In a completely unique occasion, 2015 Standard Bank Jazz awardee pianist Nduduzo Makhathini will play Todd Matshikiza’s original upright piano at Sophiatown the Mix, as a fundraiser for the venue’s grand piano appeal.
Todd Matshikiza, classical composer, musician, teacher, journalist, cultural activist, was educated at St Peter’s Johannesburg, part of a long line of ‘St Peterians’ including OR Tambo, Jonas Gwangwa, Hugh Masekela, Fikile Bam, and Stompie Manana, to benefit from this first-class schooling.
Perhaps most famous for his compositions and arrangements of the first African Opera, ‘King Kong’, Matshikiza wrote hundreds of compositions, and was a Drum journalist before exile initially in London, and then Zambia.
Among the classical compositions to be explored, Makhathini will revisit ‘Uxolo’ – commissioned for the 70th anniversary of the City of Johannesburg in 1956 for the Johannesburg Festival. In planning for the tribute, Makhathini said “it’s important to keep going back to our forefathers and mothers as artists – to pay tribute to the roots of both classical and contemporary musicianship in Africa – so that we keep alive that golden thread of inspiration, especially in composition. I’m excited to bring alive the keys of Ntate Todd’s piano for such a good cause as keeping the music in Sophiatown burning bright for future generations”.
The evening will also remember Todd’s son, John Matshikiza, who died suddenly in 2008, marking what would have been his 62nd birthday this month. John, Sophiatown-born, film and stage actor, poet, journalist, broadcaster and political activist, was a powerful advocate for African culture across the world.
Todd Matshikiza, who composed the music of ‘King Kong’ was commissioned in 1956 to write a choral work for 200 voices and orchestra for the Johannesburg Festival, the result being ‘Uxolo’. He wrote many other works, including one for Fr Trevor Huddleston, called ‘Makhaliphile’.Todd and his wife Esme were close friends with Fr Huddleston, especially during exile days in London.
This special evening will raise funds for a grand piano for Sophiatown’s newest music venue, including the Sophiatown Academy of Music, launched in heritage month.
Date: Friday 25 November 2016 at 20:00
Venue: Sophiatown the Mix, 71 Toby Street / www.sophiatownthemix.com.
Tickets: 083 550 7130
R300 includes supper plate; or R180 without (bring your own cooler box).
Account Holder: Trevor Huddleston Memorial Centre
Account Number: 000023760 Branch code: 00020500