24/01/2018 18:09 SAST | Updated 24/01/2018 18:09 SAST

Leading US Orchestra To Tour SA With 'Music For Mandela'

The orchestra is putting together a special programme to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the late legend's birth.

Rene Johnston via Getty Images

The globally acclaimed American Minnesota Orchestra announced this week that it would be coming to South Africa for the first time later this year, to celebrate the 100-year-anniversary of Nelson Mandela's birth with a series of concerts dedicated to the legendary former leader, who passed away in 2013.

The orchestra, coming as part of almost 50 projects planned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation to commemorate his legacy, has composed a special programme for the auspicious occasion. South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen is even composing a tribute piece titled "Harmonia Ubuntu" in honour of the late statesman.

Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will embark on a five-city tour to South Africa this summer—the first visit by a professional U.S. orchestra to the country. Offered as part of the worldwide celebration of Nelson Mandela's Centenary, the tour will draw together South African and American performers and music, offering musical exchanges with student groups and large-scale performances in colleges, city halls, and churches. #MNorch minnesotaorchestra.org/satour

A post shared by Minnesota Orchestra (@mn_orchestra) on

The orchestra will tour Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg, and will perform in a special show held at the historic Roman Catholic Regina Mundi church in Soweto - a site of major significance in the anti-apartheid struggle.

Minnesota Orchestra president and chief executive Kevin Smith said: "Music plays a central role in South African culture today, both choral music and a growing orchestral tradition, and we are excited to experience and be part of this movement."

More information and dates can be found at minnesotaorchestra.org/satour.