Local guitar ace off to London

Pietermaritzburg’s very own young guitar prodigy Luthando Jackson (12) is set to jet off to London on Friday after being invited to audition for a musical scholarship at the Yehudi Menuhin School.

According to Luthando’s proud dad, Oupa, the Yehudi Menuhin School is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world. The school provides an environment and tuition for musically gifted children from all over the world to pursue their love of music, develop their musical potential, and achieve standards of performance on stringed instruments and piano at the highest level.

Luthando’s invitation for the audition came after the self-taught guitar ace, a Grade 7 pupil at Epworth School, caught the eye of one of the Yehudi teachers while performing in London in 2016.

Oupa said a teacher then made contact with one of Luthando’s teachers at Epworth.

“Last year, in around October, the Yehudi School enrolled him to one of their programmes and he has been receiving Skype lessons from Yehudi every Saturday,” said Oupa.

If all goes well with Luthando’s audition, he could be awarded a scholarship to attend the school throughout his high school career.

Oupa said Luthando picked up his first guitar at the age of seven when he asked his mother, Thandeka, to buy him a guitar for his birthday. He said Luthando has never stopped playing from the first day he received his present.

“He would listen to music on the radio and watch videos on YouTube then repeat the melodies,” said Oupa.

At the tender age of 12 years old, the young classical guitarist has played with numerous internationally-renowned acts like the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and James Grace, who is one of South Africa’s leading classical guitarists.

He also played at the International Jazz Extravaganza at the Durban ICC and performed at The Witness’ 170th year celebration in 2016. Last year he was also invited to attend the World Youth Guitar Festival in Cheltenham, England.

Oupa, who will be accompanying the young guitarist to London, said when they return home next weekend they plan to host a concert where Luthando will be treating his local fans to his classical music and thanking them for all their support.

The proud father said he and his wife had mixed feelings about their son’s accomplishments at such a young age.

“We are excited but also nervous. Sometimes the demands and expectations can be overwhelming and we have had to turn down numerous invitations to allow him to focus on academics as well.”

Luthando said he was all set for his auditions which will run from Tuesday to Thursday next week. He added that he was not nervous as he was now used to performing in front of an audience.