February 7, 2010


Filed under: music,music and exile symposium — ABRAXAS @ 12:36 pm


Mokale has performed with some the best known musicians in the country, these include Sibongile Khumalo, Bheki Khoza Motsumi Makhene, Wendy Mseleku, Phillip Tabane, Gloria Bosman, Khaya Mahlangu and many more.

He has directed musical productions like “Rainbow of Hope” (a dance revue by Nomsa Manaka, Wits Theatre 1991), “Swing High, Sweet Gospel” (Arts Alive, 1993/4), “Sellout” (Grahamstown 1995) and arranged the music of Sibongile Mngoma’s performance at the Grahamstown Festival (1997). Mokale founded the Soweto Youth Jazz Orchestra. He toured England and West Africa. He also toured Canada, USA and Wales as the pianist of Imilonji Ka Ntu Chorale Society.

Mokale is the music director of SDASA CHORALE, a gospel group that released an internationally acclaimed CD “SIMUNYE”, with a British vocal group, I Fagiolini. The two groups toured Europe in May, July 1999, Bermuda Festival, 2001 and April 2006.

Together with Motsumi Makhene, Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela, Mokale co-composed the music of “Milestones”, a musical by Mandla Langa. The musical premiered at the Grahamstown Festival and had a run at the State Theatre. The musical won 1999 FNB SAMA’s Best Soundtrack Award.

In 2000, he was appointed by the University of Pretoria to conduct the UP Chorale. He held this post till 2005.

Mokale has held workshops and lectures in countries like Sweden, United Kingdom and Finland.

He co-developed a concept called “Intyilo Kantu: Melodies of the Wise”. The concept involved a French solo ensemble Musicatreize and the University of Pretoria Chorale. The performances were held at the Standard Bank National Festival, Grahamstown and Octobre -en-Normandie, Rouen, France in 2001.

Together with the University of Pretoria Chorale and the Eastern Cape Philharmonic, Mokale performed the South African premiere of Stanley Glasser’s cantata; “The Chameleon and the Lizard”. The performance was at the 2003 New Music Indaba Festival in Grahamstown.

He composed and conducted the world premiere of “CANTUS IN MEMORIA ‘76”. This work commemorates the 30th anniversary of events of June 16, 1976. The text of the work is based on poems by Don Mattera and Lesego Rampolokeng.

Mokale has composed music for the following:

1. SIMUNYE “Music for a Harmonious World” SDASA CHORALE and I Fagiloni
2. MILESTONES, Musical by Mandla Langa
4. “TSHELO BOSHA” for the National Symphony Orchestra
5. “FATLHEGO SA GAGO” for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra for Nation Building massed Choir 2000
6. “KE MOTSHOANA, EMPA KE MOTLE” for UP Chorale and Musicatreize, SBNAF, Grahamstown and ‘Octobre-en-Normandie, France
7. “MALERATO”, String Quartet performed by the Fitzwilliam and Sontonga String Quartets, Grahamstown Festival 2001/2.
8. “KOMENG”, String Quartet performed by the Sontonga String Quartet, Grahamstown Festival 2003. Included in the “Bow Project” CD recorded by the Nightingale String Quartet from Denmark.
9. “MOTSWAKO”, String Quartet, 2003.
10. “ABANTWANA BAMAHEBHERU AND JESU WEN’ ONGITHANDAYO” for Radio Veritas Choir Competitions 2003.
11. “SEDI LAME”, commissioned by the University of Pretoria. Performed by the UP Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra 2003.
12. “AFRICAN ENIGMA” for oboe, string trio and djembe. Commissioned by ‘Consonances Festival’ in France. 2005
13. “’GAZI LEMVANA’ co-composed with Roderick Williams for the “Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music” in London, 2005
14. “CANTUS IN MEMORIA ‘76” for choir and orchestra. Commissioned by the National Arts Festival. 2006
15. “KOPANO” for choir and percussion. Commissioned by the Salisbury Community Choir, UK. 2006
16. “ISIJABANE” for orchestra. Commissioned by SAMRO for the South African National Youth Orchestra.

Mokale co-composed an opera, “Earthdiving” for the Spier Festival and it will have its premiere March 2003. The other composers are Martin Phipps(UK) and Peter Louis van Dijk.

Mokale has served as a member of the board of trustees of MIDI Trust (1996-2001), National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (1999 to date) and as vice President and President of NewMusicSA an affiliate of International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM).

He currently teaches music at the University of the Witwatersrand.

2 Responses to “MOKALE KOAPENG”

  1. Liesl Says:

    Working with Mokale has been one of the real joys of my life. He’s an accomplished musician and one of the nicest people, down to earth, practical, without the insane ego that some conductors acquire.

  2. jean pierre de la porte Says:

    mokales greatess is his ability to resist the trapping of greatness that warp south african music in the absence of the real thing.he may well be- with michael blake, the first noncolonial musician ever in sa. of course dozens say they are- but that is precisely what is so deeply colonial about them.