Central Africa’s Kinshasha Symphony celebrates 20th anniversary with U.K. tour

Posted on: September 10, 2014

“In spite—or because—of being based in a city that counts among the poorest, most dysfunctional in the world today, L’Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste is not just Central Africa’s only symphony orchestra but a vital lifeline in its community,” writes John Allison in Tuesday’s (9/9) Telegraph (London, U.K.). “Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it was first put on the international map in 2010 by the German film ‘Kinshasa Symphony.’ … This week … 100 members of the group arrive in the UK for its biggest tour abroad yet [Sept. 11-16], working alongside British orchestras in a project initiated by the Southbank Centre in a national partnership with major input from the Hallé in Manchester…. The Symphonie Tata Kimbangu is one of the home-grown works (composed by violinist Héritier Mayimbi and bassoonist Johnny Balongi) featuring in the orchestra’s repertoire as it attempts to fuse African inspiration with Western classics. The programmes it is bringing here reflect a similar mix, and include Congolese music as well as parts of Beethoven’s Ninth and Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.” The article explains the derivation of “Kimbanguiste” in the orchestra’s name (known in English as Kinshasha Symphony Orchestra) and describes how the orchestra aims to be a “bridge between the African and Western worlds.”

Posted September 10, 2014