I have been working with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic on an almost weekly basis since 2009. A registered not-for-profit organization, they are dedicated to introducing classical music to as many people as possible and so their look changes quite often. My challenge has been to meet the brief to appeal to new and diverse audiences while still maintaining brand integrity.
The orchestra has earned a reputation for excellence and innovation and I’ve created graphics for an interesting mix of KZN Philharmonic-branded concerts as well as once-off performances and partnerships, which are aimed at different target audiences and require unique imagery.
For the first few years the visuals were rich and layered to reflect the essence of the classical music experience, but more recently the focus has been on clean layouts, making use of white space whenever the budget affords us this luxury.
The Orchestra is committed to making classical music accessible to all South Africans and each year they produce three World Symphony Series seasons, affording Durbanites the opportunity to enjoy high-caliber international and local artists for as little as R50. These Seasons each require a great deal of marketing material including street posters, magazine and newspaper adverts, email footers, print and electronic flyers, subscriber tickets, programmes, brochures and electronic display slides.
Widely regarded as Africa’s premier orchestra, prestigious collaborations have included concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, ALMA Chamber Orchestra on their World Tour for Unity, The World Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and an exciting Mandela Day concert in Paris, the programme for which needed to be produced in both English and French.
The KZN Philharmonic has brought international stars like Renée Fleming, Sarah Chang and Joshua Bell to the Durban City Hall stage and hosted the Zurich Chamber Orchestra in concert with members of the South African National Youth Orchestra. In 2014 they partnered with the acclaimed Cirque de le Symphonie for performances in Durban and Johannesburg.
The Orchestra has performed repeatedly at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and at the Starlight Pop Opera in conjunction with First National Bank.
They also dedicate time and energy to enriching the cultural life of the local community. Special concerts have included a Human Rights Day Choral Extravaganza, collaborations with Universities and free performances in rural areas and shopping malls.
In addition to its community engagement concerts, the Orchestra offers education and rural residency programmes. These incorporate arts exposure, skills training and classical music performance opportunities that contribute to the ongoing sustainability and growth of this art form in South Africa.
The KZN Philharmonic is committed to nurturing South African talent. They often invite local choirs to perform with them, and provide a career path for young musicians through the National Cadetship Programme. Cadets receive weekly lessons from the principal players of their sections, in addition to on-going rehearsals and performances with the full orchestra. The programme has produced more than thirty professional musicians who are employed in South Africa and abroad.