Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. Pianist Witness Matlou started playing music in church. He was fascinated by the role of music at his church, and life in the township of Tembisa. The township was established under the concept of “Hope” or simply, “Give Hope”. A principle that Witness has brought very closely to his life, along with music, which helped keep him out of trouble as a kid. Seeing people dance, sing, and all the happiness in church is what inspired him to learn to play the piano.
After high school, Witness went to study music at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, where the Jazz program was founded by Darius Brubeck, son of the legendary Dave Brubeck. At UKZN, Witness won a scholarship to study music in the US, and he spent two semesters at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. There, Witness formed his own band, the Witness Matlou Trio, and was featured at the Des Moines Arts Festival.
In 2010, Witness was accepted at Berklee College Of Music with a full scholarship award. That summer, Witness went on a tour to play professionally in Europe with the Drake University Jazz Band, including an appearance at the North Sea Jazz festival in Rotterdam.
This summer 2012, Witness appeared with his trio at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in St Paul, Minnesota and the Jazz in July festival in Des Moines, Iowa. Witness and his trio were also invited by the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano (CCCNCR), to perform at the Promising Artists of the 21st Century performance series in San Jose, Costa Rica in July. The tour was organized by Berklee’s jazz label, Jazz Revelation Records. That Witness’ trio is signed under.
At Berklee, Witness is majoring in Jazz Composition and Performance with a minor in Philosophy. He is also studying in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, founded by virtuoso pianist and composer Danilo Perez, the Artistic Director of the Institute. With a strong background in South African culture and music, Witness wants to become an innovator and have others study his work. One of his goals is to help make a difference in the lives of others, to bring hope and share positive energy through the power of music.
Experience & Education
Teacher for Gateway Dance Theather2010 to 2010 (less than a month)
Taught music to kids, in the "Smart Camp". Introductions to music fundamentals, theory and practice. http://www.gatewaydance.org/index2.html