The Ghanaian musical industry is set to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra, which was established in 1959 by order of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah first President of Ghana.
Mr Philip Gbeho, the great composer, together with the musician Amihud Elroy from Israel was especially invited by Dr Nkrumah to Ghana for the three-year establishment of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Mr Gbeho served as the Orchestra’s first Director of Music and Conductor.
The National Symphony Diamond Jubilee would start from March 31st with international classical performance at the National Theater with back-up support from the Harmonious Choral.
Mr Isaac Annoh, Executive Director of the Orchestra, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that other activities would include performance of three major classical concerts which would be a blend of authentic traditional Ghanaian pieces and Western classical music.
He said orchestra is using the 60th anniversary celebration platform to create awareness of music as an artistic form of expression that has the capacity of bringing people together.
“It will also highlight the relevance and the role music plays in any society and the nation as a whole,” he said.
Mr Annoh said in fulfillment of the mandate of the National Theatre, the performances of the Orchestra would be felt across the length and breadth of the country by way of mini concerts.
He said the Orchestra is collaborating with the Harmonic Choral to kickstart the commemoration which promises to be a thrilling musical performance that will leave memories in the minds of all audiences.
Mr Annoh said some of the former conductors include Phllip Gbeho, Amihud Elroy, Geoffery Boateng, Dinah Reindorf, Nana Danso Abiam, Kenn Kafui, Emmanuel Gyimah Labi, Akosua Obuo Addo, George Dorf, Oscar Sulley, Kweku Acquaah-Harrison and Lahnor Adjartey Adjei would be acknowledged.
The orchestra comprises 46 musicians, of which 32 are full-time and 14 are part-time. In the past, the instrumentation has been as high as 47.
The instrumentation includes three flutes, one oboe, two clarinets, one bassoon, two trumpets, two trombones, two horns, one tuba, five drummers and percussionists including traditional African drums, bells, and rattles, eight violin I, six violin II, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses.
The Orchestra has performed at such state functions such as Emancipation Day and visits of foreign dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, Thabo Mbeki, and the Sultan of Brunei.
The orchestra has also performed at the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC), PANAFEST, and Septemberfest, as well as at various fundraising programmes.
Additionally, it performs at schools, hotels, weddings, and funerals, as well as at Easter and Christmas concerts.
Since 1996, the orchestra has presented an African Composer’s Series, in which it performs the works of composers from Ghana and other African nations.