Pendo sets the stage alight with his violin

While boys his age think about playing video games, Pendo Masote is already making his name in the classical music scene.

The 13-year-old violinist from Soweto wowed music lovers at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown last week. He stunned his audiences with his performances at the Grahamstown Hotel and Beethoven Room at Rhodes University.

The child protégée was accompanied by a small string ensemble from Port Elizabeth.

"It was my first time performing at the NAF. It was an amazing feeling and an honour for me. I wasn't intimidated. I had fun."

Masote has been playing violin for eight years and has played at various concerts at Linder auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg. He points out that the sound of violin is what attracted him to the instrument.

"All people who play violin always talk about loving the sound of the instrument. I guess it was the same factor for me, apart from that, my grandfather [also] played it."

As someone who hails from an established music family like the Masotes, the young musician does not feel the pressure to do well.

"I don't feel any pressure, but what I want to do is to explore and enjoy myself. I want to learn and become the best I can be."

He points out that his grandfather, Michael Masote, who passed away recently, had a big influence on his career. He said the instrument that he is playing currently was given to him by his grandfather when he was 10 years old.

The son of music maestro Kutloano Masote, he says he showed interest in the violin as an infant.

He had his first formal violin lessons with Elizabeth Rennie at the age of five. In 2014, he joined Irene Tsoniff, an exponent of the Russian school of violin.

Masote is the youngest member of the South African National Youth Orchestra, and was chosen to take part in the South African National Youth Orchestra/Royal Concert gebouw Orchestra master classes.

The young dynamite has won a couple of prizes including the first prize in the Great Composers Online Music Competition for the best 17th century composition performance in the category 11-13 years last year.

Other highlights include getting a first prize in the primary schools category of the 2016 Grahamstown National Music Competition and best overall string player at the competition. Masote, who received a music scholarship, is set to head out to London next month.

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