Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s revival hits all the right notes

Bongani Tembe. supplied
Bongani Tembe. supplied

“All music is important, and all art is important,” says Bongani Tembe, chief executive and artistic director of the newly revived Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tembe said South Africa needed to make an effort to teach discipline to young musicians to help reignite the country’s talent.

He emphasised the fact that the orchestra now boasted a new brand identity and a diverse board of directors chaired by Justice Dikgang Moseneke and comprising credible business and respected community leaders.

“I’m excited about the relaunch of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the new resources which will allow us to share music with a broader audience.

“Our vision is based on the affirmation of the value and transformative power of music to inspire, engage and build connections among diverse communities,” said Tembe.

He said they had planned a new season of four weeks of concerts between October and November that is meant to enrich the cultural life of the citizens of Johannesburg.

“It will also contribute to nation-building and aims to meaningfully contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all communities in Gauteng.” Justice Moseneke added.

Tembe said a special concert programme featuring the internationally renowned virtuoso pianist Olga Kern as the soloist has been organised at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Linder Auditorium in Parktown on August 23 and 24.

The orchestra will be conducted by Roderick Cox, the newly appointed associate conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra.

The organisation was relaunched at the Johannesburg stock exchange (JSE) with a revitalised vision this week in front of potential investors and supporters. He didn’t want to talk much about the past – in 2012 the orchestra experienced serious financial crises that almost bankrupted the institution.

He said he just joined the orchestra two years ago and was not there during the unfortunate chapter, but admitted that it had to undergo business rescue. It now has sponsorship from different sources.

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