Famous Composers from South Africa

List of notable or famous composers from South Africa, with bios and photos, including the top composers born in South Africa and even some popular composers who immigrated to South Africa. If you're trying to find out the names of famous South African composers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These composers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known composer from South Africa is included when available.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different people, including Trevor Rabin and Abdullah Ibrahim.

This historic composers from South Africa list can help answer the questions "Who are some South African composers of note?" and "Who are the most famous composers from South Africa?" These prominent composers of South Africa may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected South African composers.

Use this list of renowned South African composers to discover some new composers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Abdullah Ibrahim (born Adolph Johannes Brand on 9 October 1934 and formerly known as Dollar Brand) is a South African pianist and composer. His music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church and ragas, to more modern jazz and other Western styles. Ibrahim is considered the leading figure in the subgenre of Cape jazz. Within jazz, his music particularly reflects the influence of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. He is known especially for "Mannenberg", a jazz piece that became a notable anti-apartheid anthem.During the apartheid era in the 1960s Ibrahim moved ...more
    • Age: 88
    • Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Bakithi Kumalo
    Photo: Bakithi Kumalo's Graceland Experience. / Ropeadope Records/Guru Project/Siam Records/BaliDali Productions, Inc/J&dmusic
    Bakithi Kumalo (also Romanized as Bakhiti Kumalo, Baghiti Khumalo, pronounced bah-gee-tee koo-mah-low) is a bassist from South Africa, notable for working with Paul Simon as the backing bass player on Simon's albums from Graceland in 1986 to Surprise in 2006. He now works as a session player and soloist
    • Age: 66
    • Birthplace: Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Bongani Ndodana-Breen

    Bongani Ndodana-Breen is a South African-born composer, musician, academic and cultural activist. He was born in 1975 in Queenstown, South Africa and is a member of the Xhosa clan. He was educated at St. Andrew's College and Rhodes University in Grahamstown (where he graduated with a PhD in Music Composition) and also studied composition in Stellenbosch under Roelof Temmingh. In 1998 Ndodana-Breen was the first Black classical composer to be awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music, by the National Arts Festival and sponsored by Standard Bank of South Africa. He was one of Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans and was profiled on CNN African Voices for his work ...more
    • Age: 48
    • Birthplace: Queenstown, South Africa
  • Cromwell Everson (28 September 1925 – 11 June 1991) was primarily known as a composer during his lifetime. He was brought up as an Afrikaner by his mother, Maria De Wit and father, Robert Everson. He continued this tradition and all his children were brought up as Afrikaners. Everson wrote the first Afrikaans opera, and most of his other vocal works were in Afrikaans. His works consist of five sonatas, a trio, an opera, a set of inventions, four song-cycles, a piano suite, miscellaneous movements for the piano and guitar and an incomplete symphony and string quartet. During Everson's career in Worcester, Western Cape he also gave music lessons to the musician David Kramer. For his Afrikaans ...more
    • Age: Dec. at 65 (1925-1991)
    • Birthplace: Beaufort West, South Africa
  • Dihan Slabbert

    Dihan Slabbert (born 3 June 1982), is a South African singer, performer, composer, producer, musician, and songwriter. He is best known as one of the lead vocalists in the South African pop group, Hi-5.
    • Age: 40
  • Dino Sofos
    Photo: user uploaded image
    Dino Sofos is a London based Sound Designer, Composer and Multi-instrumentalist, working in Film, Television and Digital Content.