by Erik Albertyn, IHS Area Representative for South Africa and Professor of Horn at Nelson Mandela University


albertynThe existence of symphony orchestras is under increasing threat world-wide. This is largely due to the challenging cost model of keeping seventy highly skilled professional musicians in permanent employ but also due to a variety of cultural and societal factors. This is also particularly relevant to the wider South African society with its renewed scrutiny of colonialism in education and society. Against all odds symphonic music has endured and even thrived in areas such as the motion picture industry and particularly in Asian societies.

As a professional orchestral musician, educator and artistic director of an orchestra I am well versed in the challenges that exist in the South African music environment. We often look to Europe as our role model, but the rest of Africa is largely ignored. My motivation for this survey was to find out what could be found in Africa, where to find it and the rationale for the existence of orchestral activities in this vast continent. The results below are largely the result of an internet search as physical publications are extremely rare.

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