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MICHAEL HANKINSON (article first published : 2004-09-12)

Durban music-lovers will remember Michael Hankinson who spent many years in the city, appearing in numerous musical events both at the Playhouse and the City Hall.

For the past two years, he has been Conductor and Music Advisor to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra which has now named him Conductor Laureate and Composer-in-Residence.

The members of the company, comprised largely of itsfounding musicians, appointed Michael to this combined position in recognition of his considerable services to the JPO since he became formally involved with the orchestra.

"Michael's special contribution lies in his vision and creativity in helping to build the JPO brand to be recognised as a truly professional symphony orchestra in an environment of many negative challenges," said Sara Gon, Managing Director of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

Michael's marketing and creative prowess has led to the opportunity for the JPO to record the world-premier recording of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto with violinist Philippe Graffin. This recording has been the pre-eminent success for recording company Avie Records and has achieved unprecedented acclaim in the UK, South Africa and now in the USA.

In addition, Michael composed for the JPO A Mandela Portrait as a tribute to South Africa’s former president in honour of the country’s 10th anniversary of democracy. The work premiered in Johannesburg in March 2004 and is to be recorded for international release before the end of the year. A further six performances of the work have since been presented in the USA.

Michael was invited to conduct a production of Princess Magogo, the first Zulu opera which he arranged for composer Mzilikazi Khumalo, as the opening event at the prestigious Ravinia Festival in Chicago for its 100th anniversary.




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