Eugene Skeef is a South African percussionist, composer, poet, educationalist and animateur and has lived in London since 1980. He also works in conflict resolution, acts as a consultant on cultural development, teaches creative leadership and is a broadcaster.
2003 Eugene founded Umoya Creations, a charity set up to facilitate this international work. As a young activist he co-led a nation-wide literacy campaign teaching in schools, colleges and communities across apartheid South Africa.
As well as being at the forefront of the contemporary music scene collaborating with innovative artists, he has also been instrumental in developing the education programmes of some of the major classical orchestras in the United Kingdom. Eugene is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and has served on the board of directors of theLondon Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). He is on the advisory committee of Sound Junction, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’s award-winning interactive multimedia educational project. He is a judge on the BBC Choir of the Year.
September 2004 He was appointed musician in residence of the Purcell School of Music.
March 2005 Eugene performed with his Abantu Ensemble at Buckingham Palace and was presented to the Queen as part of the historic Music Day to celebrate the diversity of culture in Britain.
2007 Eugene directedMotherland, a dance theatre piece commissioned by Piali Ray OBE for sampad, the South Asian arts company based in Birmingham, UK. The piece was themed on the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
June 2008 Eugene and Richard Bissill’s Excite!, an orchestral commission by the LPO, was premiered at the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, London. Eugene is the Artistic Director of Quartet of Peace, an international project initiated by Brian Lisus, the South African luthier who has made a quartet of string instruments in honour of South Africa’s 4 Nobel peace laureates, Dr. Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and FW de Klerk. Quartet of Peace uses music to bring about peaceful resolutions to conflict and poverty, with a special focus on young people.
2010 Eugene’s collaborative project The Battle Of The Wordsmiths (with writer Tunde Olatunji and producers Blue Hippo Media) was a finalist in the PRS New Music Award.