To celebrate the GSB’s 50th anniversary, the school commissioned an exceptional piece of music.
Intended to reflect the ethos of a school that is locally rooted business school with global relevance where the first thing you will learn is to unlearn what you thought you knew.
We started, logically enough, close in, by seeking out an exceptional local musician in Bongani Sotshononda as our principal artist and composer. But he is supported by a cast of African musicians - including immigre musicians - who collectively represent a far broader world. The band includes musicians with backgrounds in indigenous, jazz and classical music, which gives the piece a “Contemporary African Jazz" feel.
The school’s growing reputation for turning things on its heads is also evident in the foregrounding of the marimba as a solo instrument in this piece. This is unexpected – in business terms we might say disruptive, as the marimba is more commonly thought of as a background or chorus performer. However, this marimba is no ordinary marimba - it has been specially created to play a starring role. This instrument, is a unique chromatic instrument.
Bongani’s decision to move away from a diatonic marimba was informed by business, as much as artistic prerogatives. The artist in him wanted to take his indigenous sounds beyond the marimba groups of his youth. And the entrepreneur in him realised that there would be more work opportunities if he did so. He helped design this one-off instrument, saved and paid for its construction in Grahamstown. And indeed, it opened doors to the many musical collaborations which he has engaged in internationally.
And the last thing to say about this production is that the school and the musicians have taken the unusual decision to seek ways to make the score and the music accessible to others who may want to take them and build on them. In the same way that the knowledge our students acquire while studying at the GSB will be augmented and applied in different ways by each one of you, we hope that by doing this, the composition will find an evolving expression and meaning in the world.
The title of this composition is New World, New Ideas.
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