Grant McLachlan is a South African composer based in Cape Town. In 1975 he moved to the UK to study music at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a choral scholar. He also holds master’s degree in composition from King’s College, London, and a film music degree from Bournemouth University.
Grant spent nearly 20 years in England during which time composed extensively for chamber ensembles and for choirs. He had several years of study with the composer Jeremy Dale Roberts, formerly head of composition at the Royal College of Music. He studied piano with the Swiss pianist Lise-Martine Jeanneret (a student of Madeleine Lipati), and was active as a composer and pianist at her annual Music at Mill House festivals.
Since retuning to South Africa in 1994, Grant has specialised in composing for natural history films, and has scored music for more than 120 wildlife and feature film productions over the last 3 three decades. He has composed for many broadcasters, including the BBC, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Animal Planet, Discovery, ZDF, NKH, Terra Mater, and many more.
He has written music for every imaginable creature, including condors, whales, cheetahs, lions, leopards, tigers, hyaenas, wild dogs, dugongs, penguins, sharks, baboons, elephants, snakes, and proboscis monkeys. In 2007 the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed Ocean Voyagers live to picture for Animal Planet’s 10 anniversary. He won a Best Music Award for the Australian film The Jammed. Capetonians may recall a documentary on the penguins at Boulder’s Beach called City Slickers. Other films Grant has composed for include Cosmic Africa (best music, Stone awards); Faith Like Potatoes; Killer Whales; The Megahunt; and 2099: The Soldier Protocol.
Chamber music has included a work a piano quintet, Oesterwal Landscape, performed in the Purcell Room in 1992; Umbhioso Wase Afrika for Harpsichord and African Percussion, commissioned by the Polish harpsichordist, Elisabeth Chojnacka, which has been performed by several harpsichordists around Europe, most recently by Alina Ratkowska of the Chopin University in Poland; from the direction it should depart for violin, clarinet and piano; and in June 2020, The Cape Chamber Music Collective performed Music For The Beginning of Time. He has also written much choral music, and the Christmas anthem Come, Colours Rise has become a classic with choirs around the world.
Since 2020, Grant has been presenting lectures for the UCT Summer School, exploring music in human, emotional and scientific contexts.
Graham du Plessis is a cellist who enjoys an active and varied performance career both in South Africa and overseas. Graham completed his Bachelor of Music (Hons) at the University of Birmingham and went on to complete his MMus specialising in cello performance at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. He was the recipient of the Eifion Evans award for musical excellence and the winner of the Cardiff Violins chamber music competition. As a teenager he was also a runner-up in the BBC Proms Young Composer competition. After his studies Graham enjoyed performing chamber music throughout Europe, giving recitals in the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, and in Ischia as a guest of Lady Walton (the late wife of the composer William Walton). He also worked with a variety of British orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and various chamber ensembles. Graham has also appeared as a cellist in several mainstream films, recorded film and TV music for the likes of Universal, and he has performed and recorded music with a number of contemporary artists from a range of genres. Since returning to South Africa in 2017, following many years overseas, Graham has enjoyed freelance work as a performer. In the last two years he has appeared as a soloist in Europe, performing the Lalo Cello Concerto with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vidin Sinfonietta. He also performed this work in South Africa with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to this Graham is passionate about music education and is the Cello Lecturer at the University of Cape Town. In September 2023 he performed in China as part of the UCT Piano Trio, with colleagues Farida Bacharova and Francois du Toit. He is also a Director and a founding member of the Cape Chamber Music Collective - an organisation that puts on diverse chamber programmes in the Western Cape.
Lente Louw (mezzo-soprano) is an established oratorio, chamber music and ensemble singer, originally from Pretoria. She holds an LLM from North West University, where she began her voice training under lieder specialist Werner Nel. After relocating to Cape Town, she regularly sang under the baton of the respected Barry Smith from 2008 until his retirement in 2015. She was a student of Nellie du Toit, Emma Renzi and Hanna van Schalkwyk. She has performed solo and chamber music recitals with some of South Africa's foremost pianists, including Albie van Schalkwyk. Over the past ten years she has developed a keen interest in early music. She has received master classes from Kobie van Rensburg and Lawrence Zazzo. As a founding member of the Cape Consort-ensemble she sang in around sixty concerts, including: their 'Monteverdi Project' (a collaboration with the Fugard Theatre that culminated in three successful runs of madrigal concerts), as well as the role of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Marí Borstlap. In 2013 she toured Germany and Switzerland in the role of Second Woman for the German-based early music ensemble, cosi facciamo's production of Dido and Aeneas. In 2015 she completed the practical requirements for an MMus in Singing Performance under Minette Pearce at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2017 she founded the Lutesong duo for early music with lutenist husband Uwe Grosser. They have performed at arts festivals and concert venues in Cape Town and Germany. The Lutesong duo recorded a successful album, Chiaroscuro in 2018. In 2021 Lente founded the Lutesong Consort, an ensemble of up to 12 singers and lute-family instruments that specialize in vocal repertoire from mostly the 16th and 17th centuries. They regularly collaborate with Erik Dippenaar at the Cape Town Baroque Festival and the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra for performances and educational projects. She teaches singing at Bishops Diocesan College and Herschel School for Girls in Cape Town.
Italian born Lucia Di Blasio Scott started her performing career at the age of six in Sanremo (Italy). She became Co-Principal of the Sanremo Symphony Orchestra in 1983. Seeking new horizons, she auditioned in Vienna for a position in the newly to be formed Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently moved to Durban where she soon was promoted to Vice-Principal First Violin. Lucia has been in Cape Town since 1993. She was a Principal Violin in the CTSO as well as the CTPO. An enthusiastic educator, Lucia has been a techer at Bishops for over 25years and Part-Time lecturer at SACM from 2005 to 2022.
Lucia is also a dedicated Chamber musician. She has performed with the Michaelis Players and with Prof. Shirley Gie’s Baroque Series 4x2. She is a member of the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra and of the School House Trio.
Lucia is the Leader and one of the founder members of the Cape Town Pops Orchestra, which has been in collaboration with the Cape Town Opera and with Richard Cock for the legendary Last Night of the Proms.