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Saturday, November 12, 2022


(Above: Conductor Marin Alsop. Photo Nelson Antoine)

Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, is preparing to embark on its first national tour.

The Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marin Alsop, embarks on its first national tour of South Africa next month. Commencing on December 15, 2022, they will tour many diverse South African communities, performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 - with accomplished soloists and local choirs.

The Orchestra has assembled a powerhouse line-up of musicians to perform this mighty work. Classical music superstar, Marin Alsop, is one of the most distinguished conductors of her generation, and the Orchestra’s Concert Master, South African violinist Pieter Schoeman, is also the Concert Master of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The soloists include renowned South African mezzo soprano, Michelle Breedt, who has performed in prestigious concert halls all over the world and talented bass baritone, Msimelelo Mbali, who is making a mark in Europe’s operatic world, and will appear at the English National Opera in the 2022/23 season.

The tour will also feature dynamic local choirs such as the Gauteng Choristers, Tshwane University of Technology Choir, Mzansi Chorale, and the New Apostolic Church Choir.

The three-city tour will take place on: December 15 at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg; December 17 at The Playhouse in Durban; December 21 at Cape Town’s City Hall. “Through our varied and inclusive programmes, the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra is committed to transforming lives and bringing people together through the power of music.

“Bringing together excellent South African musicians under the direction of a legendary conductor, such as Marin Alsop, is a great honour. I have no doubt that people who come into contact with our work will experience the high artistic quality, vitality, and commitment, which characterizes Mzansi NPO”, says Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Mzansi National Philharmonic.

Conductor Marin Alsop said she is “looking forward to conducting the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra in December this year, in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. I have had the privilege of performing all over the world but performing in a three-city tour of South Africa is a first for me — and I could not be more excited. I love what the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra is doing, not just in their country, but also further afield. Music and the arts have a unique power to elevate society, and I appreciate how this Orchestra is intent not only on achieving the highest artistic goals, but also take their responsibility to the community seriously.

”Beethoven’s 9th Symphony will be played as you’ve never heard it before. Its themes are universal - marked by tolerance, unity and joy - aligning with the ideals of Nelson Mandela and the concept of Ubuntu. The choice of Beethoven’s 9th is very appropriate for an Orchestra ushering in a new era.”

Popularly known as ‘The Choral Symphony’, it is the final masterpiece in the composer’s symphonic oeuvre. Culminating in one of the most beloved of all melodies, The Ode to Joy, it is regarded by many critics and musicologists the world over as Beethoven's greatest work, and one of the supreme achievements in the history of music.

Pieter Schoeman, the Orchestra’s concertmaster, is delighted to lead South Africa’s best and diverse orchestral musicians in the Mzansi Philharmonic’s first-ever national tour of South Africa. “I couldn’t ask for a better homecoming than Beethoven’s 9th Symphony - it promises to be the kind of concert that we’ll still be talking about for many years to come.”

The Mzansi NPO was officially launched earlier this year as part of an initiative of the South African National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, in order to broaden the orchestral experience of the country, transform the orchestral sector, and utilise this Orchestra to brand South Africa positively around the world. Its mission includes the funding of regional and youth orchestras, and the artistic planning committee is finalising the funding process, with recipients to be announced before the end of the year.

Among the Orchestra’s prime initiatives is supporting young, up-and-coming musicians, studying both locally and internationally, as well as reaching out to provinces without their own professional orchestras.

An objective of the Orchestra is to partner with South African artists who have made a name on the international stage, returning to give back to their homeland. Justice Leona Theron, Chairperson of the board of directors of Mzansi National Philharmonic, said: “After months of planning, we are thrilled that the Mzansi Philharmonic’s inaugural national tour is finally upon us. We are excited to welcome our friends to share the stage with us as we step into a new era. As we raise this new banner together, I have no doubt that we will experience a level of excellence, artistry, and inclusivity that we have only glimpsed before.”

Tickets for the concerts on the Mzansi Philharmonic’s tour are available through Quicket. For enquiries, contact