What do architecture and classical music have in common?  

At age 12 Ofentse Pitse fell in love with classical music.  Now 27 years old and an architect, Ofentse is a Ngoma AWARD 2019 Winner for #Produceroftheyearaward.  With little formal musical training she is the first female black South African to own and conduct the first all-black orchestra. ‘Anchored Sound’, a 40-piece symphony orchestra which profiles mostly African composers.  

Attributing her pure natural talent to her Grandfather, who was a trumpet player and conductor himself, Ofentse grew up with the sounds of jazz and classical music around her.  

So, what do architecture and classical music have in common? I went in search of the common denominator and was amazed to discover that “Architecture and music have harmony in common. Harmony can be from balance in a musical work or it can also be through a balance of a part to a whole. Architecture can show harmony through the successful use of different materials or designs in a space together to become one unified space.” 

The beauty of music is that no matter what your surroundings are, you will always find solace and an escape when listening to it

This driven and talented young woman somehow found harmony between religion, music, and architecture. Ofentse Pitse’s love of Classical music was discovered in church at the Salvation Army and it awakened a love for music that changed her life forever. She discovered her passion while playing the English horn.  And she found a drive within herself to find harmony in her own community and balance the inequalities that she saw at that time in the classical music industry. Never having had a formal classical training or music degree, she discovered her natural talent and her love of jazz and classic music. By following her passion and talent amazing classical conductor was born who is now conducting and leading the local youth to stardom.

The beauty of music is that no matter what your surroundings are, you will always find solace and an escape when listening to it. You can travel to places and spaces you have never been before and, for that short period of time, you forget about the chaos and challenges around you.

It was with this aim in mind that Ofentse established ‘Anchored Sound’ in 2017. She handpicked classically-trained youths from Kathlehong, Soweto and Pretoria. These young musicians, eager to gain experience, coupled with her own passion for the youth from her community, forced her to seek out other black orchestras. The realization that there weren’t any in her community motivated her to continue building the orchestra. Beginning with just 8 musicians, it quickly grew to 19, and then to 40 talented young people.

While seeking sponsors for the initiative, Ofentse also discovered that there were many who were willing to help her achieve her dream. It was under the tutelage of Thami Zungu, the head of music at TUT, and Gerben Grooten, the conductor of the UP philharmonic that she received valuable training.

It shows that your natural talent can take you to a journey that might be different than what you studied for, but in the end it can find harmony and make sweet music in your life.

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