"… it’s in his linking of international influences with his own local traditions that his strength lies." Peter Bacon, The Jazz Breakfast [UK]
Kyle Shepherd is one of South Africa’s leading jazz, film and theatre music composers and pianists of his generation, internationally recognised for his distinctive compositional style and performances. He was the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Jazz in 2014 and the UNISA piano competition winner in 2019, and has performed in 28 countries around the world, including 11 concert tours to Japan.
He has released seven jazz albums to date with an impressive number of film, television and theatre score credits. These include Unseen, season 1 (reached #3 on Netlfix’s global ranking for April 2023), Blood and Water, season 2 (Netflix), Savage Beauty, season 1 (Netflix), Surviving Paradise, as additional music composer (Netflix), Indemnity and Barakat, South Africa’s official entry into the 2022 Academy Awards and winner for Best Score at the 2022 Silwerskerm Film Festival, Fiela se Kind (2019) also winner for Best Score at the 2020 Silwerskerm Film Festival, Vlugtig (Kyknet) and Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief), South Africa’s official entry to the 2017 Academy Awards. He was awarded the 2018 South African Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Award: Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution 2018, hosted by the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), for Best Musical Composition for his score for, Noem My Skollie. Shepherd is also the co-creator of the hit Afrikaans television show, Koortjies with Jonathan Rubain (Kyknet).
Along with multiple SAFTA, SAMA and Silwerskerm nominations, he most recently was nominated for a Fleur du Cap Best Sound Design, Original Music, Soundscape or Live Performance award for Lara Foot’s award-winning Life & Times of Michael K. The production, adapted for the stage by Foot and the world renowned Handspring Puppet Company, is based on the Nobel prize-winning novel by J.M Coetzee and won the Fleur du Cap award for best theatre production 2023.
Kyle has just completed a celebrated run of performances at the Theatre de Chatelet in Paris and continues international touring with Waiting for the Sibyl, a chamber opera created in collaboration with world renowned visual artist William Kentridge and co-composer Nhlanhla Mhlangu. The opera won the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award (2023) in the UK.
The 35-year old Shepherd holds a Masters degree (Cum Laude) in Music upon receiving a scholarship from York University (UK) in collaboration with the Africa Open Institute (Stellenbosch University).
Apart from South Africa, Shepherd has also performed in Japan, USA, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Norway, France, Denmark, India, Malaysia, China, Swaziland, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe, with notable concert appearances, either as a solo pianist or trio, quartet and other formats at Carnegie Hall (USA), Klavierhaus (USA), 2016 SWR NEWJazz Meeting (Germany) at Alte Feuerwache (Mannheim), Sudhaus (Tübingen), Tollhaus (Karlsruhe), The Bird’s Eye Jazz Club (Switzerland), La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), Jazzwerkstatt Festival Bern (Switzerland), Reformierte Dorfkirche Kleinhüningen (Switzerland), Klubschule St. Gallen (Switzerland), BeFlat Jazz Club (Germany), Der Sendesaal, (Germany), Hallenbad Kultur Am Schactweg, (Germany), The Tokyo Jazz Festival (Japan), Garaman Hall (Japan), Body & Soul Jazz Club (Japan), Shikiori (Japan), Kaho Gekijo Kabuki Theatre (Japan), Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord and L’Onde Théâtre et Centre d’art as part of the Festival d’Automne à Paris (France), The Aarhus Jazz Festival (Denmark), The Cape Town International Jazz Festival (South Africa), The Joy of Jazz Festival (South Africa), The National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (South Africa), The Gaborone International Music and Culture Week Festival (Botswana), The Orbit Jazz Club (South Africa), The Wits Great Hall (South Africa), CCFM – The Centro Cultural Franco-Moçambicano (Mozambique), The Mahikeng Jazz Festival (South Africa), Harare International Festival – HIFA (Zimbabwe),The Tianjin International Jazz Festival (China), No Black Tie (Malaysia), MICA (India), B-Flat (India), The Gonsalves Mansion ‘Home of Jazz’ (India) and Canada’s Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Victoria International Jazz Festival, Vancouver International Jazz Festival & Festival International de Jazz de Montréal.