The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO) will be celebrating 125 years of outstanding musicianship by visiting six continents in its 2013 World Tour. Pretoria? Sold out. Cape Town? Almost. But there's still a way you can experience what critics in Gramophone Magazine called the greatest orchestra in the world.
The answer? Durban! Yes, there's more to this city than great weather and The Sharks. It's also home to the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO), which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. "The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture is proud to be associated with an organisation of this calibre," said Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation. "In South Africa, the word 'orchestra' has become synonymous with KwaZulu-Natal because this is the best orchestra in the country."
Jan Raes, MD of the RCO, is equally thrilled. "We are delighted to be hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in South Africa," he said. "How appropriate that the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which has a reputation for achieving and delivering the highest level of quality at every performance, should be partnering with an orchestra whose quest for excellence and innovation has enabled them to be the first orchestra in South Africa's democratic dispensation to distinguish themselves with a 30-year record."
More than 1000 albums
The Concertgebouw Orchestra was founded in 1888 and officially received the designation "Royal" by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands on its 100th anniversary. In addition to some 80 concerts performed at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the orchestra gives 40 concerts at leading concert halls throughout the world each year. All in all, the RCO's 120 performers now reach some 250 000 concert-goers a year, a number that is small in comparison to the extended exposure it receives thanks to regular radio and television broadcasts. (The orchestra has also made well over 1000 LP, CD, and DVD recordings to date, many of which have won international distinctions.)
The world tour, which consists of 48 concerts in 30 cities, includes the RCO's first trip to South Africa. Charles Dutoit, whose more than 200 recordings have received multiple awards and distinctions including two Grammys, will conduct and violinist Janine Jansen will be the soloist. On the programme are Johan Wagenaar's Overture Cyrano de Bergerac, Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, and Brahms's Symphony No. 1.
"Both management and musicians approach their work with the goal of making every performance another opportunity to let listeners hear the unhearable, feel the unfeelable, and touch the untouchable," Raes said. "That's when magic happens and a concert becomes a truly unforgettable experience. We look forward to delighting South African music lovers." And we certainly look forward to being delighted!
Eugene Yiga is a reformed accountant, now enjoying his time as a lifestyle and entertainment writer (and Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards board member) based in Cape Town, South Africa.
He also writes about personal development and is on a quest to read the 100 greatest books of all time before he turns 30.
You can contact Eugene by following @eugeneyiga on Twitter or by emailing to say, um, hello.
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