Award-winning South African musician; Matheu Kieswetter's dream of becoming a great conductor was inspired at the age of three when he conducted their local New Apostolic Church youth choir in Kensington, Cape Town. Matheu attended rehearsals since birth either in his Father or Mother's arms. His Father was a self-taught and passionate choral conductor and his Mother was a committed and diligent chorister in the same choir.
Driven by his passion for social development, cultural diplomacy, and a vision of the future where music and the arts nurtures people and truly uplifts communities; Kieswetter was awarded the Ruth First Research Prize by the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 2010. With this as background he founded the Afropolitan Soloists in 2015: an all-African academy chamber orchestra geared toward bringing together the most talented young classically-trained musicians into a peer-learning and mentored professional development environment several times a year.
Having completed a Master of Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Kieswetter accepted an invitation as a visiting Fellow at the Julliard School of Music in New York in the summer of 2013. He has participated in a number of masterclasses around Europe, the United Kingdom and the USA. He won Third Place at the International Conducting Competition with the Kammerphilharmonie Graz in Austria, in 2011 was awarded Second Prize at the International Conducting Competition with the Orpheus Sinfonia of London, and in 2015 won the Second Prize at the Complete Beethoven Competition with the London Classical Soloists.
In 2011 Matheu Kieswetter was named as one of Mail & Guardian's '200 Young South Africans' and in 2012 was honoured in Professor Jonathan Jansen's book 'Great South African Teachers'. Matheu has been the recipient of a number of scholarship awards including for the Juilliard School of Music, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (Later Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) Post-graduate Award.
Kieswetter is an influential advocate for music education. He is currently lecturer in orchestral conducting at the University of Pretoria and Music Director of the ensembles resident at the University. Matheu was the Director of the B.Ed Education Choir at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2012; a training initiative coaching future teachers how to rehearse and train their own respective school ensembles and choirs. Matheu has also conducted a combined orchestra performance between the Johannesburg and Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestras in 2014, where he offered conducting tuition to young aspiring conductors during the workshop and rehearsal process. Later in the year, he was appointed a Director on the ‘What it Takes’ project – an initiative forged from an energise partnership between the KZN Philharmonic and South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation (SANYOF). Matheu Kieswetter assisted American James Ross for a week and co-presented lectures with Maeastro Ross and Maestro Kenneth Slowik (Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.).
As a champion of new music, Kieswetter has established his own contemporary ensemble, the 'Ubuntu Consort', conducted many premiers including new operas, one act ballets, contemporary dance productions and film scores. Matheu has on a number of occasions conducted the Said Ensemble (a new music ensemble based in Glasgow), has been a regular at new music festivals in the United Kingdom including Plug Festival in Glasgow, Sound Festival in Aberdeen and has worked on film recordings with BAFTA nominated composer Jessica Jones. Kieswetter has also loved working with performance artists Kieron Jina (Lozenge) and Anthea Moys in 'The Conductors' with Richard Cock and Mokale Kaopeng and in 'Misconduct' with Moving into Dance Mophatong and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra at the final concert of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival 2015.
From 2011 to 2013, he was the Music Director of the Strathclyde University Chorus and conducted the orchestra at the same University in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2014 he conducted the Commonwealth Orchestra and Choir on a number of occasions, the highlight of which was a celebratory concert, opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall. He has also conducted SANYO on a number of occasions including during their 50th anniversary year (2014) - a dance production in collaboration with Vuyani Dance Company and Gregory Manqoma entitled 'Full Moon', and in 2015 and 2016.
Kieswetter's major plans for 2018 are to conduct his beloved Afropolitan Soloists, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra, the Johannesburg Philharmonic, Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra and SANYO later this year. He wishes to farther establish another ensemble in Johannesburg; The Jeppestown Dream Orchestra: a children's orchestra based in Jeppestown, Johannesburg; poised to provide world-class music education to children that would otherwise have not had this opportunity. Internationally, he will collaborate with Usha Seejarim and Kieron Jina in a performance artwork, conduct the Fukushima Youth Sinfonietta in Japan, and the London Classical Soloists.
Matheu has conducted top orchestras around the globe, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Bulgarian State Philharmonic, The Juilliard Orchestra, the Commonwealth Orchestra and Choirs, Kammerphilharmonie Graz in Austria, the Orpheus Sinfonia and the London Classical Soloists in London, Oiko Musica in Germany, the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.