Mageshen Naidoo

Mageshen is a guitarist, composer and educator. He hails from Chatsworth in Kwazulu Natal, and has an international performing and educational pedigree that spans several continents. Here are some of the highlights.


Mageshen graduated with a BMus degree (Jazz Studies) from the University of Natal before proceeding to a Master’s degree (MMus) which he earned cum laude. He was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, where he attended the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. There, he studied guitar with the legendary Joe Diorio and had master classes with Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Mike Stern, Paul Jackson Jr and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Mageshen graduated from USC with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Performance) as well as a Master’s degree (Studio/Jazz Guitar Performance).

Mageshen returned to South Africa to take up the position of Director of the Centre for Jazz & Popular Music at University of KwaZulu-Natal, where for six years he was also Senior Lecturer and Acting Head of the School of Music. He then relocated to Pretoria to serve as Deputy Director in the Dept of Music at UNISA. During this four year period (2011-2015) Mageshen was the Editor for the academic journal Musicus. Currently, Mageshen is an Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria, and is the Director for Jazz Studies in its Department of Music.

Prof Naidoo is the current President of the South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE) and continues to serve many educational and professional music organizations, including SAMRO – the South African Music Rights Organization.

Mageshen has won numerous awards, including the Old Mutual Jazz Competition (both Composer and Performance categories), and the Faculty award at University of Southern California for Distinguished Scholarship and Leadership.


As a jazz and blues guitarist Mageshen has performed in the USA, London, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Mexico (Puebla and Veracruz), Denmark, The Netherlands and all over South Africa.

He has shared the stage with several international artists, including:

• Joanne Brackeen – Professor at Berklee College of Music (Boston USA), and the first female pianist in the renowned Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. Joanne has 25 album releases to her own name.
• Mike Rossi – Professor in Jazz and Woodwinds at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, who regularly performs at clubs and festivals, and conducts saxophone workshops and master-classes in Africa, Europe and the United States.
• Yuri Honing – the Dutch saxophonist who has more than 16 recordings to his credit, and a regular performer at the North Sea Jazz festival;
• Ronald Snijders – the Suriname-born jazz flautist who has also performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival;
• Marco Pignataro – an Italian saxophonist who, until recently, was the director of the Jazz and Caribbean Music Department, and Jazz Saxophone Chair at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. He is a multi-talented saxophonist, composer, educator, and jazz columnist.
• Oscar Stagnaro – one of the most in-demand bassists along the United States East Coast, with a mastery of different music styles from Jazz and Fusion to Latin, Brazilian, and South American music. Oscar has been a Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston since 1988, and has performed with a virtual who’s who in the Latin and Jazz worlds. Oscar has accrued four Grammy Awards with a total of six nominations.
• Karin Bengjmark of Sweden
• Feya Faku – the South African trumpeter
• Ladysmith Black Mambazo; and
• Angelique Kidjo – the Beninese pop star who Time magazine once described as ‘Africa’s premier diva’. A Grammy award winner, Angelique has garnered a plethora of awards and accolades, including honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music, and Yale University.

One of Mageshen’s many performance highlights is a private birthday party for President Nelson Mandela – and performances at both the Commonwealth Heads of State, and African Heads of State conferences.


Mageshen made his debut recording on the album Dancing Rivers (1999) by Canadian pianist/composer Carol Ann Weaver. He also recorded Weaver’s 2008 album Every Three Children. Mageshen has also recorded his own original compositions and arrangements with the South African band, Tonk (2000) and his album Warwick Triangle (2009).

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