Theo Bophela

Photograph by Val Adamson

Theo Bophela was immersed in a wide variety of musical genres from a very young age. After obtaining his senior certificate, a job at a radio repair workshop and exposure to jazz legends inspired him to take piano lessons and he has never looked back. During his professional career, he worked with Tom Ndaba’s Swingsters Jazz Band, Chromatic Jazz Band, Keynotes Jazz Group, ‘Theo Bophela Trios & Quartets Jazz Resurrection Orchestra among others. Theo, as a band leader, composer, pianist, arranger, music educator and director, performed in Athens, Holland, Australia and New Zealand and conducted ‘Soweto Jive’ workshops in Alkmaar, Holland with the late Sophie Mgcina and Timothy Ndaba. He has also written orchestral works for performance by the KZN Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra with Ngwelo Afrika Jazz Group.

He is an ex-member of Board of Directors for South African Recording Rights Association Limited (SARAL). When he is not sharing his wealth of musical knowledge, he is involved in fund- raising efforts at Masisizane Centre, a communal collective for senior citizens of Inanda. Today, Bophela continues to inspire young student performers and artists, passing on his passion for jazz and love of musicianship.

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