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Antoni Schonken

By September 15, 2016May 20th, 2019Composition & Orchestration

ANTONI SCHONKEN (1987-) is a South African composer currently residing in Stellenbosch, lecturing at Stellenbosch University and composing for Sein Media. His doctoral research, supervised by acclaimed composer Hans Roosenschoon, focused on developing a generalised theory of orchestration practice. He is a double recipient of the prestigious Harry Crossley Scholarship, as well as the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship for Composers. His works for instruments, voice, stage and film have won awards both locally and internationally.

Antoni’s compositions, which display elements of minimalism, impressionism and choral styles, have received critical acclaim. In reviews, his music is described as finely choreographed with a keen focus on developing vocal qualities within instrumental genres, while his rare compassion for landscape gives his musical idiom a deeply stirring authenticity.

Antoni has received commissions from ensembles including the Oxford Camerata, Unheardof//Ensemble and Juliet Quartet, as well as JIMF, GrassRoots and Sinfonia Gaia. His collaborations with NATi, Woordfees, acclaimed director Marthinus Bassoon and world-renowned poet Antjie Krog have led to performances locally and internationally.

While attending residencies and festivals in the USA, Antoni worked with composers Ken Ueno, Hannah Lash, David Ludwig, Mari Kimura and Pierre Jalbert, and in 2017 he attended residencies and presented guest lectures at institutions in Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. Antoni was the first South African composer to be invited to attend the MacDowell Residency in New England USA.

In recent years Antoni shifted his creative focus to reflect on hate crime — four recent works, 02:06, Liminal(ity), tobe:toknow, and Fate’s Given Chance have received critical acclaim at an international level, with performances in the USA and UK. His second string quartet, titled A 29-Year Old Security Guard (in memory of the Orlando shooting of 12 June 2016), was commissioned and premiéred by the Juliet Quartet.

In 2018 Die Nuwe Verbond, a musical work spanning over 60 minutes for choir, soloists, orchestra and dancers, was commissioned by Marthinus Basson and NATi in collaboration with Antjie Krog; this work addresses issues of identity, religion, empathy, and custodianship of Planet Earth.

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