Beethoven & African Songs with Minnesota Chorale & Gauteng Choristers
2:30 PM: After a moving experience at the Apartheid Museum, Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä returns to conduct Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 with the same ensemble he led in 2014: the now 54-year-old South African National Youth Orchestra. This time, they're on stage at the University of Pretoria, and he's brought along 102 musicians from Minneapolis for an immersive, unforgettable afternoon.
7 PM: For the first time ever, the orchestra rehearses with the Minnesota Chorale and Gauteng Choristers in five popular African songs—newly arranged for orchestra and choir in languages like Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho—as well as the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th, featuring an all-South African vocal quartet hand-picked by Classical Movements: soprano Goitsemang Lehobye, mezzo Minette du Toit-Pearce, tenor Siyabonga Maqungo and bass-baritone Njabulo Madlala.
THURS, AUG. 16:
UP & SANYO Masterclasses, Embassy Chamber Music,
Aula Theatre Sell-Out, Soweto Shaping Up
10 AM: While some musicians make their way to the American School of Johannesburg for an exchange, others opt for sectionals and lessons with University of Pretoria music majors.
12:30 PM: After lunch, both the UP and SANYO student musicians come together for joint masterclasses from several of the Minnesota Orchestra's warm and generous players.
1 PM: Vänskä, himself, delivers a lecture on score study, technique and interpretation to select University of Pretoria conducting students.
4 PM: CM's Neeta Helms chats with Vänskä and concertmaster Erin Keefe before a chamber performance at the U.S. Embassy.
7:30 PM: Minnesota dazzles the sold-out audience at the University of Pretoria's Aula Theatre with the national anthems of the United States and South Africa, Sibelius, Bernstein, and for the final time on South African soil,Beethoven's 5th, as well as a work commissioned by Classical Movements: Dr. Bongani Ndodana-Breen's tribute to Mandela, Harmonia Ubuntu, starring Pretoria's own Goitsemang Oniccah Lehobye. Just as they had done Sunday afternoon in Durban and Friday night in Cape Town, Osmo and orchestra encore with CM's idea: "Shosholoza"...both singing and playing.
11 PM: With the bollards out front removed by Classical Movements' contractors to make room for our trucks, CM's local crew works through the night at Soweto's iconic Regina Mundi RC Church—installing lights, repairing plumbing and constructing a stage strong enough to safely hold both instrumentalists and singers for the historic MPR live broadcast of Friday night's centerpiece concert.