From the first time I heard the African Youth Ensemble it was obvious
that a miracle was taking place in Soweto: the dedication, vision
and talents of one extraordinary person were giving youngsters a
tangible goal and a new meaning to their lives, and the tools and
training possible to become serious musicians. That person is Kolwane
Most of the finest string players in South Africa have been trained
by him, they have gone on to join major orchestras, including the
best in South Africa, and some go on to teach other young students.
Their commitment and love for music is so apparent when one sees
and hears them - these young people spend every afternoon and weekend
taking lessons, rehearsing, and performing great music.
When I was in SA last year under the auspices of the Austrian Embassy
I had been taken to listen to the AYE and was asked by Kolwane to
spend an afternoon with the students and give them some guidance
and professional "pointers". I was touched and amazed
at the remarkably high level of musicianship in these young people,
who all clearly were thoroughly enjoying every moment of their time.
Although the AYE receives no public or private funding, this program
offers musical training on stringed instruments to children and
young people (from age 4-30) at no charge to the students.
The Ensemble has performed in major venues throughout the country
and abroad and has played with members of the English Chamber Orchestra
and with violinist Maxim Vengerov.
As the culmination of our intensive workshop, we performed five
Vivaldi cello concertos in concerts at the Pretoria State Theatre
and at the Joburg ProMusica Theatre.
In addition to a documentary film (by award-winning filmmaker Stefan
Lukacs) and an audio CD (David Krut Taxi Projects) soon to be released,
there was a flurry of media activity concerning the workshop, the
new instruments we arranged to have donated to the AYE, and our
SABC TV (television interview)
Music Today (radio interview)
Mail and Guardian (newspaper interview and photo shoot)
Classical Feel (magazine interview)
The Sowetan (newspaper)
David Krut Publishing (online news publication of projects undertaken
with the support of David Krut)
Photojournalist Eva-Lotta Jansson (photo shoot)
Live Out Loud (magazine interview and photo shoot)
Press Conference with the Austrian Ambassador and Minister
For a week in Cape Town, with the support of the Austrian Consul
General, I was giving master classes at Cape Town University, the
Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and at Artscape (an outreach
and educational organization working with young people from townships
and the inner city.)