Reza Khota


Fellow: Department of History, Artist in Residence, 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.

Related News


My House is a Spaceship

CHR Early Career Doctoral Fellow Reza Khota debuted his new improvisation on guitar and pedals as part of NewMusicSA’21 Digital Indaba.

DSI-NRF Early Career Doctoral Fellows: Meet the Next Generation

The CHR’s Flagship fellowship programme for early career scholars is at the heart of a deep commitment to transforming higher education at the doctoral level in South Africa.

The Humanities in Session

During these strange and troubling times of planetary pandemic, lock down and physical isolation, the Centre for Humanities Research is convening a series of short performances online in “The Humanities in Session” series. As time passes, we hope to reflect on what it means for the Humanities to be “in session” in such times.

CHR Fellows and Faculty Win at National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences Awards

Heidi Grunebaum, Kurt Campbell, Reza Khota, and Kitso Lelliot won awards in the Book, Creative Collection and Digital Contribution 2019 Awards Ceremony of the NIHSS.

Reza Khota Quartet to play at Cape Town International Jazz Festival

CHR Artist in Residence to perform at 20th annual festival

Reza Khota Quartet – Liminal

25 November 2018

Dark Things

A collaborative project featuring CHR Artist in Residence Reza Khota

A Map of Suffering

The CHR’s Factory of the Arts, composer Reza Khota in collaboration with the AfroAsia’s project’s fine artist and animator Kristy Stone present the first part of their work as a collaboration.

Reza Khota Quartet at Standard Bank Jazz Festival

The National Arts Festival presents the Reza Khota Quartet as part of the Standard Bank Jazz Festival.

Reza Khota Quartet Inner Space Tour

The Inner Space Tour Inner Space is a play on the inner world of music […]