Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Music is one of those things in life that I often take for granted. I listen to it everyday, I have my favourite songs and artists and I love going to live gigs, but I often don’t appreciate it further than its surface. I just enjoy it, that’s it.

Then every now and then I get completely blown away by a song, or a live performance and start to realise just how special music really is. This happened last Wednesday when I was lucky enough to receive tickets to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. I’ve never been to watch an orchestra live before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

I arrived with a friend to a crowd very different to our usual social outings. Yes, the orchestra does tend to attract the older, fancier generation. The sort who know the difference between Beethoven and Mozart. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a clue. Nonetheless, in we went excited to see what was in store.

It was the eve of Halloween so the conductor (Yasuo Shinozaki) came out with a carved pumpkin to set the mood. What then started was something that I have never experienced before. The musicians all started playing the most beautiful, intense, and meaningful music. I’m not even sure how many different instruments are involved, but there are a few. And the way that they all come together in harmony is truly spectacular. From low and calm moments to high and intense scenes where you almost feel on the edge of your seat. The journey you are taken on throughout a piece is one of many emotions. Ups and downs. And just when you may feel yourself dozing off, it picks up and gets you interested again. It really is quite exciting.

It is currently Season 2 of 2013 for the JPO and they have two weeks left in the season. Each week you will find a different conductor, music and highlight. The show that I saw comprised of MUSSORGSKY Night on Bald Mountain, TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto, No.2, op.44, G major and SAINT-SAËNS Symphony No.3, op.78, C minor (Organ). The highlight of the show was the piano by Francois du Toit. Next week is the cello and the last week the violin.

This is Mussorgsky Night on Bald Mountain, the piece of music that the show started with:

I strongly recommend that you go along to watch the orchestra, if not in this season, definitely the next one or once in your life. It is something so special, a definite ‘must do’ experience.

Expect to get a few goosebumps, have a giggle at the wildly excited conductor, stare longingly at the musicians wondering why you’ve never taken up an instrument while getting a burst of music culture into your soul.


  • All concerts are held at the Linder Auditorium, 27 St Andrews Rd, Parktown.
  • Time: 8pm. with free pre-concert talk at 7.15pm.
  • Booking for all concerts through Computicket or at the Box Office on the night.
  • Tickets are between R225 to R300.

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