the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra brings The World Symphony Series, Spring Season to Durban from this weekend.

Offering a diverse selection of national and international soloists and conductors, the season begins on Saturday with a gala concert featuring renowned violinist Joshua Bell.

Tonight chatted to the chief executive and artistic director of the KZNPO, Bongani Tembe, to find out more.

“The world symphony Series features the cream of South African and international soloists,” he said.

“Joshua Bell, who has never performed here, is one of the foremost violinists of his generation and will open our Spring Season.”

With a top-notch line-up, audiences can enjoy the likes of violinists Tai Murray, Suzanne Martens and Pieter Schoeman; cellist Wolfgang Schmidt; pianists Robert Mitchell and Konstantin Scherbakov; sopranos Eva Bernard and Beverley Chiat; tenor Musa Nkuna; and baritone André Howard.

According to Tembe, this Spring Season will feature the very best artists.

“The programme is very good; it’s very accessible, featuring popular classics along with a few new South African works.

“We offer first-rate performers and first-rate concerts and this is excellent for Durban because a lot of the artists become some kind of cultural ambassadors later on. They perform all over the world; they spread the good news, so it’s also like branding for Durban around the world.”

Asked about the biggest challenge they had faced with the season so far, Tembe said: “Convincing people that Durban’s city centre is safe and that people can go there and enjoy the arts and enjoy their own city. It’s certainly a lot safer and cleaner. Particularly on a Thursday, we haven’t had a crime incident over the past 10 years. Audiences can expect world-class concerts and world-class artists as well as a positive and uplifting atmosphere.”

• The World Symphony Series begins on Saturday at Durban City Hall and continues with a first-class concert every Thursday until November 1. Tickets are available through Computicket. For info, call 031 369 9436/9438.