Music for Mandela

Bringing The World Together Through Music

During the tour, Music Director Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra will engage in two side-by-side rehearsals with young musicians, the first in Cape Town (August 11) with members of the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, an ensemble founded in 2004 to provide quality training for young musicians in the Western Cape. Side-by-side rehearsals offer an opportunity for students to play next to their professional counterparts, sharing a music stand and rehearsal experience together.

In Pretoria, Vänskä and the Orchestra will partner for an immersive residency with the South African National Youth Orchestra (SANYO), an ensemble that draws talented young players from across South Africa and the continent of Africa. The residency will include a side-by-side rehearsal (Aug 15), master classes, and shared dinner experience, as well as opportunities for SANYO students to attend Orchestra rehearsals and concerts.

The Orchestra will also partner with the University of Pretoria to offer exchanges and master classes with music students, and participate in additional education projects with the Cape Music Institute in Athlone and with young musicians in Umlazi Township.

Cape Town Youth Philharmonic Orchestra

South African National Youth Orchestra

Music for Mandela

Bringing The World Together Through Music

Osmo Vänskä leads the music of Beethoven and Bongani Ndodana-Breen.


The Minnesota Orchestra will embark on a five-city tour to South Africa in August 2018, planned in partnership with Classical Movements. Offered as part of the world-wide celebration of Nelson Mandela's Centenary, the tour will draw together South African and American performers and music, offering musical exchanges with student groups and large-scale performances in colleges, city halls and churches. Read the press release.

Sommerfest, Minneapolis Jul 13 – Aug 1, 2018

Minnesota audiences will be the first to experience the “Music for Mandela” project as part of the Orchestra’s annual Sommerfest, which will explore musical expressions of peace, freedom and reconciliation. The Festival will include an International Day of Music, special guest speakers and South African musicians. Sommerfest details will be announced on March 2.

South Africa Tour Aug 10 – 18, 2018

Vänskä and the Orchestra will subsequently depart for a five-city tour of South Africa, marking the first visit by a professional U.S. orchestra to South Africa. The concerts will showcase music that derives from both South African, American and European musical traditions, ranging from Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies to a world premiere by South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, commissioned by Classical Movements and written in tribute to Mandela.

The Minnesota Orchestra’s tour is funded by generous contributions from an anonymous couple.

The Minnesota Orchestra recognizes the Douglas and Louise Leatherdale Fund for Music supporting the work of Osmo Vänskä.

Tour Partners

Music for Mandela Corporate Consortium Sponsors

The Minnesota Orchestra is going to the great Minnesota get-together this year! We will be performing, giving out buttons, and getting to know all of you better. Full schedule & locations:

Minnesota Public Radio booth
corner of Judson and Nelson
Fri Aug 29 8am-5pm

MN AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion
corner of Dan Patch and Cooper
FREE Performances by Minnesota Orchestra Musicians:
Sat Aug 30 10am & 11am / Sun Aug 31 11:30am

KARE 11 Morning Show
corner of Judson and Nelson
FREE Performances by Minnesota Orchestra Musicians:
Sat Aug 30 8:45am

Buttons will also be available for pick up at Orchestra Hall Stage Door and our administrative offices in International Centre (click for hours and directions) while supplies last.

If your high school is interested in hosting the Minnesota Orchestra for a Symphonic Adventures concert during the 2018-19 school year, please see the map below to verify that you are in our current service area and then fill out the short request form. Thank you!

Symphonic Adventures Request

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Due to funding restrictions, we can currently only serve schools within the blue circled area below.

Anthony Ross

The Minnesota Orchestra supports other non-profit organizations through our Ticket Donations Program. We donate hundreds of tickets per year to area non-profit organizations that support civic outreach, education or the arts.

More information and application for tickets »