Johannesburg Festival Orchestra (JFO)


The Johannesburg Festival Orchestra made its debut in concert with Julian Lloyd-Webber at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre in 1998. The musicians were all key members of the National Symphony Orchestra, the State Theatre Orchestra and the National Chamber Orchestra, all of which had been recently disbanded. This orchestra is unique in the South African context, because of its versatility. In any given week, the musicians can be called upon to play school concerts in Soweto, while at the same time rehearsing for big outdoor pops concerts, and preparing for overseas artists such as Joshua Bell and Lynn Harrell.

The orchestra's management and musicians are committed to bringing music to as wide an audience as possible. They believe that the youth of South Africa will be the audiences and performers of the future, and are doing as much as they can to educate and touch the lives of as many South Africans as possible through live performances, television and radio.

Some prominent overseas artists accompanied by JFO to date include: Pavarotti, Helmut Lotti, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman, the 3 Tenors, Il Divo and Kanye West. The JFO have been the guest orchestra at the Maitisong Festival in Gaborone, Botswana, for the past seven years and regard it as one of the highlights of their annual calendar. Local TV broadcasts include 'Starlight Classics' (winner of a Raptor Award in 2002 and a SAFTA award 2007), 'Woza Xmas', 'Sewende Laan Ball', and the NationBuilding Massed Choir Festival. Annual concerts include the 702 Zoo concert (17 to date), Last Night of the Proms (12th year), outreach concerts in Eldorado Park (9th year). They are also the Orchestra-in-Residence at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, and have performed shows such as 'Rock Legends', 'Rat Pack and The Merry Widow', 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' and 'Simply Ballroom'. They have recorded two 'Starlight Classics' CDs and the Bala Brothers' recent CD. In recent years, the JFO accompanied the South African Ballet Theatre in 'Swan Lake', 'The Nutcracker', 'La Traviata', 'Giselle' and 'Romeo and Juliet', and most recently played for the William Kentridge production of Mozart’s 'Magic Flute', to excellent reviews. From 2005 to 2007 the JFO was proud to be the Orchestra-in-Residence National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

ZAJohannesburg, South Africa
In operation since: 


Paul Rodgers
Profile added by DJ Okapi on 14 Aug 2014