Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg
The Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg (COJ) is the orchestral vehicle of Web Maestro, a bespoke entertainment company, directed by Kutlwano Masote and his partner Ma-Setlogelo Masote in 2008.
From the onset the goal was to establish a freelance orchestra as a tool for musical experimentation, fluent in all the musical languages of South Africa and the globe. We also explore corporate entertainment as an avenue to exposing new audiences to the orchestra.
Our Vision is to sustain and promote musical development through broad-based participation.
At the same time, we adhere to the highest standards excellence while creating an environment of psychological safety for creativity.
Over the years, the COJ has accompanied artists like opera singer Pretty Yende, Lira, Sibongile Khumalo, Elvis Blue, Msaki and many more. It has also been a part of performances for 702 Mothers’ Day at the Zoo (2014-2016), the SA Jazz Foundation (2010, 2011 and 2019), Golden Gate Classics (2017-2019), Opera Jewels (2016-2019) and Joy of Jazz (2014 and 2022).
Additionally, through the music writing and arrangements of the orchestra’s music director Kutlwano Masote, the COJ is readily able to take on a variety of interesting projects traversing traditional music boundaries.
In the realm of corporate activations, the orchestra has led boardroom interventions and corporate leadership demonstrations for Deloitte (every year since 2015), Harambee (2015, 2017 and 2022), Telkom Group (2023), Hollard (2022) and Johannesburg Theatres Company (2023).
As we are a freelance orchestra, we prioritise engaging the best available musicians with an emphasis on youth, women and cultural diversity.
Kutlwano Masote was raised in a rich classical music environment, excelling on the cello, and has been a professional classical music practition for nearly thirty years. He made his professional conducting debut in 2006 in a concert of the music of Ladysmith Black Mambazo with accompanied by full orchestra. In 2007 he conducted the Todd Matshikiza Retrospective Concert at the State Theatre. During the MIAGI Festival of 2008, Masote conducted the world-premier Coming Home, a jazz gospel cantata by Isak Roux. His appetite for bridging the gap between different performance traditions has seen him undertake projects to orchestrate music from multiple genres for Khuli Chana, Kwesta, Maleh, Brenda Mntambo and others.
As a guest conductor, he has performed with most of the major orchestras in South Africa including the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Free State Symphony Orchestra, Cape Town Pops Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg, the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra. His international collaborations include conducting a concert of Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil (2011) as well as conducting the Philharmonia Moments Musicaux from Taiwan (2010).
Since 2013 he has conducted several opera gala concerts, working with such esteeemed artists as Sally Silver, Pretty Yende, Noluvuyiso Mpofu, Pumeza Matshikiza, Levy Sekgapane, Golda Schultz and Megan Kahts – all of whom have international reputations. Masote’s musical interests include composing corporate identity themes as well as writing jingles for Takalani Sesame in 2020. In the heritage sector, Masote was the appointed sound designer for the //hapo exhibition of the Freedom Park Museum together with his colleague Rocco de Villiers. He was also a nominee for Best Composer at the Naledi Awards of 2015 and 2016. He is currently writing the score for The Arch, a four-part documentary on the activism of Desmond Tutu, due to air in April 2024.
Off stage, Masote continues to enjoy a broadcasting career dating back to 1999 with stints at Classic fm and currently presenting Weekend Sundowner Classics on SAfm.
As an arts administartor he has served on the boards of the Johanneburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Johannesburg Youth Orchestra. He has also served as chairman the SAMRO Foundation (2018-2020) and the Arts and Culture Trust (2007).
Together with his wife Ma-Setlogelo, they provide customised entertainment solutions for private, corporate and government clients through their entity Web Maestro.