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Internationally renowned Marin Alsop returns to South Africa to conduct the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra

By Creative Feel

Following a spectacular inaugural national tour in 2022, the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra (MNPO) prepares for its second national tour, which is scheduled to run in Women’s Month from 10 to 14 August 2023.

The tour will once again be led by the internationally renowned Marin Alsop, the first woman conductor to serve as the head of a major orchestra in the US, UK, South America and Austria. Alsop will lead with soloist Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, the award-winning Limpopo-born soprano who is the current BBC Radio 3 New Generation artist, winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World, and Daily Maverick’s Artist of the Year runner up for 2022.

Marin Alsop Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra
Marin Alsop with the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra

The August dates follow the acclaimed orchestra’s three-city inaugural tour which played to sold-out houses in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in December 2022.

This year’s itinerary will see the MNPO performing in Johannesburg on Thursday 10 August at the Linder Auditorium at 19:30; in Cape Town on Saturday 12 August at the Cape Town City Hall at 19:30; and in Gqeberha on Monday 14 August at the Feather Market Centre at 18:30.  

Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the MNPO, says: “Our audiences will be delighted to hear that Marin Alsop will return for this year’s tour, following her sensational appearances last year. We are thrilled that the highly accomplished South African dramatic soprano, Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, will be our soloist for 2023; Cecilia has a special talent coupled with a warm heart and personality.”

Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra
Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra

The repertoire to be performed in all three centres includes an operatic first half, featuring beautiful and dramatic arias followed, after the intermission, by Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5.

“Following our successful tour last year, I’m very excited to return to South Africa, a country rich in culture and heritage. It is a joy to work with musicians who are committed to excellence and to perform for enthusiastic audiences from diverse backgrounds. This is a country which demonstrates music’s unique power to bring people together, and I love the way Mzansi Philharmonic embodies this quality.”

Marin Alsop

The MNPO was launched in 2022, as part of an initiative of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to broaden the orchestral experience of the country, transform the orchestral sector and to brand South Africa positively around the world. The Orchestra consists of up to 110 non-permanent musicians who are drawn from regional orchestras, universities, and freelance musicians.

Marin Alsop Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra
Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra

“We are excited to celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa with this national tour. The Mzansi Philharmonic is rapidly earning a reputation for its diversity on every level: our programmes feature artists and musicians who are representative of our rainbow nation, showing music’s unique ability to bring people together across gender, age, race and class.”

MNPO Chairperson, Justice Leona Theron.

Justice Theron adds: “I am particularly pleased that Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra is achieving its mission of broadening the orchestral experience of South Africa, supporting established and emerging orchestras in many parts of the country, including the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West.”

Tickets for the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2023 National Tour are now on sale from Quicket. Call 021 424 9308 or email /

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