African Composers Edition (ACE) serves African composers and African music primarily by typesetting previously unpublished scores (sheet music). We specialise in transcribing and translating choral music in tonic solfa notation, recognising that few choirs worldwide can access this genre, but we also publish other genres of African art music, and jazz. ACE scores are formatted as downloadable pdfs with title page, publication and copyright details, historical notes, translations where appropriate, and critical commentary. They are numbered sequentially as they appear in ACE’s Publishers Catalogue, beginning from ACE 001, and by Composer, based on initials, e.g. JPM 001, JPM002. Each version of a work also has an International Standard Music Number (ISMN) which makes that score unique in the world.
Music in southern Africa is an enormous field with a long history dating back centuries before European settlement. ACE has chosen from the thousands of recent composers from the last century a handful of people to publish, so far, but we hope to expand. What makes our composers unique is that all their music is already notated in some form or other.
All our scores are First Editions, which means that ACE is the first publisher to present scores in their current form. We group some of them into Complete Editions, which means publishing everything available by one composer. Two of these are Critical or Scholarly Editions, which means that ACE has compared different versions of all works to come to an informed decision about which one carries the most authority as an original work by that composer. Our complete editions are divided into Volumes for convenience.
ACE general editor
ACE general editor Christine Lucia was born in London and studied music at Oxford (1965-1968). She has a post-graduate certificate in higher education from Durham University (1969), a Licentiate in Piano Performance from the Royal Academy of Music (1971) and a PhD from Rhodes University (1978). Lucia spent 41 years in South Africa teaching at Rhodes, Durban-Westville (1983-84), Natal University (1985-88), UDW (1989-97), Rhodes (1997-2002) and Wits (2002-2007). Since 2009 she has been Honorary Professor at Stellenbosch University. Her research into African choral music has been assisted by the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the National Arts Council (NAC), the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, Stellenbosch University and the Andrew Mellon Foundation of New York.
African Composers Edition (ACE) was founded in 2012 by Christine Lucia, to publish the works of Mohapeloa (1908-1982), initially inspired by meeting the composer’s daughter-in-law, Mrs Ntsiuoa Joyce Mohapeloa, in 2006. With the help of Dr Mantoa Motinyane and Mrs Mpho Ndebele as translators, the Mohapeloa edition was completed in 2015 and revised in 2016. Lucia began work on an edition of music by Surendran Reddy in 2014, and in 2017 when funding became available, she produced a complete Moerane edition together with the assistance of Mokale Koapeng, Kgaugelo Mpyane, Mpho Ndebele, Marc Rontsch and Zayne Upton. This edition was published in 2020. In 2021 ACE began publishing selected works by Ugandan composer, Justinian Tamusuza.