Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Formed by a group of committed, resilient musicians, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) was established in 2000 following the demise of the National Symphony Orchestra. The circumstances couldn’t have been more hopeless. The new government’s priorities were focused on a range of the most intractable social and economic problems: reversing the devastating effects of apartheid, HIV/AIDS, crime, unemployment – all on a massive scale.
The corporate sector was suffering from donor fatigue and, at the same time, was being pressed to join the government in overcoming all the challenges South African society had to meet. Preserving a “Euro-centric” art form was not a priority, so 30-odd musicians did it themselves.
Into this hostile climate and using virtually only private sector sponsorships, the JPO has managed to rebuild a symphony concert culture in Johannesburg of increasing excitement and quality with a freelance orchestra. The JPO employs one full-time employee and 5 part-timers, three of whom are JPO musicians.
Producing this world-premiere recording towards the end of the JPO’s fourth year of existence is nothing short of miraculous…typical South African chutzpah! And a fitting way to have celebrated the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa.