History Department, PhD
Based at the Factory of the Arts, Reza Khota was appointed as artist in residence by the CHR in 2015. Khota was born in Johannesburg in 1977 and was introduced to the guitar by his father in the 1980s. He began his formal training with Jeremy Karodia at the age of ten, studying rock and classical guitar as well as chord theory. He later studied classical guitar and improvisation with Faizel Boorany, who fired his enthusiasm for experimental jazz, the classical avant-garde and progressive guitar music.
After enrolling for his B.mus degree at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Reza furthered his classical guitar studies under David Hewitt. During this time, he received master classes from Norwegian guitarist Vegard Lund and Austrian crossover guitarist/composer Helmut Jasbar. He has been a recipient of several important awards, including numerous Samro bursaries and merit awards. In 1998 he won first prize in the National Classical Guitar Competition. Reza now holds a Masters degree with distinction from Wits.
Reza performs regularly at festivals such as the Joy of Jazz Festival in Johannesburg and the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. He was the composer and guitarist for the crossover band Babu that was nominated for two SAMA awards and which undertook successful tours of South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar. In 2008 Babu released their debut album ‘Up Roots’, which was considered by the ‘Mail and Guardian’ as one of the top 20 South African albums of the decade.
Reza has also collaborated with people in the world of fine arts, most notably in performance pieces by William Kentridge and Nicholas Hlobo. He currently plays with the cream of young South African Jazz musiciansin bands such as Kesivan and the Lights, who received a standing ovation at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall in 2014, but also has his own quartet.