It seems that the end of JPO's financial crisis is near; although the business rescue documentation continues to make grim reading. But on the strength of the final concert for the 2015 season - there is certainly hope - there was an almost capacity audience, the program and presentation was different; and there were even young members in the audience.
The evening started off with a homage to Johannesburg. WITS Professor Zaidel-Rudolph's Fanfare Festival Overture, originally written for Johannesburg's Centenary Celebration in 1986, but rescored for this performance, started the evening. Charting Johannesburg's growth, it starts of slow and slightly chaotic - but end with a flourish of percussion and African rhythms (from the Marimba and other percussion).
Pallavi Mahidhara returned once again, this time to perform Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.1. Like her previous performances, this was once again a stellar performance, and got a very enthusiastic response from the audience.
The highlight of the performance, and one of the highlights of the JPO performances I have attended - is Holst's The Planets - accompanied by a projection show organised via the WITS Planetarium. This is exactly the type of collaboration that is required for the JPO to draw more audiences - combine great music, with great visuals and provide more context for the performances. The projections included pictures from the Mars Rovers, and other NASA missions such as Cassini and Voyager; and provided a spectacular backdrop to the music.
If this happens to be the last JPO concert - then the JPO ended of with a bang! The final season had variety and drew in new audiences - and new styles of performances. Hopefully, it can continue and carry on in this fashion.