South Africa’s KZN Philharmonic Orchestra

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra is widely regarded as Africa’s leading orchestra. Their belief in the power of music having the ability to transcend all barriers – social, economic and racial – and unite people, is a driving force behind their success. The orchestra’s inaugural concert on 22 October 1983 in the Pietermaritzburg City Hall was the beginning of a journey that has brought the grandeur of a philharmonic orchestra to many people in South Africa who would never have had this opportunity if it weren’t for the initiative of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.


Every year the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra reaffirms its commitment to music excellence by performing a multitude of live concerts throughout KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa. They also actively promote an education and development program which encourages aspiring musicians in South Africa to reach their fullest potential.

The KZN Philharmonic’s National Cadetship Program focuses on assisting local artists to pursue a career as full-time musicians in South African orchestras. The Cadetship Program is open to all young musicians in South Africa, with the emphasis on assisting historically disadvantaged students. Candidates chosen for the Cadetship Program join the orchestra on a full-time basis for which they receive funding, while benefiting from individual lessons by senior orchestra musicians. The Cadetship Program has produced several highly talented and successful musicians who are enjoying their musical careers as part of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra as well as other orchestras throughout South Africa.

The Annual National Youth Concerto Festival sets the stage for the cream of young South African musicians to showcase their extraordinary level of talent with a program that brings out the multi-faceted beauty of classical music. This festival, in which many students of the KZN Philharmonic’s National Cadetship Program participate, is often the springboard for launching successful careers.

In addition to its renowned World Symphony Series, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra is invaluable in providing the music for a variety of ballet, musical theatre and opera productions.

The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra has the status of a not-for-profit company. Its board of directors consists of community leaders and prominent business people who all have an intense love of music and want to share this with others. The KZN Philharmonic Orchestra has the goal of encouraging South Africans to venture out of the comfort of their homes and embrace the exciting experience of attending a live orchestra performance.