KZN Philharmonic’s 2024 Summer Season

Playhouse Opera: 29 Feb – 21 March, 7pm
The KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2024 Summer Season, which features a splendid line-up of international and local talent, runs in The Playhouse Opera Theatre every Thursday from 29 February to 21 March 2024, with each World Symphony Series concert starting at 19h00.
‘It is our great pleasure and privilege to welcome back our unique community of music lovers for our four-concert Summer Symphony Season of 2024,’ says Bongani Tembe, KZN Philharmonic’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director. ‘Now as ever, we are set to uphold the grand traditions of our long-running World Symphony Series, as we bring the music lovers we serve, a roster of superbly accomplished guest stars. They will join our dedicated orchestral musicians in creating many hours of musical enchantment. The season dovetails with our continued commitment to community engagement and skills transfer among new-generation artists and learners.’
The Summer Season opens on 29 February. This will see celebrated conductor Talia Ilan making her KZN Philharmonic debut, opening her programme with Felix Mendelssohn’s evocative but rarely heard Melusina Overture. Written in 1834 as a birthday gift for his sister, the composer dismissed the suggestion he’d been inspired by an ancient myth in which a water nymph sometimes assumed the identity of a mermaid. Nevertheless, this is music that conjures a dreamworld of harmonic power and mixed emotions. Well worth the hearing, it paves the way for Dvořák’s iconic Cello Concerto as the evening’s centrepiece, played by the German virtuoso Benedict Kloeckner. The programme ends with one of the 19th century’s benchmark staples, Robert Schumann’s Fourth Symphony in D minor, described by the imminent music critic Tovey as the composer’s ‘greatest and most masterly conception’.
The renowned Swiss conductor Emmanuel Siffert takes the podium on 2 March, opening on a neo-baroque note with Ravel’s beguiling Le Tombeau de Couperin (Memorial to Couperin). Originally a piano suite, Ravel then produced an orchestral version, skilfully evoking the sensibilities of a Baroque French keyboard suite of dances. The German virtuoso pianist Jan Jiracek von Arnim takes centerstage in a performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto no 23 in A Major, often cited as the loveliest of its genre. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 2 (dubbed ‘The Little Russian’) brings the evening to a close.
Leon Bosch, South African born bassist-turned conductor – one this country’s most distinguished musical ‘exports’ – takes the podium for the third concert of the season on 14 March. He launches his programme with Grieg’s lyrical Holberg Suite before South Korean violinist Hyeyoon Park makes a triumphant return to perform Tchaikovsky’s crowd-pleasing Violin Concerto. This will be followed by Frantz Schubert Symphony No 5, often described as his tribute to Mozart. This comparative rarity is sure to send the audience home in a euphoric mood.
Daniel Boico returns to Durban to round off the season on a high, with a richly curated programme of showstoppers; Dvořák: Bohemian-folk inspired Czech Suite; Camille Saint Saëns’ graphicly orchestrated Carnival of the Animals (with the Schumann Prins Duo in solo spot); and ending with Mozart’s exhilarating ‘Symphony no 38 ‘The Prague’ – one of the masterpieces he created in tribute to the city that took the young Austrian genius composer to its heart, the others being the opera’s Don Giovanni (1787) and La Clemenza di Tito (1791).
KZN Philharmonic Season tickets are available through KZN Philharmonic Office on 031 369 9438 or, and bookings for individual concerts, are available at Quicket outlets. For more information call 031-369 9438, email or visit
The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra wants to make their audiences’ experience as comfortable as possible. Many audience members would prefer not to self-drive to the Playhouse to attend KZN Philharmonic concerts in the evening, so the Orchestra is providing on a FREE bus service allowing people to park in the suburbs and hop on a bespoke bus into town.
Various routes are on offer: for north of Durban residents – from Grace Family Church in Umhlanga departing at 6.15pm; for upper highway residents – a bus departs from St Agnes Church at 5.45pm; Westville residents can park at Westville Senior Primary, with a bus departing at 6pm. A bus stops at the Caister Lodge in Durban’s Berea for Durbanites, departing 6.20pm. Safe, free parking is available at all departure points. The bus is free, but booking is essential. Booking may be made by emailing or by calling 031 369 9438.
Whilst the Playhouse Coffee Shop is not operational at the moment, The Playhouse bar is once more operational for pre-concerts and interval drinks. One can pre-order interval drinks on arrival.
Public are welcome to sit in on the final rehearsal every Thursday morning at 10h00 in the Playhouse Opera. Tickets R50 adults throughout. Unreserved seating in the downstairs stalls only.
Good to Know:
Thurs 29 Feb
Conductor: Talia Ilan
Soloist: Benedict Kloeckner – Cello
Mendelssohn: Melusina Overture
Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Schumann: Fourth Symphony

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