About This Concert:
Experience the spirit of ubuntu, the interconnectedness of humanity, as the Minnesota Orchestra prepares for its South Africa tour with the premiere of Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Harmonia Ubuntu and Beethoven’s Ninth’s glorious Ode to Joy.
- Minnesota Orchestra
- Osmo Vänskä, conductor
- Goitsemang Oniccah Lehobye, soprano
- Minette du Toit-Pearce, mezzo
- Siyabonga Maqungo, tenor
- Njabulo Madlala, baritone
- Minnesota Chorale
Symphony No. 9, Choral
- This performance marks the world premiere of Harmonia Ubuntu by Bongani Ndodana-Breen, specially co-commissioned by the Orchestra and Classical Movements to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.
- Ndodana-Breen speaks about how Mandela inspired this work’s creation, writing that he “was the exemplar of the African values of ubuntu—the knowledge that one's humanity is tied to the humanity of others or humanity towards others. Harmony has the obvious musical connotations. Ubuntu is a form of harmony.”
- The four soloists at this performance are South African; and will travel and perform with the Orchestra on their South Africa tour.
- Music Director Osmo Vänskä’s remarkable experience conducting the South African National Youth Orchestra (SANYO) in 2014 was a driving force behind planning this trip to South Africa.
- Inspired by the activism and leadership of the Mandela family, Ndodana-Breen is also the composer of Winnie, The Opera, based on the life of Nelson’s wife Winnie.
- During World War I, German POWs introduced Beethoven’s Ninth to Japan, where it became so well loved that it is now a Japanese tradition to perform the symphony during New Year’s celebration.
- In 1972, the Council of Europe made the glorious Ode to Joy of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony its official anthem. Years later, the European Union did the same.