Nokuthula Ngwenyama’s performances as orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician garner great attention. Gramaphone proclaimed Ms. Ngwenyama as providing “solidly shaped music of bold, mesmerising character,” and the Washington Post described her as playing “with dazzling technique...and deep expressiveness.”
Ms. Ngwenyama gained international prominence winning the Primrose International Viola Competition at 16. The following year she won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, which led to debuts at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. In 1998 she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant,
Ms. Ngwenyama has performed with the Atlanta, Baltimore, and Indianapolis symphonies, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra, the China National Symphony, and the Sinfonietta Cracovia. She has been heard in recital at Tokyo’s Nexus Hall and Suntory Hall, the Louvre, the Ford Center in Toronto, the Maison de Radio France, and the Xi’an Concert Hall. She recently gave premiere performances of her own Sonoran Storm for Viola and Orchestra with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic and Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ms. Ngwenyama has performed at the White House and has testified before Congress on behalf of the NEA. An avid educator, she served as visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University. Born in California of Zimbabwean-Japanese parentage, Ms. Ngwenyama attended the Curtis Institute of Music. As a Fulbright Scholar, she attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris, and received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University.
Ms. Ngwenyama has composed since childhood and was first recognized in a Los Angeles Unified School District competition. She later studied theory, counterpoint and composition under Dr. Herbert Zipper, Mary Ann Cummins, and Warren Spaeth at the Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences. While studying at the Curtis Institute of Music, her theory teachers included Edward Aldwell, David Loeb, and Jennifer Higdon. Her works have been performed in the United States, China, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Czech Republic. She is the first composer in residence of the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, appointed in their 57th season.