LISTEN: Pretoria musician and Alicia Keys collab features in Netflix series

LISTEN: Pretoria musician and Alicia Keys collab features in Netflix series

Ofentse Pitse is an enthusiast. An enthusiast of art, music, architecture, and Africa. A creative visionary with a deep desire to showcase the work of Black African Composers, she is also a founder of Anchored Sound, the first-ever fully black-owned and operated orchestra on the continent.

Pretoria musician and Alicia Keys collab features in Netflix series

Born in Pretoria, it was here in the country’s vibrant capital where Ofentse first discovered her deep and abiding love for music.

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With a family that was active in the Salvation Army, Ofentse was soon attracted to its famous brass band and this is where she first learned to play the English horn, trumpet, flugelhorn, and cornet.

Most recently, Ofentse has made waves by being handpicked from only a handful of women of colour conductors to work on a special secret Netflix project.

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After being 'interviewed' by Grammy Award-winning artist, Alicia Keys, she was chosen to conduct an orchestral version of Keys' hit 'If I Ain’t Got You' in honour of the song's 20th anniversary which is part of the Shondaland production 'Queen Charlotte' soundtrack (the prequel series to the hit show 'Bridgerton').

Rob Forbes and Rozanne McKenzie got Ofenste in studio to have a chat with her about this incredible experience.

As her skill improved, so did her range she then began expanding her repertoire from gospel music to classical and then to jazz.

Today, Ofentse splits her time between her work as an architect, where she is pursuing her artistic vision for African spaces and her central role at Anchored Sound. The latter now boasts an impressive 40-piece orchestra, alongside a 25-person strong choir.

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In addition, Ofentse has also grown her talent, moving from musician to conductor with the guidance of two of the country’s leading conductors, Thami Zungu and Gerben Grooten, to learn how to effectively take up a place on the podium.

Across South Africa, Pitse has earned a formidable reputation as the force behind the success of Anchored Sound, whose performers all hail from disenfranchised communities across Gauteng.

Her discipline and commitment to learning how to conduct an orchestra while also managing the day to day running of the organisation has won her admirers across Mzansi and led to interviews with leading media outlets including eNCA, Drum Magazine, Newzroom Afrika, City Press, and the SABC.

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Citing her uncle Dr Dannyboy Pitse, the first person in her family to become a doctor, as her personal hero, Ofentse says it was his de- termination to succeed that became the catalyst for her own ambitions.

Going forward, it is these ambitions that are at the forefront of her mind, especially her long-term cherished dream of performing the isiZulu original 'uShaka ka Sengzangakhona' written by Professor Mzilikazi Khumalo at the legendary Sydney Opera House in Australia.

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“To me, music and architecture are very closely linked. When I design, I think of harmony, spirit, structure and meaning. Music is about those same elements, whether it’s Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Mozart or Professor Khumalo.”

Yet for all her aspirations, Ofentse is inherently practical in her core beliefs.

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