national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, May 21, 2023



(Pics by Val Adamson)

The Playhouse Opera: Thursdays from June 8 to 19, 2023.

The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2023 World Winter Symphony Season, featuring a superb line-up of international and local talent, runs in The Playhouse Opera every Thursday from June 8 to 19, each World Symphony Series concert starting at 19h00.

“We are delighted to link up once again with our loyal community of music lovers for our four-concert Winter Symphony Season,” says Bongani Tembe, KZN Philharmonic’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. “As ever, we have honoured the longstanding traditions of our World Symphony Series, by assembling a guest roster of A-list artists, who join our dedicated orchestral musicians to bring our audience hours of musical enrichment. The season goes hand-in-glove with our commitment to community engagement and skills transfer among new-generation artists and learners.”

Anna Sułkowska-Migoń, the brilliant young Polish conductor who won last year’s prestigious La Maestra competition in Paris, opens the season with her superbly curated programme with Gustav Mahler’s Blumine, which first appeared as the second movement of his first symphony. After three performances the composer removed it. Originally written as part of incidental music for a play by von Scheffel, it evokes lovers exchanging their tender feelings in the stillness of night. At the time, Mahler, infatuated with a blonde soprano Johanna Richter, described it as a "love-episode." This charming curtain opener is perfectly matched by Chausson’s delightful Poème for Violin and Orchestra, a graceful debut vehicle to introduce our opening concert’s soloist, the gifted young Dutch violinist, Rosanne Philippens to audience. Ms Philippens remains the spotlight to perform Sarasate’s flamboyant Zigeunerweisen. Mendelssohn’s much-loved Symphony No 3 ‘Scottish’, makes for a rousing second half to the evening’s musical fare.

The renowned Japanese maestro Yasuo Shinozaki makes a welcome return to the podium for the second concert on June 15. He opens his programme with one of the world’s concert warhorses, Vltava from Smetana’s Má vlast (My Fatherland). Vltava, one of the world’s most graphically descriptive works, evokes the mighty Moldau River in all its tumultuous energy and majesty. The dazzling young Bulgarian virtuoso Emmanuel Ivanov, winner of the Busoni Piano Competition, takes centre stage to perform Rachmaninoff’s iconic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as the evening’s centrepiece. The second half of the evening is given over to one of the world’s most lavishly exotic music creations, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade, based on the eastern fable of Arabian Nights. 

Daniel Boico takes the podium for the third concert on June 22. Boico opens with Liszt’s First Mephisto Waltz known for its passion, sensuality, and powerful emotional impact. Liszt’s ferociously taxing Piano Concerto No I is the evening centrepiece, showcasing the virtuosic prowess of North Korea’s keyboard wizard, Yeon-Min. The evening closes in an uplifting mood with Dvořák joyous Symphony No. 8, cheery and lyrical ethos draws its inspiration from the Bohemian folk music the composer loved.

Conductor Lykele Temmingh brings the curtain down on the KZN Philharmonic’s Winter Season with a programme that is bookended by two concert favourites, while offering listeners a rare encounter of a major composition by his brother, the renowned South African composer, Roelof Temmingh. Beethoven’s rugged Egmont Overture needs no introduction as the evening’s curtain raiser. The ‘discovery’ of the evening is Roelof Temmingh’s exquisitely scored Clarinet Concerto expressly written for Maria du Toit, South Africa’s foremost clarinettist of her generation. The programme closes with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, ‘Winter Dreams’ as a touching and appropriate final salute to the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra’s Winter season audience.

KZN Philharmonic Season tickets, and bookings for individual concerts, are available at Quicket outlets.

There will be Tea and Symphony concerts for the final rehearsal every Thursday morning at 10h00 in the Playhouse Opera. Tickets R50 (R30 pensioners and R30 children 5 years and older)

The bars are no longer open at the Playhouse; however, tea and coffee can be purchased prior to concerts and during interval.

For more information call 031-369 9438, email or visit


To link directly to the KZNPO’s website, click on the advert at the top right hand of this page.