Decoda, Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, Set for South African Tour

Decoda, Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, Set for South African Tour
The Decoda Ensemble
Photo credit: Caroline Bittencourt

An innovative set of partnerships between South African music organisations and the Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall will bring a series of exciting workshops, performances and residencies to South Africa in June.

Decoda is a New York-based chamber collective that is the First Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall as well as the Resident Ensemble in Creative Performance at the Guildhall School in London. Featuring some of America's top classical chamber musicians, it is dedicated to bringing meaningful musical experiences to a diverse range of audiences through engaging performances and interactive concerts, with the aim of connecting people through music, inspiring creativity and celebrating community and identity.

Established in 2012, Decoda's projects and performances have taken place in the United Kingdom, Germany, Abu Dhabi, Iceland, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, and across the United States.

During June 2017, with the support of the Econet Foundation, Decoda is partnering with South African orchestras, universities, music organisations and NPOs for the first time, to tour with performances and workshops in Gauteng, the Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape. The tour will culminate with the launch of the Decoda Institute South Africa (DISA) Residency, in collaboration with the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival. James Austin Smith, the co-artistic director of Decoda, comments on the programme, an in-depth music performance and learning residency with an emphasis on providing young musicians with communication and engagement skills that will enable them to bring classical music to new communities and the next generation:

I have visited South Africa for the past seven years and am always inspired by the level of musicality and expertise I encountered in the country.

It has been a dream to bring the Decoda team here to collaborate with the wealth of South African talent and to share our music with audiences at various concerts and community engagement workshops. We hope to establish long-lasting connections that will plant seeds for future collaborations and we are especially excited about the launch of the DISA residency.

Music has the power to connect people and build self-confidence. Our interactive workshops are designed for people, and youth especially, to explore chamber music as enjoyment and inspire them about this style of music.

Partners for the tour include Miagi Centre for Music in Soweto, Johannesburg Youth Orchestra, Gauteng Opera, Durban Music School, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Johannesburg Orchestras, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, Parow.

The tour begins in Gauteng and the Free State, with a workshop and interactive performance at the Cape Gate Miagi Centre for Music in Soweto on 11 June. A residency with the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra will follow on 12 June, with Decoda Concert at the Etienne Rousseau Theatre in Sasolburg on 13 June. Further Decoda performances, with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra at Linder Auditorium, will be played on 14 and 15 June.

The Kwa-Zulu Natal leg of the tour kicks off with an interactive performance at Durban Music School on 17 June. A Decoda Concert at the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg follows on 18 June, with a Decoda performance with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra at Playhouse Opera Theatre hot on its heels on 22 June.

In the Western Cape, a Decoda concert at Endler Hall in Stellenbosch takes place on 24 June, which is also the first day of the DISA residency at Stellenbosch University, which ends on 28 June. At midday on the last day of the residency, a DISA Community Performance will take place in Khayelitsha, with a DISA Creative Performance at the Youngblood Gallery in Cape Town that evening at 19:30. On 29 June, a teaching an performance residency will take place at Hugo Lambrecht's Music Centre in Parow.

For further information about the tour dates and bookings, visit the Decoda Music website.

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