A new image, vision and world-class line up for the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra is set to raise its profile after years of financial woes.
Bongani Tembe, maverick CEO and artistic director of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, has pulled in some of the biggest names in the country for the relaunch of the embattled orchestra.
Not only have finances been turned around, but the orchestra's rebrand ahead of the upcoming season is inspiring confidence in its future.
At a press conference held in Johannesburg on Tuesday at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Tembe also announced big news about JPO's new board members, which includes big hitters. These include the former Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Dikgang Moseneke, and Nonkululeko Nyembzi, Chairman of the JSE.
"It's important that Johannesburg, like all great cities around the world, should have a sustainable world-class orchestra and a vibrant cultural scene." said Nyembzi. She also expressed a great of support for Tembe, who is also CEO of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tembe told HuffPost SA from Rosebank, "In the last few years the JPO experienced some business challenges, and it went into business rescue, and so they tried a few things, none of which worked. I was approached by the JPO board who explained that they are almost at the end of the road, and asked if I would like to assist."
"At the time I was running the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic, which I had been running since 1994. Discussions continued, and it was decided that the two orchestras should share a strategic plan, and so in 2015 the two organizations established an agreement, and I was appointed as joint CEO." he added.
"When I was appointed the first thing was to clear all the legacy issues. It was in business rescue, owed SARS R7 million, things like that. But JPO is now out of business rescue, with the help of big sponsorships, and partnerships, and now we have a new board of highly credible business and political figures, a new vision, mandate, community programs, and we relaunch to the public with our new season at a major international concert held in Johannesburg next week.
"We also have a new image. It's a whole new JPO." He said.
At the press conference audiences were surprised by the announcement of a new look for the JPO. Inspired by the rhythm of Johannesburg, Tembe explains, the new logo's and corporate identity looked to Johannesburg landmarks for guidance. The Nelson Mandela Bridge in the inner-city was selected as an ideal symbol of the JPO's new philosophy of bringing communities together. The new logo brings together the bridge, and the rhythm of a conductor's hands in a swirling graphic, centred by the iconic towers of the bridge.
Later in August the JPO will present a special concert featuring superstar American conductor Roderick Cox, and Russian-American pianist Olga Kern. The African-themed opera Aida will raise the curtain on the night, along with other masterpieces like Tchaikovsy's Piano Concerto No 1 in B-flat minor, and his famous Symphony No 4.