SANYO launches wind ensemble course

The National Youth Orchestra Cape Town is presenting a winds, brass and percussion course in 2010 for the first time.

After almost half a century of commitment to young musicians, the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation (SANYOF) is the leader of the youth orchestral movement in the country. In 2010 there are series of courses designed to empower young South Africans with musical knowledge and imagination, and instil in them a love of music and a dedication to the highest standards of performance.

Traditionally the Sasol National Youth Orchestra Course has four ensembles: two symphony orchestras, a wind ensemble and a string orchestra. This year the course has been divided over three separate sessions: one for strings, one for winds, and one for symphony orchestra.

In June the National Youth Orchestra: Strings performed to great applause at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and then went on to Johannesburg for the annual Sasol Concert, a highlight in the classical music calendar. The city of Cape Town will now be host to the first ever stand-alone wind ensemble course in the Foundation’s history. They will perform in Cape Town, Parow and Franschhoek. The two symphony orchestras will meet in Durban in December for the Sasol National Youth Orchestra course.

Since the start of the South African National Wind Ensemble in 2005, world-renowned wind band experts and top South African musicians hailing from all parts of the country have led the ensemble to attain the high standard we see today. The National Youth Orchestra: Winds course aims to nurture and develop young wind and percussion players, and provide a platform for young musicians to perform the crème de la crème of wind band music in a professional environment. In South Africa, where church and field band groups have been a long standing tradition in many impoverished communities, it is an ideal opportunity to fully expand on the vast amount of talent we have and pave pathways to professional careers for our young musicians.

The conductor for the NYO: Winds, Bjørn Breistein, completed his studies at the Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen, and worked extensively as a soloist in his home country of Norway as well as in Europe. He began his career as a euphonium player in the Norwegian Brass Band and the Southern Military band. He studied conducting in Norway, the Czech Republic and Germany. Mr Breistein has conducted top wind bands in Norway, a country with a strong and well-respected wind band tradition. He brings with him to South Africa a love for contemporary music performance, and a wealth of knowledge in the field of wind band performance.

Among the many educational institutions represented at the NYO: Winds course is the Field Band Foundation, a long-standing partner of the National Youth Orchestra, which has grown into a nationwide initiative enabling more than three thousand young people in 21 bands to enhance their lives through music and movement. This year three Field Band Foundation members will take part as members of the NYO: Winds ensemble. Development is an essential part of the Foundation’s work, and as part of the development initiative, the NYO: Winds will perform a community concert at the Solms-Delta wine farm in Franschhoek on 3 October. The members of the wind band will also be exposed to the wonderful work done on the farm to preserve the music from the area, an initiative launched by the Delta Trust.

Look forward to a varied programme for the wind band, including firm favourites like Bernstein’s Overture to Candide, A Suite of Old American Dances by RR Bennett and Pineapple Pole by Arthur Sullivan. Exciting premieres include Hymn by South African composer Dan Selsick written especially for the ensemble as part of the SANYOF/NewMusicSA collaboration for emerging local composers, and a South African premiere of a work by the contemporary Norwegian composer Torstein Aargaard-Nilsen.

1 October, Groote Kerk, Cape Town at 20:00
2 October Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre Auditorium 19:00

Tickets will be available at the door and range in price from R50 – R100.

For more information on the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation please visit or phone 083 272 2117.

Media enquiries: Marius Coetzee, Media Relations, South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation, 072 338 2240.

Print-ready photographs of the orchestra are available for the press and images can also be downloaded directly from the website:


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