Kutlwano made his conducting debut during the 2006 Arts Alive Festival conducting the music of Todd Mathsikiza and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. His drive is towards exploring cross-cultural works that stimulate dialogue between different performance traditions.
During the MIAGI Festival of 2008, he conducted the world-premier Coming Home, a jazz gospel cantata by Isak Roux. Some of the artists he has conducted include Simphiwe Dana, Sibongile Mngoma, Samson Diamond, Pretty Yende and Elvis Blue.
His international collaborations include conducting Brazilian icon Gilberto Gil (2011) in a concert at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, also featuring Paul Hanmer and Vusi Mahlasela accompanied by the MIAGI Youth Orchestra. Listen below to KAO.
In 2010 he conducted choreographed performances of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons danced by the Joburg Youth Ballet accompanied by the Philharmonia Moments Musicaux from Taiwan. He was also the conductor of Sibongile Khumalo’s Reflect. Celebrate. Live national tour in 2012.
Kutlwano’s skills as a musical director are vast. He is also a music arranger who is always looking to broaden orchestral repertoire, especially with South African content. He orchestrated Madiba the African Opera working closely with the composer of the opera, Sibusiso Njeza to come up with a modern and accessible South African operatic language. He also conducted the world-premier of the opera in May 2014.
Other musical interests include being the sound designer for the Freedom Park Museum’s exhibition with his esteemed colleague Rocco de Villiers.