Music to our ears: the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is back



The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra will perform symphonies of greats such as Mozart and Mendelssohn. Photo: Supplied


When spring was ushered in, we also received the good news that President Cyril Ramaphosa was relaxing some of the Covid-19 lockdown regulations. This meant that social events such as concerts could take place.

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra wasted no time, and on October 28 and November 4, the orchestra will bless our ears at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg.

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is a staple of fine symphonic concerts and this time will feature highly acclaimed international and South African artists.

Audiences are hungry for live music and expect the same standard we are known for, which produces world-class symphonic music.

Bongani Tembe

#Trending spoke with Artistic Director and CEO of Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras, Bongani Tembe, who invited some of South Africa’s best artists and conductors from around the world to participate.

“The public is hungry for live music, and they expect the same standard we’re known for, which produces world-class symphonic music,” Tembe said.


Bongani Tembe, artistic director of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, is delighted to resume performing. Photo: provided

The program sees the return of famous Israeli-American conductor Daniel Boico, who is also the acting artistic director of the Free State Symphony Orchestra in Bloemfontein. Described as dynamic and imaginative, the conductor will give the first concert with award-winning Russian pianist Georgy Tchaidze.

The second concert, under the direction of famous German conductor Justus Frantz, features South Korean soloist Ye-Eun Choi, one of the world’s most requested violinists who has been described by the Meta Music Academy as a “violinist defined by her dynamic sound, rich in a vibrant timbre, sensitivity and nuances”.

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The second program opens with Mozart’s Overture Les Noces de Figaro. It will be followed by Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and will end with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, also known as Heroic.

“The musicians are thrilled to be performing live again and are in great shape, playing with finesse and sophistication,” Tembe said. During the various levels of containment, the orchestra continued to produce virtual performances, but watching the philharmonic live is a treat.

Marco borggrève

Award-winning pianist Georgy Tchaidze, critically acclaimed, will perform in the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Rehearsals are still going on and Tembe says the orchestra is striving to be in top shape.

“Our business is really about bringing people of all races and ages together and putting together an inspiring program. We did this with the Special Spring Concerts program, which includes fantastic concertos and popular symphonies. As the live concerts also depend on the Covid-19 situation, we don’t know how long the live concert opportunity will remain, so we are seizing it now. “

To remain within the Covid-19 restrictions, seating will be limited and members of the public will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

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