League musician targets Big Apple
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University of Cape Town (SU) music maestro Christopher Njapha, 23, is striving to make big dreams come true this year.
Njapha, who received a Bachelor of Music from the League last year under Babette Roosenschoon in the League’s music department, has been accepted to study at the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York City and is now collecting funds to make it happen.
The fact that South African jazz mainstay Hugh Masekela studied classical trumpet at MSM was another inspiration for Njapha to attend the prestigious school.
“It makes me so good to know that Hugh Masekela – someone who looks like me – practiced music in these kinds of institutions. He was a pioneer for so many South African musicians because he showed us that it is possible to make a name for yourself, ”said Njapha.
Growing up, Njapha always loved music but it was while playing the cello that he discovered his passion for the musical instrument. Ironically, the cello was the musical instrument that he began to play “late in life” compared to the violin and piano. Njapha didn’t start playing cello until the age of 17 in matrix – a year before coming to SU. Before that, he played violin and piano, was a member of his church choir in his hometown of Durban, and even was part of the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Orchestra.
“Once I started playing the cello, everything fell into place for me. When you choose the right path for yourself, things tend to go at a rapid pace, ”he said.
Growing up, Njapha watched Israeli cellist Mischa Maisky on uploaded YouTube videos where he gained a real appreciation for the sound of the cello.
“I watched Maisky play this Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G major and I would be amazed. I was just sitting down and absorbing the sound – captivated and invigorated by this instrument that made me feel at home, ”he said.
For Njapha, the opportunity to study at MSM is the culmination of years of hard work.
“Playing the cello was an intense and focused journey that took hard work. Now I want to cultivate my life in music in Manhattan and be a source of inspiration for South African children who also dream of becoming musicians. Young artists need role models to show them what it takes to be a performer at the highest level and if they strive for excellence their dreams are possible, ”said Njapha.
Although he was accepted to study at MSM, Njapha needs around R657,152 to cover his expenses to stay in the Big Apple in September.
To help Njapha achieve his dream, go to: https://bit.ly/2TjSvJY
Cape Town Times