Bongani Ndodana-Breen has written a wide range of music encompassing symphonic work, opera, chamber music and vocal music. According to The New York Times his “delicately made music - airy, spacious, terribly complex but never convoluted - has a lot to teach the Western wizards of metric modulation and layered rhythms about grace and balance.”
Performers around the world have performed his music including the Belgian National Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, Kwa Zulu-Natal Philharmonic, New York City’s Vox Vocal Ensemble, MusicaNoir, Chicago’s Cube Ensemble and Ossia.
Ndodana-Breen has received commissions from Wigmore Hall, Vancouver Recital Society, Madam Walker Theatre Indianapolis, SAMRO, UNISA International String Competition, the Emancipation Festival of Trinidad & Tobago, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Haydn Festival Eisenstadt for the Haydn 200th anniversary.
He is the composer of Winnie, The Opera, which premiered to great acclaim in 2011 at the State Theatre in Pretoria with the Kwa Zulu-Natal Philharmonic. On this premiere Die Beeld of Pretoria wrote “Bongani Ndodana-Breen is a composer of stature. This is confirmed by the outstanding portraiture of Winnie” Past opera projects include the children’s chamber opera Themba & Seliba (commissioned 1996 by the Grahamstown Foundation for Co-Opera), the chamber monodrama Umuntu –Threnody (commissioned 1999 by the National Arts Council for Linda Bukhosini) and the short opera Hani which premiered at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town in September 2010. Recordings are available on the Naxos Capriccio label and MSR Classics.
Ndodana-Breen,was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music in 1998 and selected as one of the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans of 2011. According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail “He seems to be just as interested in giving pleasure as in opening people’s minds… which makes him doubly a novelty on the Toronto New Music scene” (Globe and Mail, Nov 2001).