South Africa Hosts Historic World New Music Days 2023 Festival

ISCM World New Music Days Festival 2023 Unveils Electrifying Line-up

NewMusicSA, the proud host of the 2023 ISCM World New Music Days (WNMD) festival, is excited to announce its 10 festival days, scheduled to take place in South Africa from November 24 to December 3, 2023. This extraordinary event promises to be a groundbreaking celebration, bringing together over 100 composers from 50 countries and establishing itself as a true global nexus for new ideas, collaborations, and artistic fusions.

The ISCM World New Music Days festival, an annual event organised by the International Society for Contemporary Music since 1922, is set to make history .With more than 70 innovative compositions performed by over 200 musicians in 25+ events, WNMD 2023 will be the most significant assembly of contemporary music ever witnessed in  South Africa.

The festival will span across Gauteng and the Western Cape, with events in Johannesburg, Soweto, Cape Town, and surrounding areas. Audiences can expect over 20 concerts held in multiple venues, offering a diverse range of musical experiences each day.

Confirmed highlights include performances by renowned South African artists such as the Mzansi National and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestras, the MIAGI Orchestra, Odeion String Quartet, Ancient Voices, Leon Bosch, Kathleen Tagg, and Khanyisile Mthetwa, and international acts like Ensemble Modern (Germany), Umze Ensemble (Hungary), Vertixe Sonora (Spain), Burkina Electric (Burkina Faso), William Chapman Nyaho (Ghana), and many more.

Lukas Ligeti, the Artistic Director of the festival, shared, “There are three programmatic pillars to the festival. The first upholds the fundamental principle of ISCM World New Music Days, ensuring that at least one composition from each chapter organisation is performed. The second pays tribute to the festival’s historical significance by revisiting landmark works of the 20th and 21st centuries. Lastly, the third pillar highlights the festival’s distinctiveness by presenting a diverse selection of new, experimental, and unconventional music connected to Africa.”

The festival will particularly emphasise the creative music landscape of Africa south of the Sahara, with a dedicated special program named Oluzayo – African Music Futures.

Stay informed about the WNMD 2023 events by following updates on NewMusicSA’s website, social media platforms, and various media outlets. The ISCM and NewMusicSA warmly invite everyone to mark their calendars for this historic celebration of music, culture, and artistic innovation.

Stay Informed
NewMusicSA will provide frequent updates on festival planning through its website, social media platforms, and various media outlets. The ISCM – International Society for Contemporary Music and NewMusicSA eagerly anticipate your participation in the upcoming WNMD 2023 events. Please mark your calendars for these historic dates. To book your seat to the festival visit

Organiser Links






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NewMusicSA is a non-profit arts advocacy organisation that promotes the creation, performance, and enjoyment of South African new music. Founded in 1999 and operating formally since 2003, NewMusicSA is the South African section (and current only African section) of the International Society for Contemporary Music – ISCM. NewMusicSA is supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Rupert Music Foundation. For more information, please visit our website, follow @NewMusicSA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

WNMD 2023

The World New Music Days 2023 in South Africa will be an unprecedented, historical milestone event for multiple reasons. First, it will be the ISCM’s centenary celebration and centennial edition of the festival. It will be the first WNMD ever to take place in Africa, the third time this festival is held in the southern hemisphere and the third time it takes place in a country of the Global South. No festival for new, innovative and experimental music of this breadth and magnitude has ever been organised on the African continent. The WNMD 2023 will be a defining moment for contemporary music in South Africa and the rest of the continent.

The ISCM – International Society for Contemporary Music

The ISCM – International Society for Contemporary Music is the world’s leading network of organisations supporting new contemporary classical music. Founded in Austria in 1922, it today has roughly 60 member organisations located in more than 50 countries around the world. Its flagship activity is a yearly festival of new art music, the World New Music Days, which was first held in 1923 and which migrates to a different country every year.