MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA Course 2008: Applications Open

MIAGI (Music is a Great Investment)has been involved in youth orchestra development since 2001. The MIAGI annual orchestra course has shown sustained growth since then, and in 2007 an orchestra of 98 players under the direction of internationally acclaimed Turkish born conductor, Cem Mansur together with an 18 piece jazz band under the direction of Jannie “Hanepoot” van Tonder, played to standing ovations in Johannesburg’s Linder Auditorium.

Both Maestro Mansur and Jannie van Tonder will be back again during the 2008 course which takes place at St. Cyprian's School in Cape Town from 26 April to 4 May 2008. The course will culminate in a public performance by all participants in the Cape Town City Hall on 3 May 2008.

The MIAGI YOUTH ORCHEASTRA Course 2008 is open to all young people 22 and under. There is no cost to individual participants who have been selected. Wherever possible, MIAGI does not exclude anyone on the basis of them not being in a position to contribute towards costs. MIAGI assists wherever possible, including with travel arrangements. The TOTAL MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA provides an amazing opportunity for many who would never be able to receive such training. Youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are given the chance to develop their musical skills and to perform in a professional setting.

The course has received rave reviews from those attending, and the TOTAL MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA concerts consistently receive rave reviews. A sample of some of the quotes from the 2007 participants demonstrates the value of the MIAGI course:

  • “It was really nice, fun…I learnt a lot of things…the camp should just be longer.”
    Tshofelo Tshikare; Violin; Mangaung String Project
  •  “…great management, venue and atmosphere to make music a great investment.”
    Basetsane Boroko; Violin; STTEP Music School
  •  “My favorite part was the rehearsals with Cem and his energetic input.”
    Sizekile Shuba; Cello; ACOSA
  • “I was amazed to find so many youths enjoying classical music.”
    Mfundo Manana; Double Bass; Hout Bay Music Trust
  • “Wonderful, wonderful…words cannot express how wonderful it was…extravagant.”
    Thembinkosi Mavimbela; Double Bass; Welcome Soweto School of Music
  •  “MIAGI has been a wonderful experience that broke many racial boundaries and united us South Africans.”
    Thabang Sekhu; Trombone;  STTEP Music School

James Oesi, a double bass player, will be the soloist for the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA 2008. James is presently a second-year student at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow where he studies under Professor Lev Rakov in Russia and will be returning to South Africa in 2008 to take part in the course once again.


The faculty of the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA course is well known and respected and provides invaluable training and experience to their young pupils.

Born in Instanbul, Cem Mansur is Artistic Director of the Akbank Chamber Orchestra in Istanbul and President of the Ipswich Choral Society in England. He has been awarded the Ricordi Prize and later studied with Leonard Bernstein at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. Included among the many internationally acclaimed orchestras that he has conducted are the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, the National Theatre in Prague, the Kirov Opera and the Hungarian State Orchestra. He was conductor of the Istanbul Opera between 1981 and 1989 and principal conductor of the City of Oxford Orchestra from 1989 to1997.  

For Mansur, the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA Course is a powerful and moving experience, “the last few days were some of the most meaningful I have ever spent as a person and as a musician…I was so happy to be there…my belief in music as the greatest investment, as a true miracle, a great, renewing, healing and communicative force has been reinforced by working with these young people, in a way that would not be possible with even the world’s greatest orchestras….Thank you for the endless inspiration.  I am already eagerly awaiting next year.”

TOTAL MIAGI Youth Jazz Band Conductor: Jannie “Hanepoot” Van Tonder
While being involved in music across many genres, in South Africa and in Europe, where he worked as jazz trombonist based in Amsterdam for some years, Jannie 'Hanepoot' van Tonder has always retained his focus on South African repertoire. He spent the 1980's in Johannesburg performing and recording with the likes of James Phillips, Johannes Kerkorrel and Winston's Jive Mixup, and notably spent a year on the road with the early African Jazz Pioneers under the leadership of the late Ntemi Piliso. Based in Cape Town for the last 12 years, in 2001 he started an 18-piece big band, the "Biggish Band", as a platform to develop indigenous South African Jazz for the standard Big Band format of 5 saxophones, 4 trombones, 4 trumpets and rhythm. For Jannie, the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA Course is a “very satisfying and inspiring experience indeed, working with such diverse and enthusiastic young people. I feel extremely fortunate to have been in a position to expose some of them to music and ideas they might not have come across before.”

Requirements for Participation in 2008

  1. Be 22 years of age or less on May 4 2008
  2. Play an orchestral or jazz “big band” instrument
  3. Play your instrument to a minimum grade 5 level
  4. Be available between 26 April and 4 May 2008
  5. Pass an Audition

National auditions will be held across the country based on the applications received.

Exact dates, times and venues will be notified to applicants in due course. For the audition applicants will be expected to play a study written for their instrument which will be taken from a current UNISA, RSM or TCM syllabus. It should be of a minimum grade 5 standard. If it is of a higher standard it will be to the advantage of the candidate.



Tel: 012  320 5154

MEDIA: For interviews etc, contact: Lara Preston or Jani Roodt (011) 447 8283, lara@redflag.co.za, or jani@redflag.co.za