Kabelo Witness Matlou
Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program Fellow
Jazz pianist Witness Matlou is a composer, performer and band leader whose work is influenced by African traditional, folk music, jazz, classical and other world music. Witness studied music at Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in both, performance, Jazz compositions and a minor in philosophy in 2015. He also earned his Master’s degree from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute In 2016, where he studied with grammy winning pianist and composer Danilo Perez, as well as Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, Dave Liebman, Terri Lyne Carrington to name a few. After he received his Master’s degree, Witness was awarded a Post-Master’s Fellowship in 2017 at the Berklee Global Jazz institute.
Witness has toured professionally throughout Europe, Africa, Latin America, and the United States. He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, D.C. Jazz Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival. Witness has appeared at the Kennedy Center with the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors, Dizzy’s Jazz Club, Lincoln Center and Princeton University. He has shared the stage with some of Jazz’s great artist such as Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, George Garzone and Gary Burton to name a few.
As an educator Witness has taught at the Danilo Perez Foundation in Panama, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Jazz Workshop in Newport, RI, and the Piano Workshop at Berklee College of Music. Currently, he is teaching music to kids at the All Dorchester Sports and Leadership Center and the Moses Youth Center in Cambridge. When he is in South Africa, Witness likes to give back to the community by working with the kids at the Moses Molelekwa Arts Foundation. His current composition and research project is a social and political reflection on the history of South Africa, with the message of love, hope, and unity. He has also worked as a composer and musical director for the Tony Williams Dance Company for their Urban Nutcracker in Boston.