Muscial partnership celebrated with classical music and jazz
On April 4, German Ambassador Horst Freitag hosted a concert to celebrate the work of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra. German cellist Mathias Donderer, renowned pianist Ilse Myburgh and members of the Youth Orchestra treated guests to an unique evening of classical music and Jazz.
The conviction that music can contribute significantly to the personal development of youths from all sectors of South African society was instrumental in the establishment of the not-for-profit organisation MIAGI (or Music Is A Great Investment) in 2001. Since then, a vital aspect of MIAGI’s work has been to bring together young and gifted musicians across all racial and social divides and to create some of the best youth ensembles in the classical, indignenous and jazz genres in South Africa.
Enlarge image Bonole Kgaile of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra (© German Embassy Pretoria) German audiences witnessed some of this outstanding potential back in 2009, when both the MIAGI Youth Orchestra (MYO) and the MIAGI Youth Big Band (MYBB) travelled to Berlin to participate in the prestigious Young Euro Classic Festival. During their visit they performed, amongst others, with the Federal German Youth Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
This year, the youngsters from MIAGI will once again participate in the Young Euro Classic Festival in Berlin. Yet there is a difference. This year’s trip marks the beginning of an intense partnership between MIAGI and Young Euro Classic, culminating in a joint concert tour of a German – South African youth orchestra through South Africa next year. The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has agreed to adopt the patronage to this extraordinary initiative.
With a view to celebrating the estabilshment of the partnership, German Ambassador Horst Freitag hosted a German – South African concert evening at his residencein Pretoria. The German contribution to the evening was kindly provided by Mathias Donderer, cellist of the German Symphonic Orchestra Berlin, who travelled to South Africa to conduct a coaching workshop for members of the MYO, preparing them for their trip to Germany.
Enlarge image Mathias Donderer, cellist of the German Symphonic Orchestra Berlin (© German Embassy Pretoria) Accompanied by renowned pianist Ilse Myburgh, Donderer opened the evening with Brahms’ ‘Sonata in e minor for cello & piano’ and David Popper’s ‘Wie einst in schönen Tagen’ (Fon recollections), before making way for the Bonole Kgaile. The 16 year old impressed the audience with a flawless interpretation of Dvorak’s “Romance op.11” for violin and orchestra’ and delivered a small glimpse into the powerful presence of the MYO when performing in full strength.
Thereafter things began to get a little lighter, with Monique van Willingh presenting an impressive jazz set, combining local, self-composed pieces with classics like ‘In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning’. The flutist, who has played with South African jazz legends like Robbie Jansen, Hilton Schilder and Mac Mckenzie, was supported by the equally gifted pianist Amy Crankshaw , Thembinkosi Mavimbela on double bass and Nhlanhla Mahlangu on sax.
The stunning performance left the audience looking forward to the next public concert of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and Big Band, which is set to take place in the Johannesburg Linder Auditorium on July 15. A day later the young musicians will start their tour to impress German and Austrian audiences in Berlin, Ludwigsburg, Villach, Salzburg, Vienna and Hamburg.