MIAGI ‐ Music is a great Investment, ‘Uniting the Power of Classical, Indigenous and Jazz’ – is a South African section 21 (not‐for‐profit) company established in 2001 with support of the Department of Arts and Culture.

MIAGI invests in human capacity through music. Human capacity is the only way to sustainability and sustainability is economic growth.

MIAGI’s mission therefore is to:

  • contribute to social upliftment

MIAGI promotes music education for children and youth as an effective tool for social upliftment. Studies world-wide show that music education and participation in musical activities are the right tools to awaken young people’s creative vocation, promote social development and community cohesion, develop life skills and enhance career opportunities.

  • create job opportunities

MIAGI empowers South African young people through our extensive music education programmes and by arranging national and international events and tours as a platform for our young beneficiaries to showcase their skills. The MIAGI platform offers a space for creative experimenting, leading to new South African music styles that are overwhelmingly well received by audiences and media alike.

  • address the issue of ethnic relations

MIAGI ‘unites the power of classical, indigenous and jazz’ and thus offers a key to positive social development and to deep understanding between people across all borders. Through this platform for intercultural creative dialogue, MIAGI further brings young people, artists and audiences together that would otherwise never meet.

  • promote a unique new form of South African music

During our recent, extensive international tours (2009, 2012 and 2014), MIAGI has shown how its ingenious young members, when given the right kind of opportunities, are capable of composing and performing  fabulous, fun and funky new music. They do this by uniting Western classical, jazz and African indigenous music forms, as well as other music forms and styles that in various ways are relevant to the young South African of today, such as hip hop, rap, rock and pop.

  • promote South Africa internationally through music

The positive impact of a South African group of young people representing all layers of our rainbow society, performing together joyfully at a level that matches highest international standards, cannot be stressed enough.

  • consolidate the South African constitution and deepen our understanding of the principles which underpin it

MIAGI strives to create an environment of non-racialism and contributes to an equitable society as well as to poverty reduction in the long-term. MIAGI strengthens its work by carefully selected collaborations with individuals and organisations outside the circles of music that work towards the same goals, thus complementing and reinforcing MIAGI.


the MIAGI Youth Orchestra & MIAGI New Skool Orchestra, the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music on the premises of the Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto, MIAGI Pre‐school and Day care centre Music Training Programme for Children, the MIAGI Mentor & Protégé Programme – a Programme for Excellency, the MIAGI Indigenous Music Programme and the MIAGI Intercultural Programme


The South African Department of Arts and Culture in collaboration with MIAGI- download highlights pdf - Collaboration projects from 2001 until today here

Meet the MIAGI Team here

Presentation of MIAGI Creative Manager Ingrid Hedlund - Classic Woman (Classic Feel Magazine 2013) here

Read about 10 Years with MIAGI, download the 2010 - MIAGI Ten Years pdf

Email us at MIAGI

Since 2001, MIAGI has produced international, intercultural events ‘uniting the power of classical indigenous and jazz’ in collaborations with dazzling soloists and ensembles from South Africa and abroad. Among them, Maxim Vengerov, Thikundwi kha Sialala, Bruce Cassidy, Fazil Say, Miriam Makeba, the MIAGI Youth Orchestra & Youth BigBand, Sibongile Khumalo, Soweto String Quartet, Louis Moholo, Irene Schweizer, Madosini, the Ngqoko Women, Sergei Nakariakov, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the English Chamber Orchestra to mention just a few.

MIAGI has for the past fourteen years wowed fans across South Africa with its exciting events, celebrating the unity in diversity of our musical heritage by fusing distinctly African with Western classical sounds.


Miriam Portrait

In 2004 and 2005, MIAGI had the honour and joy of working with Mama Africa, and to experience her exemplary artistry, paired with an immaculate professionalism and righteousness - the three corner stones that make a truly great artist and human.

Realising the MIAGI idea would not have been possible without generous and compassionate support from our international star-guests.

Thank you!



Read about MIAGI's partners, our generous funders and sponsors at our Sponsors Page

We are grateful to the NLDTF's Arts and Culture Distribution Agency for allocating a multi year funding grant to MIAGI!

MIAGI has throughout the years frequently received generous funding through the NLDTF. Without your support, a large number of all the initiatives, projects and events documented on this website would not have been possible.

Five major components form MIAGI's music education programme:


CMCM is MIAGI's centre for music education, located at the premises of the Morris Isaacson High School. CMCM also serves as an important community centre.


Children entering the building for music lessons at CMCM


Apart from playful singing and dancing, the participating children are offered elementary music literacy training, and as instruments we have introduced pennywhistles, xylophones and djembes. The programme is running at Pre Schools and Day Care Centres in Soweto. The CMCM music teachers are on weekdays visiting Siyacathula Day Care, Asha Pre-School, Peaceful Day Care, Salvation Army Crèche, Seoding Pre School and Morris Isaacson Crèche.


MIAGI's youth orchestra and ensembles work grew out of the need of formations for youth studying within the many developmental music education initiatives that MIAGI has partnered with and supported since 2001.  The members are guided by some of the very best tutors and conductors and come from all ethnic and social backgrounds. There is no cost to individual participants and MIAGI arranges orchestra courses and international tours as well as other performance opportunities for the young musicians.

To get a picture of the quality of our youth orchestra work, please follow these links:

article about our MIAGI Yout & New Skool Orchestra tour of Europe 2014 written by Allister Sparks and published in Business Day on 30 July 2014.

MIAGI video from the 2014 tour (click on the icon): - MIAGI Youth Orchstra: Shostakovich - Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra, conductor: Brandon Phillips

Front Article that was published in STAR TONIGHT in connection with our MIAGI Youth Orchestra tour of Europe 2012.

MIAGI Youth Orchestra at Konzerthaus Berlin 2012



Our support for African Indigenous Music is on-going and we are supporting these initiatives by financial assistance for transport, attire and the making of instruments. These groups are supported to practice their own music but constantly inspired to go into projects with a strong emphasis on cultural dialogue, as expressed in our slogan ‘Uniting the Power of Classical, Indigenous and Jazz’. Our constant effort to link these groups to performance opportunities has shown good results nationally and internationally.

CDG Xincaiyncayi Dancers - Ribungwani Village, Limpopo - one of MIAGI's flagship projects within the field of indigenous music

MIAGI, Venda Ngoma Drummers and Dancers and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

Thikundwi kha Sialala and the CPO

Venda Ngoma Drummers and Dancers and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

Thikundwi kha Sialala – Venda Ngoma Drummers and Dancers met the musicians and the audience of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.

Click here to watch and listen to excerpts from this event on Youtube!


Enjoy MIAGI impressions at our MIAGI page on Facebook:

MIAGI's patron: violinist and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Maxim Vengerov


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MIAGI empowers South African young people by arranging and facilitating extensive music education opportunities and international, intercultural events for them, in South Africa and abroad.

21 AUGUST 2014

Wishing Ahmed 'Kathy' Kathrada Happy 85th Birthday!

Photo: MIAGI on tour with Barbara Hogan and Ahmed Kathrada in Sweden, July 2014

As a birthday present, we have decided to extend your membership in our orchestra beyond 26! "Forever Young" (Bob Dylan)

Yours forever gratefully,

The MIAGI Team

22 JUNE TO 19 JULY 2014

MIAGI Youth & New Skool Orchestra Tour of Europe Celebrating 20 Years of Freedom South Africa 1994 2014 together with Freedom Struggle icons Barbara Hogan and Ahme Kathrada

We want to express our deepest gratitude to our special guests of honour, Anti‐apartheid struggle icons Ahmed Kathrada and Barbara Hogan for joining us as we celebrate 20 Years of Freedom - we enjoyed the days spent together with you in Visby, Sweden immensely (photo below: Barbara Hogan and Ahmed Kathrada, together with some of our orchestra members).

Read a report at the Kathrada Foundation's website here

Link to an article about our tour, written by Allister Sparks and published in Business Day on 30 July 2014.

New MIAGI video from the tour here (click on the icon): - MIAGI Youth Orchstra: Shostakovich - Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra, conductor: Brandon Phillips

Barbara Hogan and Ahmed Kathrada, together with some of our orchestra members in Visby Cathedral, Sweden - 2 July 2014

Our guests of honour joined us from 30 June to 4 July at The Almedalen Week in Visby, Gotland, ‘Sweden’s biggest meeting place for democracy’ (3 400 seminars during eight days, MIAGI Seminars in partnership Global reporting, Global Utmaning, Forum Syd, Svenska Kyrkan – the Swedish Church with MIAGI’s special guests of honour Ahmed Kathrada and Barbara Hogan - Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

MIAGI Youth Orchestra & New Skool Orchestra and Ahmed Kathrada, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation - Seminar/Concert 2 July 20h00 Wisby Strand The Culture of Civil Courage - What is the alternative vision to the global resurgence of racism?


Photo by Mikael Strandanger/MIAGI: with Ahmed Kathrada at Liliesleaf Museum


June - Sun 29
Concert at the Berliner Philharmonie - Berlin Philharmonic Hall - Young Euro Classic Festival
July - Tue 1
Almedalen Week Seminar together with Ahmed Kathrada -
Wed 2
Almedalen Week Seminars/Concert, Wisby Strand, Visby together with Ahmed Kathrada
Thu 3
Almedalen Week Seminars together with Ahmed KathradaFri 4 Concert at Rikssalen, Royal Palace Stockholm - in partnership with Musik pa Slottet and Lilla Akademien
Sat 5
Concert at Skarpnäck Kulturhus, Stockholm, in partnership with Parkteatern – Stockholms stadsteater and Lilla Akademien
Sun 6
Concert at Artipelag, Värmdö, in partnership with Artipelag and Lilla Akademien
Mon 7
Concert at Kungsträdgården, Stockholm City, in partnership with Parkteatern - Stockholms stadsteater and Lilla Akademien
Tue 9
Concert at Musik I Kullabygden, Krapperup Musikhall
Fri 11
Concert at Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Laeiszhalle, Hamburg
Sat 12
Concert at Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival’s ‘Musikfeste auf dem Lande’ cycle
Tue 15
Concert at Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, Ludwigsburg
Wed 16
Workshop with Dutch children and youth living in the suburbs of Amsterdam
Thu 17 - Fri 18
International Nelson Mandela Day Concert at The Concertgebouw, Robeco SummerNights, Amsterdam
with some of the Dutch young people that took part in the workshop on the 16th
Fri 18
Return to South Africa from Frankfurt

MAY 2014

Alex Le Mat from PUM, Netherlands senior experts visited MIAGI - Thank you PUM and Thank you Alex - read Alex' report 'Two special weeks...' below!

Photo (right): Meyer du Toit, PUM representant in South Africa with Alex Le Mat Photo (left): Alex Le Mat at the Nelson Mandela statue

About PUM We are PUM Netherlands senior experts. We connect entrepreneurs in developing countries and emerging markets with senior experts from the Netherlands each of whom has gained at least 30 years of experience in a business environment. These senior experts voluntarily devote their knowledge to the execution of short-term, solid consultancy projects at the workfloor. By sharing knowledge we help entrepreneurs build sufficient knowledge to grow their businesses to the next level. This benefits local business as well as the surrounding community.

Two special weeks for a Dutch advisor in South Africa - by Alex Le Mat

During the second half of May I had the opportunity to visit MIAGI (Music Is A Great Investment) and the charismatic director, Robert Brooks. MIAGI's Creative Manager Ingrid Hedlund, was unfortunately not in the country during these weeks but we communicated regularly over Skype.

As Dutch “senior expert” in the field of culture and management it was my first visit to Africa. My task was to give some useful advices to this organisation. Every first visit of a PUM* expert is a surprise for both parties. And I enjoyed this surpise more than expected.

Speaking the same musical language, having the same artistic and humanitarian motivation we had useful discussions about possibilities for improvement of the organisation. But also I had the oppurtunity to see more of this beautiful country and meet so many nice and friendly people. Now I can understand what means: “I love South Africa.”

It was a privilige to be at the World Premiere of the Madiba opera, to see Pretoria, Johannesburg and the beuatiful nature.

Back at home I said: “this was my first visit. I hope it was not the last one”.


Our greatest gift to Madiba is to do all we can to protect and defend the constitution and deepen our understanding of the principles which underpinned it

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela


1918 - 2013

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MIAGI creates opportunities for South African aspiring artists to develop and showcase their talent.

MIAGI introduces South African music to audiences worldwide. We inspire dialogue among people of different cultures through an intense process of artistic exchange that includes commissioning new intercultural compositions. This underlines our objective to educate in the broadest sense of the word – MIAGI unites people through music and empowers musicians throughout South Africa.

On the 8th of January 2013 the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria signed a contract with MIAGI.

Sweden is through Sida funding a Music Exchange programme between Sweden and South Africa - the 'MIAGI and the Swedish Odyssey - with the Times' project.

Photo/Swedish Embassy/Pretoria: Robert Brooks, Executive Director of Miagi and Marie Bergström, Head of Development Cooperation at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria

Read more here (link to the relevant page at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria website) and to our 'Success' pag' here


Photo from a performance of the second MIAGI commissioned intercultural composition - ''The Songs of Madosini' - 2002

MIAGI has commissioned and premiered 15 major new intercultural works (read more about them here)

The 2012 commission was Christian Muthspiel/Tshepo Tsotetsi - Out of South Africa, Symphonic Poem on Themes by Tshepo Tsotetsi - listen to a performance of this work here(read more here)

Christian Muthspiel and Tshepo Tsotetsi



MIAGI MENTOR & PROTEGE PROGRAMME supports young exeptionally talented aspiring artists - has offered many young musicians study opportunities, instruments, as well as opportunities to take part in prestigeous international competiotions.

Many of our proteges are now pursuing successful careers abroad, read about some of them below:

MIAGI offered Pretty Yende many opportunities that she utilised optimally; these included the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, the International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch and the Istituto Internazionale per l'Opera e la Poesia opera competition in Verona.

Since she won all first prizes at the Belvedere Competition in Vienna in 2009, she is continuing earning accolades and prizes through her participation in prestigeous concerts and competitions all over the world. Pretty Yende is enrolled in Milano within the Teatro alla Scala Academy programme.

Musawenkosi Ngqungwana, also a succesful International Hans Gabor Belvedere competition participant, is currently Resident Artist at The Academy of Vocal Arts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Angela Kerrison who after her successful participation in the IIOP Opera Competition in Verona was enrolled at the International Opera Studio, Operhaus Zurich, is currently pursuing a successful international career.

Pretty Yende

Musawenkosi Ngqungwana

Angela Kerrison

Donné de Kock after winning 2nd prize in the Artscape National Youth Music Competition in 2011

Donné de Kock