May 19, 2021

Princeton Symphony Orchestra Presents Final Buskaid Concert

FABULOUS FINALE: The last program in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s virtual “Buskaid, a Musical Miracle” series includes a performance of a portion of Shostakovich’s “Five Pieces for Two Violins,” substituting cellos. The players are Gilbert Tsoke and Nathi Matroos. (Photo by Graham De Lacy)

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents the fifth and final installment of this season’s online “Buskaid – A Musical Miracle” series showcasing South Africa’s Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble. The program is available on demand Friday, May 28 – Sunday, May 30, and spans musical eras from Baroque through Classical and early 20th century to more recent pop and kwela music.

Performed works include Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Chaconne from the opera Dardanus, the first movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 in C Major, K. 415 with guest pianist Melvyn Tan, and Edward Elgar’s Sospiri, Op. 70. Buskaid-trained musicians alternate as soloists in each of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins, adding a twist by substituting cellists for violins in the Elegy. Buskaid founder Rosemary Nalden conducts.

“It’s almost impossible to sum up in a few words the impact of this online concert series on all of us at Buskaid,” said Nalden. “Suffice it to say that our young musicians have gained hugely in confidence and self-esteem with the knowledge that they have been celebrated worldwide for their talent, their commitment, and their sheer joy in making music.”

She adds, “Our debt to the PSO is inestimable, for they have brought a sense of optimism and hope into our lives during very challenging times.”

Guest pianist Melvyn Tan established his international reputation with performances on the fortepiano. He has a large repertoire from Bach and Scarlatti to Liszt, Debussy, Stravinsky, and John Cage. His concerto partners have included the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Salzburg’s Camerata and Mozarteum orchestras, Melbourne Symphony, and more.

Buskaid’s instrumental soloists Kabelo Monnathebe, Tshidiso Boikanyo, Cecelia Manyama, Keabetswe Goodman, Gilbert Tsoke, Nathi Matroos, Thokozani Radebe, Khotso Langa, Mzwandile Twala, and Simiso Radebe, and all the musicians making up the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble received rigorous, multi-year training at the Buskaid Music School in Soweto before joining Buskaid’s touring ensemble.

Access to each concert is $5 per unique device link, and includes on-demand viewing of the concert over the course of a three-day weekend. To purchase, call (609) 497-0020 or visit