Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nokuthula Ngwenyama, African American Violist and Violinist, Born June 16, 1976

[Rubinstein Sonatas; Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola; Jennifer Lim, piano; EDI Records (2008)]

Nokuthula Ngwenyama is a prominent African American violist and violinist who was born in the U.S. to a Japanese mother and a Zimbabwean father on June 16, 1976. “Thula,” as she is nicknamed, switched from violin to viola at age 12. She maintains a heavy schedule of performances and has been Visiting Associate Professor (Viola), at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 2008. Her most recent recording, Rubinstein Sonatas, is one we have been playing frequently. It deserves to be more widely heard, for both the program and the performance.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama's name was in the news in April, 2010 when the eruption of a volcano in Iceland prevented a violist from flying to the United States for a scheduled concert of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra:
Music in Cincinnati
Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Apr 24, 2010
“Could the ash cloud from Iceland's erupting Eyjafjallajökull have had a silver lining? It may have for Cincinnati, since it brought Julian Kuerti and Nokuthula Ngwenyama to town.” “Both made their CSO debuts.” “California native Ngwenyama is a rising star of the viola, larger and lower-voiced sister of the violin.” “Ngwenyama, 33, who made her Cincinnati debut on a Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra 'Schubertiade' in November, 2007, is a patrician artist who draws a pure, burnished sound from her instrument (by Santino Lavazza, 18th century Milan). She does it apparently effortlessly, without exaggerated movements or gratuitous showmanship. She could always be heard in the Berlioz -- a challenge for any soloist in over-sized Music Hall.”

Nokuthula Ngwenyama is scheduled to perform at the Thirty-Eighth International Viola Congress at Werner Concert Hall in Cincinnati at 5 PM on Saturday, June 19:
“Recital with Sandra Rivers, piano and Gillian Benet Sella, harp for the 2010 International Viola Congress at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.” [Nokuthula Ngwenyama (b. 1976) is profiled at AfriClassical.com and her concert dates are found at: http://www.myspace.com/ngwenyama]

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