Celebrated Conductor, Benjamin Zander, brings his award-winning Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra on Tour to South Africa in June

Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

Performing two gigantic works in the Orchestral repertoire – Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben and the rarely heard, massive work – Mahler’s “Resurrection Symphony” with Gauteng Choristers, Sidwell Mhlongo, Andiswa Makana, and Bongiwe Nakani Mcetywa.

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 collaborations with local ensembles and musicians around the country, including the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and the Hugo Lambrechts Symphony Orchestra. On 16 June the BPYO will participate in Youth Day Celebrations and a street parade in Soweto with the Field Band Foundation and on 17 June, 30 BPYO musicians will meet and play with the Morris Isaacson Music Center in Soweto.

On 19 June 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. 


PROGRAMME I – Orchestra 

Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life)                                                 Richard Strauss (1864-19490)

Symphony No. 5 in C minor                                                         Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) 

PROGRAMME II – Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists 

The Symphony No. 2 in C minor (Resurrection Symphony)            Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Gauteng Choristers, directed by Sidwell Mhlongo
Andiswa Makana, Soprano

Bongiwe Nakani Mcetywa, Mezzo Soprano


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

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

JOHANNESBURG: Sunday, 18 June 2023, 15h00 | Linder Auditorium | Program II


Tuesday, 20 June, 2023, 19h00 | Cape Town City Hall | Program II

Wednesday, 21 June, 2023, 19h00 | Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre | Program I


Friday, 23 June 2023, 19h00 | National Arts Festival, Guy Butler Theatre | Program I

Saturday, 24 June 2023, 11h00 | National Arts Festival, Children’s Concert at the Fountain Foyer |  A mixed program

TICKETS:  https://www.classicalmovements.com/bpyo-south-africa-tour/