MIAGI is proud to announce the soloist for the 2008 MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA

MIAGI (Music is a Great Investment) is proud to announce the selection of Abel Selaocoe as the soloist for the 2008 MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA

The MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA will perform as part of the 2008 Total MIAGI Festival taking place in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The festival will play host to a number of international classical music personalities such as Maxim Vengerov, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Patron of MIAGI.

Abel Selaocoe is a 16 year old learner from Soweto who will be performing the Bocherini Cello Concerto in B flat major at the 2008 Festival. Abel is an extremely talented and dedicated musician and is one of the hundreds of young people who have benefited from MIAGI’s music development projects around the country.

Abel’s passion and dedication to music is inspiring and moving. He started playing the recorder at age 9 and moved onto the cello by age 11 when he was taken to the African Cultural Organisation of South Africa (ACOSA) Conservatory in Soweto by his brother who plays the bassoon. There he met cellist Kutlwano Masote who inspired him to start playing classical cello. According to Abel, Masote is his role model and is an inspiration to keep playing despite the challenges he has faced.

The pressures of performance can be difficult, but he manages to face these challenges with the support of his mother, a domestic worker. Abel explains that his mother “always encourages me to give my best and never to give up. She inspires me to keep working when I feel like giving up.”

Abel is currently a student of Carel Henn at St. Johns College where he is a scholarship student. He has passed the Trinity grade 7 cello exam with merit, was a finalist in the Lovemore Centre and Roedean Schools Competition (twice, and was also a semifinalist in the Phillip H. Moore Competition. He has appeared as soloist with the Randburg City Orchestra as well as the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He has participated in the Landesjugend Orchestra in Germany, the 2007 MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA and played in the Reserve National Youth Orchestra three times.

In 2007 Frank Sturgess of MIAGI invited him to join the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA. According to Abel, “through MIAGI I’ve met a lot of interesting people who also have a passion for music. The musical experience has been amazing. I’ve learnt a lot.”

Abel is very excited to have been selected as the soloist in next year’s orchestra. While the pressure to perform at his best can be intimidating, Abel loves to perform live, as he explains, “it’s a way to express yourself and your emotions. I like that you can play for yourself, not necessarily for anyone else. You get to share a special moment with other people.”

Concert goers will be able to share this special moment on May 3rd at the Cape Town City Hall when the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA will perform with Abel as the soloist.

Abel has ambitious plans for the future, through his talent and dedication he would like to study overseas, but most importantly he wants to “be the best that I can be, to inspire others as I’ve been inspired.”

The success of Abel is representative of many other inspiring stories that have been made possible by the work of organizations such as MIAGI. The various music development projects that MIAGI runs throughout South Africa provide training, opportunities and inspiration to hundreds of aspiring young musicians just like Abel.

Please note, applications for the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA close on Dec 15th.

For more information about the MIAGI YOUTH ORCHESTRA, the Total MIAGI 2008 Festival, or for photos or an interview with Abel, please contact Lara Preston: Red Flag Design and Marketing, (011) 447 8283, lara@redflag.co.za