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Wits flutist wins international scholarship

- Naledi Mashishi

Wits flutist and music tutor Khanyisile Mthetwa will perform at the 47th Annual National Flute Association Convention as part of winning the scholarship.

Flutist and Wits music tutor Khanyisile Mthetwa is the recipient of the Myrna Brown International Scholarship

Mthetwa has been awarded the 2019 Myrna Brown International Scholarship valued at $3 000 by the National Flute Association of America (NFA) and the opportunity to play at its convention in Salt Lake City from 1 to 4 August.


She will be performing live at the 47th Annual National Flute Association Convention taking place in Salt Lake City on 2 August where she will present a repertoire comprising South African composers. Before then she will perform a concert in Chicago and another in San Francisco at the end of July.


Head of Music at Wits, Prof Malcolm Nay, said that Mthetwa is the first person from the department to get the award through the University.


“Her getting the award is an extremely good reflection on the department. Of course when she plays in the US she is not only playing for herself but for Wits,” he said.


The 33 year old is originally from Soweto and began playing the flute and the recorder when she was 15 at a Saturday music programme held at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Nursing College. At 16 she began studying at the National School of Arts (NSA) where she was trained in the flute.


“At NSA, one of my teachers told me to train in flute further because she thought I had potential and so I decided to do it,” she said.


Mthetwa currently performs as first flute with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, has performed solo concertos with the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra, and performed alongside famed Italian opera singer, Andrea Bocelli, during the 2010 World Cup. She has been a Wits music tutor for three years.


The musician applied for the Myrna Brown scholarship after a friend in Brazil had told her she fit the criteria.


“I looked at the website and a part of me thought ‘don’t even bother’ because I saw flutists from places like China and India who were so amazing. But another part of me said try and see what it’s like and work towards being on their level,” she says.


“It was a pleasant surprise when I got the email that said ‘Congratulations, you’ve got it’.”


This article was first pubished by Wits Vuvuzela, a student newspaper produced by Wits journalism students.