The New Skool Sextet brought the house down at Fasching, Stockholm - November 4, 2013

On the 8th of January 2013 the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria signed a contract with MIAGI. Sweden is through Sida funding a Music Exchange programme between Sweden and South Africa

Takalane Maraba - MIAGI Mentor & Protege Programme Beneficiary - January 2013

Metropolitan Opera 'The Met' in New York ' presents Pretty Yende - January 2013!

Pretty Yende at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition

MIAGI facilitated a scholarship for the young violinist Donné de Kock
The International Belvedere Competition qualifying round
A new cello for Abel Selaocoe
Pretty Yende - prize winner at IVC!

The Free to be Concert

A new violin for Anele Mhlahlo
MIAGI and the Department of Arts and Culture
MIAGI visiting Tshakhuma village
Gauteng Choristers' tour of Europe
Pretty Yende, 'La Musica'

Success Story|A 'MIAGI and the Swedish Odyssey - with the Times' endeavour: The New Skool Sextet brought the house down at a jam session at the famous jazz club Fasching in Stockholm, Sweden - November 4, 2013

Brandon Ruiters (trumpet), Thabang Sithole (trombone), Tshepo Tsotetsi (saxophone), Theminkosi Mavimbela (double bass), Musa Mdluli (piano) and the New Skoolers new friend in Sweden, Mzwakhe Hlatshwayo (percussion)

Success Story|On the 8th of January 2013 the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria signed a contract with MIAGI. Sweden is through Sida funding a Music Exchange programme between Sweden and South Africa.

Read more here (link to the relevant page at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria website).

'MIAGI and the Swedish Odyssey - with the Times'

Success Story|Takalane Maraba - MIAGI Mentor & Protégé Programme beneficiary

We congratulate and thank Takalane Maraba (trumpet) for his great dedication to his studies at Pro Arte Alphen Park!

Success Story |Metropolitan Opera 'The Met' in New York presents Pretty Yende!

Pretty and MIAGI: we were able to offer Pretty Yende many opportunities that she utilised truly optimally, which on a day like this is more clear than ever!; the Istituto Internazionale per l'Opera e la Poesia (IIOP) opera competition in Verona in 2007 the International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch in 2008 and finally the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna in 2009, when Pretty Yende did what no singer before her had done, - and so far also nobody after her - won all first prizes and all major extra prizes the competition had to offer (story below this)!

Congratulations and thank you Pretty!



Success Story|Pretty Yende of South Africa wowed the audience and the jury at the 28th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna, Austria

...and went on to win the first prize in the category Opera and Operetta, the Audience Prize as well as the Prize of International Media-Jury on the 5th of July.

Pretty also won the following special prizes: Der Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg, Des Opernhauses Graz, Des Stadttheaters Klagenfurt, Teatro alla Scala Milano, Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian Lisboa, Chambre Professionnelle des Directeurs D´Opera Paris, and Soroptimist International - Wiener Clubs.

This is the first time in the history of the competition that one singer has won all first prizes.

© - International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, Vienna

Winners of the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2009, Vienna, in the category Operetta
2. Prize: Sean PANIKKAR (USA)
Prize: Pretty YENDE (South Africa)
3. Prize: Claudia BOYLE (Ireland)


The competition ran from the 29th of July to the 5th of July 2009. MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment) facilitated the qualifying round in South Africa and then went on fund and organise the trip for the four most successful, Pretty Yende and three other South African young singers, enabling them to travel to Vienna for the competition.

The students; Runette Botha, Pretty Yende, Given Nkosi (all from the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town) and Thabang Senekal (the Black Tie Ensemble, Pretoria) joined 3000 other young singers from all over the world  in the competition’s qualifying rounds in nearly 50 cities all over the world. Only 159 of these singers qualified for the final round that took place in Vienna.

The International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition is one of the most renowned and prestigious singing competitions in the world, offering young talent a host of opportunities to further their careers. The competition’s jury is composed of well respected opera managers, talent agents as well as numerous media representatives from all over the world.

The other three singers also earned lots of well-deserved recognition leading to career furthering opportunities.

Thanks to our partners and funders such as the Embassy of Austria, MIAGI was able to offer the singers assistance with their visas, as well as scholarsips enabling them to travel to Vienna for the competition.


Success Story |MIAGI facilitated a scholarship for the young violinst Donné de Kock

The scholarship, 'for continued studies with Professor Jack de Wet', was awarded the young, exceptionally talented violinist Donné de Kock by the Vineyard Hotel. Donné is since 2008, a member of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra.


Donné de Kock and Anele Mhlahlo


Success Story |Four South African singers qualified for the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition to take place in Vienna, Austria, from 29 June to 5 July, 2009 - MIAGI facilitated the qualifying round in South Africa which took place on 22 April in Cape Town.

Congratulations to Runette Botha, Pretty Yende, Given Nkosi (all from the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town), and Thabang Senekal (from the Black Ties Ensemble, Pretoria)!

The members of the jury for the qualifying round: Virgina Davids (University of Cape Town), Christine Crouse (Cape Town Opera), Robert Brooks (MIAGI), Kamal Khan (University of Cape Town) and Holger Bleck (Vienna Chamber Opera).

 qualifying round


Success Story |The bass-baritone MusawenkosiNgqungwana, tenor Mlamli Lalapantsi, tenor Sunnyboy Dladla (in the roles of Ping, Pang and Pong) and soprano Golda Schulz (in the role of Liu), from the University of Cape Town, performed at the international Turandot Competition for an esteemed international jury chaired by the legendary Hungarian dramatic soprano, Eva Marton.

All singers earned accolades and admiration from the members of the jury as well as from the Italian audience - apart from engagement and study opportunities in the future, Lalapantsi, Dladla and Ngqungwana will be taking part in stage performances of Turandot within the Arena di Verona Festival, as a reward for their triumph in the final.

In addition, Schulz received an invitation from the director of the Opera Studio in The Netherlands, Hans Nieuwenhuis to participate in an intensive course at this highly esteemed centre for young becoming professional singers.

Thank you to the Italian Institute of Culture in Pretoria for your kind assistance!

Verona Winners

Turandot Competition finalists together with Gianfranco de Bosio (fourth from the right), President of the Scientific Committee of IIOP and renowned theatre and opera stage-producer.

Turandot: Lilla Lee (South Korea) and Satomi Ogawa (Japan) Calaf: Rodolfo Park (South Korea) and Han Peng (China) Liu: Lee Jaeeun (South Korea) and Son Hyun Kyong (South Korea), Ping & Pong & Pang: Carlos Natale (Italy), Enea Scala (Italy/Argentina), Valdis Jansons (Lithuania) and Sunnyboy Dladla (South Africa), Musawenkosi Ngqungwana (South Africa), Mlamli Lalapantsi (South Africa) Timur: Luca Dall'Amico (Italy) and Daniel Golossov (France) Imperatore Altoum: Cosimo Vasallo (Italy).

Following international organisations and institutions were represented in the jury:

  • MIAGI (South Africa)

The IIOP competition taking place every second year with an opera in the Italian language as a theme.



Success Story |A new cello for Abel Selaocoe

MIAGI would like to thank Elisabeth and Walter Bolliger for their generous donation, whAbel Selaocoe - CT City Hallich has enabled MIAGI to purchase a high-quality cello for our instrument library. The cello, a French instrument, handmade about 100 years ago and newly restored, will be played by the exceptionally talented young cellist Abel Selaocoe in the coming years. Abel, who played as soloist with the MIAGI Youth Orchestra in 2008, conducted by Cem Mansur and Maxim Vengerov, performed on his new instrument for the first time at a private house concert in Johannesburg on November 3rd. (Please read more about Abel at our ‘Artists’ page).

Accompanied by pianist Ilse Myburgh, Abel played the following pieces: Boccherini: Rondo, Faure: Apres un Reve, De Falla: Ritual Fire Dance, Grieg: Andante from Sonata in a-minor, Popper: Tarantelle.  A warm “thank-you” also goes to Abel’s teacher, Carel Henn, for his help in finding the right instrument for Abel and for facilitating bow and case purchase, and dealing with insurance matters!

The concert also featured three other talented youngsters from the MIAGI Youth Big Band – the jazz trio of Viwe Mkziwana (double bass), Nhlanhla Mahlangu (tenor saxophone) and Bhekinkosi Hlatshwayo (trumpet), who will be playing various jazz hits and improvisations.

Maxim Vengerov gave very special credit to many of the young MIAGI musicians that he worked with during his short stay in South Africa. Even though he did not get an opportunity to speak to all of them personally, he expressed the wish that MIAGI should never give up in efforts to generate opportunities and support for these talents - a support that would need to include financial assistance for those who otherwise would not be able to further their studies effectively, enabling them eventually to compete on the international stages.  

Abel and Maxim


Success Story |Pretty Yende-prize winner at the Dutch International Vocal Competition (IVC) - Results of the 2008 Final:

First Prize; The City of 's-Hertogenbosch Prize: Han-Sung Yoo, Prize of the Province of Noord-Brabant: Pretty Yende, Arleen Auger Prize: Kishani Jayasinghe, Margie Weideman Prize: Falko Hönisch, Heijmans Prize for the Dutch Song: Falko Hönisch, Heijmans Audience Prize: Han-Sung Yoo, Brabants Dagblad Press Prize: Han-Sung Yoo, Staetshuys Fonds Prize: Maartje Rammeloo, Youth Prijs: Han-Sung Yoo

Pretty Yende (frame)

Engagement De Nederlandse Opera: Ivo Posti
Engagement Opera Riga: Pretty Yende
Engagement Opera Zuid: Han-Sung Yoo
Dutch Record Company Award: Han-Sung Yoo

Congratulations Pretty!



Pretty is currently enrolled at the University of Cape Town for the Performer's Diploma in Operastudies where she studies with Professor Virginia Davids.

Success Story |the vibrant Free to be Concert on 15 August 2008 at the WITS University Great Hall in Johannesburg!

A Partnership between the Southern Africa Trust, Southern African Development Community, MTN and MIAGI - Celebrating Our Common Regional Identity (for more information, please visit 'media' for the Free to be media release).

Free to be Concert: Celebrating Our Common Regional Identity
Three Grand Dames of South African song got together for a good cause as Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Khumalo and Lira, joined by David Imani from the DRC, added their voices to the concert expressing solidarity in the context of the recent brutal attacks on immigrants in South Africa.

Performers at this 'free to the public' event, that not suprisingly drew a large number of appreciative listeners, also included the stunning Maru a Pula Marimba Band from Botswana and an orchestra comprising young musicians from several southern African countries, conducted by Kutlwano Masote:

Abel Selaocoe - South Africa, Alport Astazio - Zimbabwe, Anushree Mahajan - Tanzania, Balekane Moloisane - South Africa, Clement Benny - South Africa, Daliwonga Tshangela - South Africa, Filipa Bandeira - Mozambique, Innocentia Diamond, South Africa, Jane Nhamo - Zimbabwe, Kabelo Motlhomi - South Africa, Kaelo Moahi - Botswana, Karabo Mathole - Botswana, Kate Moore - South Africa, Katrien Jooste - South Africa, Keletso Manamela - Botswana, Kgaogelo Mpyane - South Africa, Lenah Kitenge - Malawi, Louis Mhlanga - South Africa, Marc Uys - South Africa, Mare Mogwe - Botswana, Mary Tennant - South Africa, Mmaserame Gaefele - Botswana, Molahlehi Matima - Lesotho, Olga Maraba - South Africa, Pete Sklair - South Africa, Peter Mohai - Lesotho, Ponatshego Nyepetsi - Botswana, Refiloe Olifant - South Africa, Regomoditswe Thothela - South Africa, Thembani Mhambi - Zimbabwe, Thlaganyo Mogots - Botswana, Tlale Makhene - South Africa, Tshepiso Betty Mabote - Botswana, Tshepo Mngoma - South Africa, Unaswi July - Botswana, Viwe Kizwana - South Africa.

Marimba Band

Maru a Pula Marimba Band is one of the finest performing ensembles in Botswana. This troupe is unique in that it is made up of both young women and young men. The concerts sample the world of Marimba works, compositions and musical arrangements by the distinguished Zimbabwean born ethnomusicologist and teacher of marimba, Alport Mhlanga Astazio.


Success Story |MIAGI facilitated, and partially funded, a quality instrument for the young violinist, Anele Mhlahlo

Anele Mhlahlo’s new violin is a gift of the David Graaff Foundation. The necessary repairs of the violin that originally belonged to Syoma Borodov (born in Latvia in l918, died in Johannesburg in l988) have been funded by MIAGI and with great affection and care, carried out by Dawn Haddad. Borodov played for the Cape Town City Orchestra for many years.

Anele (*1992) – a member of the MIAGI mentor-and-protégé programme - began his studies in 2003 at the Hout Bay Music Project (HBMP). His exceptional talent and capacity for independent learning was immediately noticed and in shortest time, he was performing as a soloist. In 2003 MIAGI entered into a partnership with HBMP, which among others included paying teachers’ salaries for the project. Studies with Marc Uys followed and were later continued under the direction of Jack de Wet.  In 2006 as a high-light, Anele played Bach’s Double Concerto at a HBMP anniversary concert together with the renowned French violinist Philippe Graffin. In 2008 another high-light; Anele played in the MIAGI Youth Chamber Orchestra conducted by his great role model, Maxim Vengerov. Currently Anele is continuing his studies with Professor de Wet preparing for an upcoming performance in Cape Town of the Wieniavsky Legende and the 3rd movement of the Bruch Concerto. Anele is a grade 10 student at Camps Bay High School. He commutes from Hout Bay by bus, practises three hours/day and six hours on weekends.



Success Story |MIAGI and the Department of Arts and Culture

MIAGI was invited by the Department of Arts and Culture to produce the evenings of music and entertainment for the 2nd annual IBSA Summit between India, Brazil and South Africa, held  in October 2007 in Johannesburg and for the 118th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held in April 2008 in Cape Town.

Dr Pallo Jordan
"Culture is the outward expression of that which in the soul of man. In fact, it is significant to remind ourselves that art is the golden thread that binds us to our common humanity. ……The harmonies of song and the rhythmic movements of dance are the artistic expression of what we aspire to attain through cooperation and mutual understanding among the peoples of the world” (Minister Jordan at the IBSA Summit)

Dr Z Pallo Jordan

MIAGI's work in terms of the abundant diversity of South African musical expression and the role music can play as a tool for positive social development, echoes the Minister’s sentiments, and the IBSA and IPU cultural evenings offered rare opportunities to showcase this power of music within the global context, and in the presence of countless distinguished guests, among them President Mbeki.

President Mbeki - IBSA

President Mbeki arriving to the IBSA event

Minister of Arts and Culture Z Pallo Jordan has expressed his support to MIAGI in his Budget Vote Speech, held in Cape Town on the 6th of June 2008


Success Story |MIAGI visiting Tshakhuma village in Venda

On invitation from Thovhele Khosi Vho-A.M Madzivhandila, MIAGI Creative Manager Ingrid Hedlund and Executive Director Robert Brooks visited Tshakhuma village in Venda, Limpopo in connection with the 2008 Tshakhuma Day Celebration on 07 June.

The celebrations began with a morning briefing session at Tshakhuma Traditional Office during which Khosi Vho-A.M Madzivhandila (also known as Chief Andries Madzivhandila) informed the guests about the history of Tshakhuma village and surroundings from 1920 until today. The briefing was followed by an equally interesting question-and-answer session. Chief Madzivhandila welcomed all questions, in particular “embarrassing ones”, as he put it. After the session, the guests were escorted to their seats in shade, out of the hot Limpopo sun for the full-day festivities at Mulangaphuma Multi-purpose Sports Ground.
Over 1300 people from all over the province gathered to listen to speeches by, among others, the representative from Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders, Khosi Vho-Netshimbupfe, and to enjoy numerous performances by traditional dance groups and vocal ensembles such as Thikundwi kha Sialala (read more about Thikundwi kha Sialala and about MIAGI’s collaboration with this exceptional group on the ‘Artists’ and ‘Festival’ pages). There were also astonishingly strong traditional dance and drama performances by primary school children, as well as a performance by 16 young dancers from Ribungwani village, representing the Shangaan Xincayincayi tradition. It was a privilege for the MIAGI representatives to witness how teachers of drama and dance at Tshakhuma Primary and other schools in Limpopo are maintaining such levels of excellence.

On the following day at the ‘King’s Kraal’, Ingrid Hedlund was presented with the beautiful Venda traditional dress.



Success Story | Gauteng Choristers' Tour of Europe 2007

Gauteng Choristers’ Tour of Europe, arranged by MIAGI in collaboration with Kammerorchester Basel and the Merano Music Weeks in Italy, Menuhin Festival Gstaad in Switzerland and Robeco Summer Concerts series in Amsterdam (one of the most popular concert series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) - under the patronage of Ambassador Nozipho January-Bardill (formerly the South African Ambassador in Switzerland).

One of South Africa’s premier choirs, The Gauteng Choristers, performed with the Kammerorchester Basel, one of the finest chamber orchestras in Europe. In addition to South African choral music sung a-cappella, the choir sang the many popular choral songs in the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. The renowned singers, baritone Jonathan Lemalu and soprano Gweneth-Ann Jeffers sang the roles of Porgy and Bess.  The concerts were conducted by David Stern, the recently appointed principal conductor of the St. Gallen Opera in Switzerland.


Excerpt from the press:  
Music as a Great Investment - The Menuhin Festival Gstaad enthused with South African a-cappella music and songs By George Gershwin

What the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra from Venezuela is in the sphere of instrumental music, Gauteng Choristers is for the culture of choral singing. The South African choir under the leadership of Sidwell Mhlongo integrates young people from socially modest environments and gives them a chance to embark on a career as musicians. A significant factor as for the international reputation of Gauteng Choristers is the choir’s collaboration with MIAGI (‘Music Is A Great Investment’), a ‘Cultural Foundation’ for South African musicians. Just how much of an investment it is, was demonstrated by Gauteng Choristers during the concert in the Gstaad Festival tent on Friday. The choir sang with impeccable balance and dynamic control. The traditional songs burst through with rhythmical energy and the choir instantly won the hearts of the members of the audience. With a natural approach and richness and power in sound showcased against Gershwin’s massive orchestration the vocal ensemble demonstrated its truly unique qualities. (Hanspeter Renggli - Der Bund, 3rd September)

MIAGI and Gauteng Choristers wish to thank our sponsors in Switzerland for generously sponsoring the choir’s return flights, South Africa – Switzerland, thus making this ground breaking and successful tour possible!

Further MIAGI wishes to express our sincerest gratitude to following institutions and organisation for all invaluable help, advice and support in organising the tour!

  • Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa
  • High Commission of South Africa
  • Embassy of South Africa in Bern, Switzerland
  • Altstätten Gospel Choir, Switzerland
  • Evangelical Church Altstätten, Switzerland


Success Story | Pretty Yende, 'La Musica'

Pretty Yende

The South African young University of Cape Town student, soprano Pretty Yende represented MIAGI at the international IIOP l’Orfeo competition winning first prize in the role of La Musica. The competition was held in February 2007 in Verona, Italy in commemoration of the 400 centenary of the first performance of this remarkable opera by Claudio Monteverdi to the libretto by Alessandro Striggio.

The IIOP competition taking place every second year with an opera in the Italian language as a theme, is arranged by Istituto Internationale per l’Opera e la Poesia in Verona (IIOP - International Institute of Opera and Poetry) in association with UNESCO Bresce - Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe. In 2005 another young South African singer representing MIAGI, Angela Kerrison, won first prize in the role of Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Apart from MIAGI, following international organisations and institutions were listed as collaborating partners: Fondazione Arena di Verona (Verona – Italy), Accademia Filarmonica (Verona - Italy),  Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana (Mantua – Italy), Fondazione Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (Rome - Italy), Hochschule fur Musik Franz Liszt (Weimar – Germany), International Institute of Vocal Arts (New York – USA), National State Opera (Budapest - Hungary), National Opera of Rijeka (Croatia), The State Tatar Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet (Kazan – Russian Federation), Wielki Teatr (Poznan - Poland), Seongnam Art Opera, Seoul Opera Theater (Seoul - Korea) and Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China).

64 singers of a total of over 250 candidates were invited to Verona where they were hosted by IIOP for the semi-final and final. The singers came from more than 15 countries from all over the world, and the members of the jury from over 10 countries. The jury included star soprano Raina Kabaivanska, tenor and legendary modern time portrayer of the role of Orfeo, Nigel Rogers and the President of the Scientific Committee of IIOP renowned theatre and opera stage-producer, Gianfranco De Bosio. South Africa was represented in the jury by Ingrid Hedlund, pianist and MIAGI Creative Manager. On February 24 a stage performance of l’Orfeo in Mantua at Teatro Bibiena presented the winners, on the day 400 years after the premiere of this remarkable opera took place in the same city in 1607. UNESCO has declared l'Orfeo one of the treasures of the world’s cultural heritage.

‘From my beloved Permessus, I come to you Illustrious heroes of noble, royal blood,
whose glorious deeds are told by Fame but cannot approach the truth, so high the aim.
I am Music, who with sweet sounds can sooth all troubled hearts and now with noble anger, now with love, can inflame the most frozen minds’. (from the prologue 'La Musica', libretto by Alessandro Striggio)


Sibongile Mngoma - UShaka Switzerland 2004