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The Youth Orchestra and Youth Big Band of Miagi will perform in Germany and Austria, where they will be on tour for a fortnight.
LOCAL musicians from Music Is A Great Investment (Miagi) are gearing up to show off their talent abroad, where they will perform in Germany and Austria.

A farewell concert will be held at the Linder AuditoriumA farewell concert will be held at the Linder AuditoriumThe musicians, comprising members of the Youth Orchestra and the Youth Big Band, will jet off to Europe on 16 July. They will return on 1 August. A farewell concert at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown will be held on the eve of their departure.

Miagi was established in 2001 by the tenor, Robert Brooks, to unite “the power of classical, indigenous and jazz” music. The company is a non-profit section 21 organisation that has the support of the Department of Arts and Culture.

Its main objective is to “inspire dialogue among people of different cultures through an intense process of artistic exchange that includes commissioning new intercultural compositions”. It includes educating and empowering musicians throughout South Africa.

According to the company, the overwhelming success of the Youth Orchestra and the Youth Big Band at the Young Euro Classic Festival at the Konzerthaus in Berlin in 2009 led to the invitation to perform at the opening concert of the festival on 27 July this year.

Over the past 11 years, Miagi has built a network of supported musical education initiatives that has rapidly expanded across the country. It is particularly active in rural and historically disadvantaged areas. One of the results of the network is the national Youth Orchestra and Youth Big Band.

In April 2011, Christian Muthspiel conducted the 117-member orchestra and big band. It was such a successful collaboration, that Miagi invited him to be the conductor on the upcoming tour to Europe. Miagi also commissioned Muthspiel to create a new intercultural composition in collaboration with the composer, clarinettist and saxophonist, Tshepo Tsotetsi.

In 2010, the Cape Gate Miagi Centre for Music opened in Soweto at the Morris Isaacson High School, the first institution of its kind in any of the country’s townships.

The building was donated by the Kaplan-Kuschlik Education Foundation. A sizeable donation of R6-million was made by the late Mendel Kaplan, a businessman and philanthropist, for the construction of the centre.

The Cape Gate Miagi Centre in SowetoThe Cape Gate Miagi Centre in SowetoIt was decided to base the centre at the school because of its historic association with the students’ march of 16 June 1976. The building is located on the southern side of the school grounds and serves as a music education centre and a concert venue.

The school dates back to 1961 and was named after the Israeli, Morris Isaacson, who donated funds to build 10 classrooms. He also donated funds to build White City Isaacson Higher Primary, Mavis Hall and a crèche. The school has about 39 classrooms and 1 300 pupils in grades 10 to 12.

Over the years, Miagi has brought world-acclaimed musicians and ensembles to engage with young musicians in South Africa. Among them are the violinist, Maxim Vengerov; the jazz legend, Miriam Makeba; Gilberto Gil, the Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter; the all-male a cappella singing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Brucknerorchester Linz; the English Chamber Orchestra; Kammerorchester Basel; the jazz percussionist, Louis Moholo; the pianist, Fazil Say; and the trumpeter, Sergei Nakariakov.

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