On two Saturdays in August 2014, the 16th and the 23rd, the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop presents the 6th season of the Cape Town Goema Orchestra. Six Cape Town based composers will present new work. This season debuts two new composers, Robert Jeffery and Tracy-Lee Engel, and welcomes back orchestra patron and founder Mac McKenzie, together with Keenan Ahrends, Maxim Starcke and Mandla Mlangeni.
The University of Cape Town’s College of Music features strongly, with five of the six composers having graduated from the faculty. Tracy-Lee Engel was the Goema Orchestra pianist for the two concerts in November 2013. She is a classically trained pianist, teacher and a graduate in music composition from the University of Cape Town. For her debut as a composer she will present “Autumn Landscape”, a slow meditation on the extraordinary landscapes of the Western Cape.
Robert Jeffery is a composer, producer, guitarist and cellist, with a masters in music from the University of Cape Town. He is a regular with pop outfit Macstanley, who have done several presentations together with the Cape Town Festival Orchestra. In his debut with the Goema Orchestra he will present “Sumerian Suite”. Expect hints of flamenco, inspired by his training with Bienyameen Camrodien, as well as West African influences.
Composer and trumpeter Mandla Mlangeni, also a music composition graduate from UCT, has played with many of South Africa’s greats, including Hugh Masekela and Barney Rachabane. He has just returned from a European tour, playing his jazz compositions in Spain, France and Germany. He joined the Goema orchestra in 2011 playing the trumpet, and now presents new compositions at each season.
Graduate of the UCT Jazz School and the Norwegian Academy of Music, Keenan Ahrends returns for his 3rd season with the orchestra. He will be presenting an introspective work titled “Inner Landscape”. Outside of his symphonic work, he can be seen performing almost weekly at venues such as the Crypt and Straight No Chaser, performing with is own trio as well as a variety of top Cape Town groups.
Orchestra stalwart Maxim Starcke is a Capetonian composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist and educator who graduated with a Masters in Composition from UCT in 2012. He writes music for orchestra and ensembles and produces electro-acoustic and experimental recordings. He has recently been commissioned by NewMusicSA to compose for the South African New Music Ensemble at the 2014 Unyazi Electronic Music Festival in Johannesburg.
Mac McKenzie, self-taught composer and leader of the cult band The Genuines, and later of the Goema Captains of Cape Town, is the founder and patron of the Cape Town Goema Orchestra. Now based in Darling on the Cape West Coast, he composes from his music room at the front of a huge neo-gothic church with a view seemingly all the way to Casablanca. He will present his composition “Cape Dance Variations Part 2”. Part 1 was presented as part of the 5th season in November 2013. Joining the orchestra on piano for Mac’s presentation will be pianist and composer Ramon Alexander, who is scheduled to present his own work in the 7th Goema Orchestra season, December 2014.
Season 5 saw the debut of conductor Chad Hendricks, conducting for Mandla Mlangeni. For this season, Chad will be conducting for everybody except Mac McKenzie, who will be “conducting from his plectrum”, as Mac’s wife Renate likes to put it.
Founded on principles of fostering creativity and celebrating diversity, the Cape Town Goema Orchestra provides an opportunity for emerging and established South African composers to platform their works. Established in 2010 under the auspices of the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop, the project has gone from strength to strength in its vision to elevate the profile of homegrown orchestral talents and foster a truly representative South African oeuvre. Approaching music with this fresh and bold premise, the Cape Town Goema Orchestra prides itself on being a classical ensemble that grooves.
Bookings via the Cape Town Composers’ Workshop:
072 500 2204 or 022 492 20 34