International musicians to perform at Bulawayo Music Festival


Nokuthula Ngwenya was born in the United States but her father comes from Bulawayo.

AMERICAN violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, German cello player Theo Bross and the Odeion String Quartet from South Africa are among the musicians participating during the five day Bulawayo Music Festival which begins next week on Wednesday.

Also participating in the largely classical music festival, which is sponsored by NMB Bank, are United Kingdom pianists Coady Green, Leslie Howard and Christopher Smith.

Local musicians and groups taking part include Heuglin Tenors from Harare and the Impumelelo Shining Stars from Bulawayo. Various local dance and vocal groups, including school groups, will also be participating.

Nokuthula Ngwenya was born in the United States but her father comes from Bulawayo. He left Zimbabwe during the Rhodesian UDI years.

This year’s festival will be the ninth. The first Bulawayo Music Festival took place in 1997 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra, the 20th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra and the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the railway in Bulawayo. It was so successful that it has become a regular event. The festival is normally held every two years.

The main purpose of the festival is to bring pleasure through the performance of great music to the highest possible standards and to inspire local musicians of all ages.

There will be about 10 classical music concerts during the festival, as well as a series of DVDs commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

The festival includes solo violin, cello and piano recitals.It provides an opportunity to experience performances that are rare in Zimbabwe, such as piano trios and quintets and string quartets, quintets and sextets.

In addition to the concerts there will also be workshops and lessons so that students can benefit from working with top class professional musicians.

NMB marketing manager Lindiwe Thebethebe said the bank’s regular sponsorship of the festival was inspired by its desire to promote the arts industry.

“Our hope is that our local musicians’ interaction with and exposure to the music at the festival will encourage them to broaden the scope of their own music and promote an interest in classical music.

”In many countries, the arts contribute to the national economy. We believe that the arts industry could do the same for us here in Zimbabwe,” she said.

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