Victor Ntoni’s vision lives on in a youth orchestra, the Mzansi Youth Ensemble, poised to launch at the State Theatre at the end of March 2015.
Mzansi Youth Ensemble launches with a tribute to its founder Victor Ntoni.
Whether he was on the lookout for new talent, mentoring young musicians, or paying tribute to trailblazing composers of choral, jazz or traditional hymns, Victor Ntoni remains one of South Africa’s musical giants. His initiative the Gauteng Music Development is launching a 24-piece music ensemble accordingly with his dream
Featuring an 18-piece big band and six singers and called the Mzansi Music Ensemble, it’s led by the seasoned jazz trumpeter Prince Lengoasa, who is also its creative director. The first instalment of the Mzansi Music Ensemble will be staged at the State Theatre, Tshwane, from March 25-28, will be dedicated to the maestro, Ntoni.
Already meeting its promise to continue shaping a music legacy in the young minds, the Mzansi Music Ensemble will unveil its first prodigy by the name of Siyabonga Zwane, a saxophonist whose raw hungry talent is being harnessed by his mentor on the project, the legendary Barney Rachabane. Siya has already shown promise as a rising star with an equally moving story to share as an orphaned youngster who has found his purpose in music. South Africans are warned to hold their breath for his untethered passion, and versatile gift as an improviser.
Victor was last year posthumously awarded the Presidential Order of Ikhamanga for his 40 years of excellent contribution and achievements in the South African music industry. His 2004 Heritage album was nominated for the South African Music Awards (SAMA) in the best contemporary jazz album category.
Other musicians who are part of the ensemble include the young lions Mthunzi Mvubu, Sisonke Xonti and seasoned vocalist Suthukazi Arosi. The Mzansi Music Ensemble will perform from 25-28 March 2015 at the State Theatre. Tickets are available for R250 at Computicket, Corporate packages are also available.
The following months will be devoted to great composers such as Sandile Shange, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Ntemi Piliso, Miriam Makeba and many others. It was always Ntoni’s vision to have such an ensemble. During the last years of his life he wrote big band scores that were never performed, and these will now finally be heard in the upcoming series of performances.