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The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO)

The Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) was formed in May 2000 by a group of committed and resilient musicians following the demise of the National Symphony Orchestra. It has continued to consistently perform regular series of Symphony Seasons, attracting the best international and local soloists and conductors, as well as being the orchestra of choice for State functions in Gauteng.

There is a sincere commitment to consistent high standards of performance, with the aim of not only delivering quality performances to audiences, but also establishing the bench mark for aspirant musicians, not only those who are tutored through the JPO’s own educational arm (the Academy) but to those who perform in the many youth orchestras and ensembles around Gauteng and elsewhere.

The JPO strives to be nationally and internationally recognized as the country’s leading philharmonic orchestra, and to ensure the ongoing sustainability and growth of music traditions, nurturing the accessibility of music to a broader community.

It also endeavors to challenge the prevailing perception of classical music performances being elitist and Euro-centric by appealing to a truly egalitarian local audience, performing music that incorporates the greatest examples of both classical and South African music genres.

                                            Patron: His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa

Board of Directors

Justice Dikgang Moseneke (Chairman) Bongani Tembe (Chief Executive & Artistic Director) 
Stephen Jurisich Busi Mabuza 
Mandla Nkomfe  Nonkululeko Nyembezi 
Seith Phalatse  Mahmoud Rajab  
Malcolm Segal  Colin Smith


Administrative Staff:

Bongani Tembe

Chief Executive & Artistic Director

Polina Burdukova

Artistic Administrator

Selishia Govender – Personal Assistant 
Rosie Katz – Subscriptions and Ticket Sales
Patricia Mampani - Office Administrator
Matthew Downey – Librarian and Percussionist
Vivian Corrêa-Pretorius –Marketing and Operations Coordinator


Notable past achievements and activities.

  • 2000


    During 2000, the JPO utilized its own scant resources to present 15 concerts that included international guest conductors and world-renowned soloists.

    Since inception, the JPO has presented Symphony Seasons every year, mostly with the assistance of corporate sponsorship, individual donations, receipts from ticket sales, and, latterly, its principal funder, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.


    In 2004, the JPO released the internationally acclaimed world premiere recording of the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Violin Concerto.

    In the same year, the JPO commissioned and performed the world premiere of ‘A Mandela Portrait’ in recognition of the 10 years of democracy in South Africa. The work was later recorded and broadcast by SABC 2 on 1 December 2004 – World Aids Day.

  • 2007


    In 2007, the JPO became a full-time orchestra with permanent musicians on annual contracts.

    The JPO performed at the Union Buildings on 2009 for the Inauguration of President Jacob Zuma.



    In 2009, the JPO was awarding funding for a three year period by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.In 2009, the JPO provided recordings for the opening and closing ceremonies of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

    In 2010, the JPO was asked once again to provide recordings for the FIFA World Cup opening and closing ceremonies.

  • 2011


    2011 saw the JPO collaborate with the popular act, Die Antwoord, at the South African Music Awards.

    In addition to the symphony concerts, the JPO has performed:

    Queen: The Concert

    The Jo’burg Pops concerts

    The Jacaranda Pops concerts

    ‘La Traviata’ and ‘La Boheme’ for Opera Africa

    ‘Carmina Burana’ for the German Government’s celebration of 10 years of democracy in South Africa

    ‘Faure’s Requiem’ for RAU

    The ‘Marriage Of Figaro’ at the State Theatre, Pretoria.  


    The JPO has also prominently featured in TV advertisements for both Standard Bank and Old Mutual.

    A grant of R 12,5M was approved by the National Lottery Development Trust Fund in July 2013, and enabled the JPO to continue with its operations.

    In 2013, the JPO performed with a number of choral music societies, including the finals of the SAPS National Unity Festival.

    Also in 2013, the JPO also appeared at the Teatro at Montecasino in the Cirque de la Symphonie shows; performed the world premiere of ‘Credo – A Musical testament to the Freedom Charter” at UNISA, and appeared at the “Long Walk To Freedom’ film premiere in Johannesburg, and at the opening of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City.

  • 2014


    In 2014, the JPO continued with the tradition of performing Symphony Seasons, but also performed at the Miracle Drive event in Sandton, the Melting Pot Choral Competition in Mpumalanga, and backed hip hop artist Nas at the Castle Lite Extra Cold Concert in Centurion.

    The orchestra travelled to Azerbaijan in late July and performed 6 concerts, to great acclaim, at the Gabala International Music Festival – the first international performances by the JPO.

    Now in its 15th year, the JPO’s musicians remain passionate about seeing classical and orchestral music not only survive, but thrive in Gauteng and elsewhere.