May 15

SA symphony off to Germany

The National Youth Symphony Orchestra has been invited to Bonn, Germany, to participate in the 2006 Beethoven Festival.

The invitation to the South African body is to be part of the festival’s Youth Orchestras from World Regions project, which has seen orchestras from cities such as Beijing, Kiev, Istanbul and Krakow participating since the project began in 2001.

Begun in 1845 to mark the composer’s 75th birthday and held at infrequent intervals over the next 150 years, the Beethoven festival is now an annual event lasting some three weeks and presenting more than 50 concerts by top international orchestras, leading ensembles and prominent soloists.

About 1600 artists traditionally participate.

Faan Malan, director of the SA National Youth Orchestra Foundation, said the organisers came to South Africa in July to listen to the orchestra.

“We are delighted that they then confirmed a preliminary invitation offered earlier on hearsay and the strength of CDs,” he said.

“The orchestra will be chosen during the 2006 course which will be held in Cape Town from July 4-14 under the direction of Conrad van Alphen. The Lubner music awards will be held in the days before.

“Our aim is to maintain the core of the youth orchestra over a number of years.”

The orchestra will casino give a farewell performance in Johannesburg in early September prior to its participation in the Beethoven Festival from September 7 to 9.

Sasol has been a sponsor of this orchestra for 26 years.

The SA National Youth Orchestra Foundation will seek further funding, confident that corporates and other will see the benefits of showcasing South African talent across the rainbow nation to a discerning audience abroad.

Malan says the young musicians will not only perform, but have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s best musicians in concert and interact with musicians and teachers.

“The last time the NYO performed abroad was as part of the International Youth Orchestra which performed in Red Square in 1998,” he says.

The orchestra will perform a piece by a South African composer which is being commissioned by German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, a cello concerto with soloist J C Jacobs, the prize of overall winner of the Ronnie and Rhona Lubner Music Prize held during the 2005 National Youth Orchestra Foundation course in Bloemfontein, and a Beethoven symphony.