Based in the city of Durban and the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra is widely regarded as Africa’s premier orchestra. Consisting of 70 fulltime professional musicians who come from more than 20 countries, the Orchestra has, over the past 30 years, earned a reputation for excellence and innovation amongst South African orchestras.
A strong vision of high artistic values combined with a comprehensive education and community engagement programme has been fostered by Mr Bongani Tembe, a Juilliard School graduate, who joined the Orchestra in 1994 at the dawn of South Africa’s democracy.
Each year the Orchestra produces three symphony seasons which have featured many eminent international artists such as Zubin Mehta, Renée Fleming, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir James Galway, Pinchas Zukerman, Shlomo Mintz, Vadim Repin, Joanna MacGregor, Lynn Harrell, Natalya Gutman, Andrey Boreyko, Simon Estes, Elizabeth Connell, Katia Ricciarelli, Sarah Chang and Joshua Bell, plus the cream of South African artists.
The KZN Philharmonic’s dynamic approach to its responsibilities in Education and Community Engagement has resulted in the growth of one of South Africa’s most vibrant community-centred programmes. These endeavours encompass arts exposure, skills training and performance opportunities that contribute to the ongoing sustainability and growth of this art form in South Africa. It also ensures that thousands of school children are reached annually through school concerts, in addition to the numerous community concerts and rural residency programmes.
The Orchestra is committed to harnessing South African talent and providing a career path for young musicians through programmes such as the National Cadetship Programme.