban City Hall on August 9, as the first concert of their nation-wide South African tour.

Conductor Alexander Shelley is bringing the BJO on tour to South Africa to mark the youth orchestra’s 50th anniversary. The concert, on August 9, is being presented by the KZN Philharmonic in collaboration with MIAGI (Music is a Great Investment).

“We are delighted to be hosting the BJO. It is so exciting to have some of the next generation’s most promising young musicians performing in our city. It perfectly complements our extensive youth initiatives and Young Performers Project. I urge all young aspiring musicians, as well as our loyal audiences to come and be inspired!” enthuses KZN Philharmonic’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Bongani Tembe.

(Right: Msaki)

Soloist for the concert is South African songstress Msaki - singer, songwriter and composer from East London - known for her soulful folk. She delivers her music in raw fashion, while telling gentle stories of love, loss, home, revolution and hope.

The National Youth Orchestra of the Federal Republic of Germany (BJO) is based in Bonn and features accomplished young musicians between the ages of 14 and 19 years old. Their repertory programme comprises classical and romantic orchestral music and new works by composers such as Hans Werner Henze and Karl Amadeus Hartmann. They have also performed world premieres by among others, Peter Ruzicka and Bernd Franke, and high-profile international showcase concerts such as sharing the stage with Sting in 2010.

The young musicians qualify for membership by auditioning in front of a jury. The orchestra works under the guidance of private teachers, including members of the Berlin Philharmonic and their respective conductor. Many former members now play in professional orchestras and have become well-known soloists.

(Left: Conductor Alexander Shelley. Photo by Thomas Dagg)

The concert will be under the baton of Alexander Shelley - one of the most exciting conductors on the international podium today. Born in London in October 1979, Shelley is the son of celebrated concert pianists, studied cello and conducting in Germany. In August 2017 he concluded his tenure as Chief Conductor of the N├╝rnberger Symphoniker, a position he held since September 2009. In January 2015 he assumed the role of Principal Associate Conductor of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he curates an annual series of concerts at Cadogan Hall. He is also Music Director of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and tours both nationally and internationally.

On the programme is Walton’s Johannesburg Festive Overture; Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Three Sangoma Songs; A Symphonic Picture – a 1942 album arranged by George Gershwin’s good friend Robert Russell Bennett which includes most of the best known songs from the Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess; and the cheery, almost pastoral Symphony No. 2 by Brahms.

The tour of Das Bundesjugendorchester is generously supported by the Foreign Office of Government of the Federal Republic of Germany

The concert takes place in the Durban City Hall at 16h00 on August 9, 2019.

This stand-alone concert takes place just before the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO) opens its four-concert 2019 Spring Season, which runs in the Durban City Hall every Thursday from August 22 until September 15, each concert starting at 19h30.

Tickets for both the BJO concert and the KZN Philharmonic’s World Symphony Series 2019 Spring Season are available through Computicket. Call 0861 915 8000 or book online at

For more information visit, email or call 031-369 9438 (office hours) or click on the orchestra’s advert at the top of this page.

The full BJO SA tour details are:
9.08.2019 Durban City Hall
12.08.2019 Soweto, Morris Isaacson Center for Music
13.08.2019 Pretoria, University of Pretoria
14.08.2019 Stellenbosch, Spier Estate
15.08.2019 Cape Town City Hall:  opening CPO’s Aug–Sept Symphony Season
16.08.2019 Khayelitsha