There is light at the end of the tunnel for the Wits resident, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) who have been in business rescue for the past 2 and a half years.
“I can say with complete confidence that by the end of March we will come out of business rescue” said the Chief Executive Officer, Duncan Gibbon, following their performance last night.
The orchestra performed at the Linder auditorium on the Education campus, showing off an array of talent. Some of the artists included international guest pianist Pallavi Mahidhara, who made her orchestral debut at age 10 and has performed solo and in orchestral concerts in the United States, Russia, South Africa, South America, Europe and China.
Gibbon has been with JPO since 2012 entering as he puts it when the organisation was “in the depths of despair.” A new rescue plan was approved by accreditors in late February which agreed on a new settlement. The new settlement will see the orchestra emerge free of debt by the end of this month, thanks to sacrifices made by the creditors who many are the musicians themselves.
Once JPO emerges out of business rescue the process of applying for funding from government institutions and corporates can begin, who have been reluctant in the past because of the debt.
Gibbon added that the standard of musicianship and the continuous growth of our audiences say there is a future for the orchestra. Many more people of different ages and races are coming to the performances where before it used to be a very definitely aging audience.
JPO Moved from the city hall which was the conventional performing venue for the orchestra to Wits in 2002.
According to Gibbon there is high interaction between the orchestra and the Wits students, but particularly on Wednesday mornings when any students can attend the open rehearsal at a special student rate of R50.
Gibbon said The JPO has a lovely relationship with Wits, the Planetarium contributing to Thursday night’s performance as only one example of how interaction is taking place.
“[The JPO is] almost becoming part of the Wits family, which is a lovely feeling.”