Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on tour, South African June 2023  

Johannesburg | Pretoria |  Soweto | Cape Town | Makhanda

June 15 – 24, 2023    



Thursday June 15, 2023, 19h00 | University of Pretoria, Aula Theatre | Program I


Saturday June 17, 2023, 18h00 | Regina Mundi RC Church | Program II
AfrikaRiz Choir will open this concert  


Sunday, June18  2023, 15h00 | Linder Auditorium | Program II  


Tuesday June 20, 2023, 19h00 | Cape Town City Hall | Program II
Wednesday June 21, 2023, 19h00 | Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre | Program I  


Friday, June 23, 2023, 19h00 | National Arts Festival, Guy Butler Theatre | Program I
Saturday,  June 24, 2023, 11h00 | National Arts Festival, Children’s Concert at the Fountain Foyer |  A mixed program      


For details of the programme- see booking link

Exciting news is that Classical Movements is presenting the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra tour, to South Africa. The conductor of the BPYO is the renowned Benjamin Zander. The SA tour is taking place from 15-24 June 2023. This fantastic 19-day, multi-city tour, includes seven collaborative concerts in Pretoria, Soweto, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Makhanda [The National Arts Festival]. Collaborating with the BYO, from South Africa: The Gauteng Choristers, AfrikaRiz Choir, Sidwell Mhlongo (conductor), Andiswa Makana (soprano) and Bongiwe Nakani Mcetywa (mezzo soprano). In addition to the concerts, there are events, parades and interactions with youth groups in communities and schools, across South Africa. The promoter of the tour is Classical Movements – the premier concert tour company for the world’s great orchestras and choirs – which creates meaningful cultural experiences through music in 145 countries. There is an easy one-click link for booking: Read on for more: Info as supplied:


Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on tour, South African June 2023

In review after review, critics praise the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) for upending expectations, citing a musical maturity that belies the performers’ tender ages. Undeniably true, yet a strong argument could be made that the BPYO excels not in spite of, but because of their youth. They bring a vitality, enthusiasm, and delight in discovery that only those experiencing something for the first time can produce. Think the powerful impact of first love.

“Their sound is more consistently fresh and energetic than what you usually hear from a long-standing professional ensemble… They’re as responsive, confident, technically skilled, and emotionally expressive an orchestra as they come,” Arts Fuse music critic Jonathan Blumhofer wrote. The Chicago Tribune hailed the group’s inaugural recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 on Brattle Media as one of 2017’s top 10 classical releases. New York Arts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Lloyd Schwartz called it “one of the most thrilling Mahler performances I’ve ever heard.”

In June, this 120-member orchestra of talented musicians ranging from age 12 to 21, led by its co-founder and guiding force Benjamin Zander, embarks on a 19-day, multi-city tour, performing seven collaborative concerts in Pretoria, Soweto, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Makhanda.

Beyond the concerts, a focal point of the tour will be the many interactions and side-by-side collaborationswith local ensembles and musicians around the country, including the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and the Hugo Lambrechts Symphony Orchestra. On June16,  the BPYO will participate in Youth Day Celebrations and a street parade in Soweto with the Field Band Foundation and on June 17, 30 BPYO musicians will meet and play with the Morris Isaacson Music Center in Soweto.

On June 19, they will have a joyous session of music making with over 200 South African and Americans musicians playing together from the BPYO and Settlers High School Orchestra, Bellville High School Symphonic Wind Band, DF Malan High School Wind Band, Fairbairn College, Westerford High School Symphony Orchestra, San Souci and Rustenburg Girls High Schools and Rondebosch Boys High School in Cape Town. 

Classical Movements is presenting the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on this South African tour.

Special thanks go to our partners: Richard Cock Enterprises, the Johannesburg Musical Society, the University of Pretoria, and the National Arts Festival. 

About the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

The Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) was formed in 2012 under the auspices of the Boston Philharmonic. Conducted by Benjamin Zander, the BPYO’s motto is “Shaping Future Leaders Through Music.” The BPYO’s 120 enthusiastic and talented young musicians range in age from 12 to 21, affording younger members of the orchestra the chance to collaborate with older students who are beginning their professional careers. In turn, collegiate members of the group are offered the opportunity to nurture and coach the future generations.

The BPYO offers a unique opportunity for young instrumentalists who want to study great orchestral repertoire in a musically dynamic and intellectually challenging community. BPYO members are asked not only to master their parts in order to gain a deep understanding of the musical score (including through regular sectional rehearsals led by top professionals from the Boston musical community), but also to engage in dialogue with Mr. Zander through weekly “white sheets”, sheets of paper where they are encouraged to share their thoughts on all aspects of the music and the rehearsal process. These conversations lead to stimulating discussions on personal leadership and often initiate ongoing individual conversations with Mr. Zander through email, phone calls, and conversations at rehearsals, creating a unique mentoring relationship between Mr. Zander and each musician.

In its inaugural 2012-13 season, the BPYO performed two concerts to sold-out audiences in Boston’s Symphony Hall and undertook a wildly successful five-city tour of The Netherlands, culminating in a performance of Mahler’s Second Symphony in Amsterdam’s acclaimed Concertgebouw. Six months later, in December 2013, the BPYO performed at Carnegie Hall, receiving high praise in The New York Times for their “brilliantly played, fervently felt account.” Subsequent tours included: an 18-day tour featuring concerts in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland, including performances in the Prague Rudolfinum, the Philharmonie of Berlin, and the KKL of Luzern in 2015: six concerts in Spain in 2016; performances and outreach activities in Peru, Uruguay, and Argentina in 2017; eight concerts in Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and The Netherlands, including performances in the Prague Rudolfinum, Budapest National Concert Hall, Vienna Musikverein, and Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2018; an eight-city tour to Brazil, and a six-city tour to Greece in 2022. The orchestra plans to tour South Africa in June of 2023. In 2019 they were named “Best Classical Music Ensemble” by Boston Magazine. Each international engagement has been met with top critical approval and has led to the formation of life-long bonds between the orchestra and the musical cultures of the various host countries.

The BPYO has released three highly acclaimed commercial recordings: Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 2013, and Mahler Symphonies No. 6 and No. 9, recorded live at Symphony Hall in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The BPYO’s many musical and personal growth opportunities cultivate exceptionally skilled musicians, who become respected and acclaimed leaders in music and in their communities. WBUR classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz, formerly of The Boston Phoenix, once said, “I wish more professional orchestras played as thrillingly as this.”

About Benjamin Zander

For the past 50 years, Benjamin Zander has occupied a unique place as a master teacher, deeply insightful and probing interpreter, and as a profound source of inspiration for audiences, students, professional musicians, corporate leaders, politicians, and more. He has persistently engaged well-informed musical and public intellectuals in a quest for insight and understanding into the western musical canon and the underlying spiritual, social, and political issues that inspired its creation.

Zander founded the Boston Philharmonic in 1978 and has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras around the world. His performances have inspired thousands of musicians, renewed their sense of idealism, and shed fresh, insightful, and sometimes provocative light on the interpretation of the central symphonic repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries. Critics and the public have been united in their praise of Zander’s interpretations of the central repertory.

For 25 years, Zander has enjoyed a unique relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, recording a series of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies. High Fidelity named the recording of Mahler’s 6th as ‘the best classical recording’ of 2002; the 3rd was awarded ‘Critic’s Choice’ by the German Record Critics’ Award Association; the Mahler 9th, Mahler 2nd, and Bruckner 5th recordings were nominated for Grammy awards.

In 2012, Zander founded the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO), which draws young musicians from the entire northeastern US to its weekly rehearsals and high-profile performances in Boston. This tuition-free orchestra tours regularly, and has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, and the Berlin Philharmonie, among others. In the Summer of 2017 the BPYO toured South America and Europe in 2018.

From 1965-2012, Zander was on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), where he taught Musical Interpretation, and conducted the Youth Philharmonic and Conservatory orchestras. He was the founding Artistic Director of the NEC’s joint program with The Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. Zander led the NEC Youth Philharmonic on fifteen international tours and made several documentaries for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). His interpretation class, “Interpretations of Music: Lessons for Life,” is being presented this season in partnership with the Boston Public Library once a month at the Central Library in Copley Square. They are free and open to the public, as well as made available online where they are viewed by tens of thousands of people around the world.

Benjamin Zander’s motivational prowess has become legendary both through his TED talk, with over 16 million views, and his best seller “The Art of Possibility,” written with his former wife Rosamund Zander. In March of 2018, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra launched the Benjamin Zander Center, a website repository for the polymath conductor’s recordings, videos, master classes, speeches, writings and interviews, many available here for the first time.

About Gauteng Choristers

The Gauteng Choristers, a choir based in the Gauteng region, has developed into one of the cornerstones of choral and classical music of our time.

Formed in 1998, they have won numerous awards over the years, including being crowned national champions for the Old Mutual/Telkom National Choir Festival in 2006 and 2001 (Standard Category), second in 2004 (Large Category) and 2000 and third in 2007 and 1999.

They also made history in 2007, when they toured Europe performing ‘Porgy ‘n Bess’, becoming the first South African choir to perform an opera in Europe.

During 2006, besides winning all the major national music competitions in South Africa, the Gauteng Choristers took part in the Opera Extravaganza that took place at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg. The choir not only enjoyed a successful concert but also recorded a CD and DVD called 8 Years of Musical Excellence.

The Gauteng Choristers takes the development of young choristers very seriously. Many of the choristers are studying music at institutions such as the University of Cape Town, Hartford University (USA), Pretoria Technikon and others are undergoing professional instruction under the auspices of the Black Tie Ensemble.

Sidwell Mhlongo started conducting at age 16 when he took the Mosupatsela Senior Secondary School Choir to the Provincial music competitions under the guidance of an excellent musician and teacher Mrs D Molete. In 1991, he became the conductor of the Kagiso Youth Choir.

His musical career took a steep up-turn when he joined the State Theatre opera chorus. There he performed in various opera choruses including: Lucia di Lammemoor, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Porgy & Bess, Rigoletto, Buchuland, Don Giovanni, AIDA, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci. He also belonged to the State Theatre Philharmonic Choir where he performed the Requiem Mass by W.A Mozart, Ein Deutches Requiem Mass by J Brahms and the St John’s Passion by JS Bach. He made his debut as a professional soloist when he was offered to sing the part of Samuel in the world premiere of the opera Buchuland composed by L Temmingh in 1998. He was also invited to perform as a tenor soloist in Port Elizabeth by the Hospice through recommendation by the State Theatre.

In 2000 he was recruited to conduct Gauteng Choristers, which he led to the Championship crown in the National Choir Festival Finals in 2001, 2006 & 2009; 3-times National Champion of the SA Post Office Eisteddfod; 9-time Gauteng Provincial Champion for National Choir Festival. Champion of various other provincial competitions. He has also led Gauteng Choristers through 9 successful performances of Prof JZM Khumalo’s epic cantata, uShaka, in 6 European countries in 2004 and in 2 performances of the same work in Chicago (Ravinia Festival) in 2006. As a result of the successful performances of uShaka in Europe, Gauteng Choristers were invited to perform a concert version of the opera Porgy & Bess by G. Gershwin in Switzerland, Netherlands and in Italy in August 2007. He conducted Philip Miller’s REwind Cantata for Voice & Tape at the Market Theatre (Johannesburg) in 2008, at the Royal Albert Hall (London) in 2010 and at the Baxter Theatre (Cape Town for Cape Town Opera) in 2011.  

He conducted Gauteng Choristers & Johannesbug Philharmonic Orchestra in the performance of J Haydn’s Creation as part of the worldwide Bi-Centenary celebrations of J Haydn in 2009. In 2011, he was appointed the chorus master of Winnie, The Opera, composed by Bongani Ndodana which was performed at the State Theatre in Pretoria.

He has adjudicated in different levels of various eisteddfods, eg, school choirs, church choirs, community choirs & police choirs up to national finals.

About Bongiwe Nakani Mcetywa – Mezzo Soprano

Originally from Ladyfrere in the Eastern Cape. Bongiwe grew up in the informal settlement of Khayelitsha, Cape Town (Site C)

Her interest in singing started at the age of 7, accompanying her sister to choir rehearsals and choral competitions. It was only in high school that she first became exposed to Opera music through solo performances at the well-known Tirisano Eisteddfod School Choir Competitions where she received first prize awards for three consecutive years. In 2009 Bongiwe enrolled for a Performer’s Diploma in Opera at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town.

Further awards followed: 2nd prize winner in the Shock Foundation singing competition for 3 years, from 2011-2013. 2nd Prize in the 2012 Amazwi Omzansi singing competition. A Finalist in the 2012 ATKV singing competition, 3rd prize winner in the 2015 Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition held in Germany, a semifinalist in the 2016 Operalia International Singing Competition held in Mexico, semifinalists in the 2017 Belvedere International Singing Competition held in Latvia. A finalist and audience prize winner in the 2016 Deborah Voigt International Singing Competition held in Florida.

At the Neue Stimmen Competition she met the Wiener Staatsoper CEO Dominic Meyer who invited her to join the Staatsoper Ensemble for the 2016/17 season. This life-changing experience was ultimately renewed to 2020 and gave her the opportunity to perform alongside Anna Netrebko, Placido Domingo, Jonas Kaufmann to name a few.

From her debut performances as Rosina in Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, Marchesa Malibea in Il Vaggio a Reims, Elizabeth 1st in Maria Stuarda for Cape Town Opera with the SA College of Music. Her career has taken her beyond the Staatsoper Ensemble to roles including Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Marthe in Faust, Emillie in Ottelo, Erda in Siegfried, Schwertlite in Walkure to name a few in one of the greatest opera houses in the world.

Since returning to South Africa Bongiwe has performed the leading role of Hexe in Cape Town Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel, Evelyn Mase (Nelson Mandela’s first wife) in Madiba the African Opera and Sara Bartmann -The Opera in the UCT College of Music’s Sara Bartmann-The Opera by Hendrik Hofmeyr. Her performance of Princess Magogo’s songs at the Peter Klatzow Memorial Concert after his ultimate death last year was a highlight of this event which celebrated some over 500 compositions he left behind.

Bongiwe has already appeared in the Opera Classics concert held in Johannesburg beginning of 2023, she also performed the Feather Market Centre in Port Elizabeth with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra Festival. Bongiwe is the Fleur du Cap 2023 award nominee for best performance in an opera production for her leading role in Sara Bartmann – The Opera.

Bongiwe is currently busy doing Masterclasses around the country and assisting young aspiring singers from disadvantaged communities with her craft and expertise.

She is no stranger to stage craft and acting, she is now interested in pursuing her career into the small screens.

About Andiswa Makana – Soprano

Born and raised in the friendly city of Port Elizabeth, Andiswa Makana, an exceptionally gifted Soprano, was first discovered for her special musical talents at the age of 8 years old by her Primary School Music teacher, who insisted in encouraging young Makana to enter many Eisteddfods in PE, where she obtained only the highest marks for her performances. The young singer has never looked back ever since, she was chosen from her Primary School, Laerskool Diaz, to become one of the members of the Eastern Cape Children’s Choir with which she immediately was given solo roles and travelled Europe singing at the Notre Dame famous cathedral in Paris, France by the tender age of 12 years.

After Matriculating Makana enrolled at Stage World Theater College in PE, where she completed one year studying Musical Theater, before she moved on to gain admission at the Tshwane University of Technology, Arts Campus Pretoria, undoubtedly became one of the top achieving students if her faculty she quickly rose to fame with her participation in productions produced by The Black Tie Ensemble, Opera Africa in various productions produced at the South African State Theater.

Andiswa graduated her Diploma and BTech Degree from TUT cum laude and in no time was offered a life changing opportunity where she was given a scholarship by world famous concert pianist, Dr Florian Uhlig to study in Germany under the tutelage of Professor Josef Protsckha who took her under his wing since 2013. While in Germany she has completed her Master’s Degree and additionally, a post graduate qualification called Konzertexamen in which she again obtained the highest passing marks to be awarded on the German marking system in 2020.

Apart from her academic success, she has also worked on German big stages where she did the following roles, Aida in Aida by Verdi 2016 -Schlossfestspiel, Schwerin, Solea in El Gato Montes-Theater Kaiserslautern 2018. Aida in Aida Theater Hagen 2018 Makana also has a repertoire of Konzert engagements under her belt, War Requiem-Benjamin Britten, Dvorak Requiem, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Beethoven Symphony 9, Mozart Requiem which have been performed with much success with outstanding reviews for Makana overall.

Andiswa is currently employed at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, in Darmstadt Germany where she is expanding her horizons even further.

Young and talented: Benjamin Zander, conducting the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO). The BPYO is touring South Africa, June 2023. Click here for the concerts and booking:  
Mahler in Johannesburg: On its June 2023 South African tour, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO) will play Mahler’s Resurrection in Johannesburg- the first time that it has been performed in Johannesburg in 40 years. The BPYO will be conducted by Benjamin Zander. To book for the concerts on the tour, click, here:  

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