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Chamber Music

Pieter Grobler 

By Chamber Music

The South African pianist, Pieter Grobler, has been described as a performer with “finesse, sensitivity and a flawless sense of the classical style” (The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa). Grobler worked with Joseph Stanford at the University of Pretoria. Postgraduate studies were with Joseph Banowetz, at the University of North Texas (UNT) in the USA, where he completed the MM and DMA piano performance degrees. During his tenure at UNT he regularly attended lessons with the Polish pianist: Adam Wodnicki, Elvia Puccinelli and Harold Heiberg.  Pieter Grobler was the recipient of numerous scholarships and prizes from institutions in both South Africa and the USA.

In 2010 he accepted a position in Piano at Stellenbosch University, where he lectures in piano performance, chamber music, vocal accompaniment and repertoire studies. Postgraduate supervision has centered on topics in pedagogy and repertoire studies.  Pieter Grobler regularly acts as adjudicator and examiner throughout South Africa, and is the organiser and chairman of the jury for the Hennie Joubert Piano Competition, held bi-annually as part of the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium. He has taught and performed in its sister project, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival since 2011.  In addition to his music activities, he has served as chair of the Stellenbosch University Department of Music.

Pieter maintains an active concert profile, both as solo and collaborative artist. In addition to performances across South Africa he has performed in the USA, Canada, Europe and China. Noteworthy amongst these appearances was a live radio broadcast of a solo piano recital as part of the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series hosted at the Chicago Cultural Centre, a number of South African national tours, and numerous appearances with duo partner, the violinist Annette-Barbara Vogel: both in Canada and South Africa.  Pieter is a familiar face to Stellenbosch audiences where he performs regularly. To date he has performed numerous South African premieres of works, the most noteworthy being Alexander Johnson’s 3 Incantations for Piano (dedicated to him), Peter Klatzow’s Sonata for Cello and Piano with cellist Peter Martens, and Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Safika – Three Tales of African Migration.

Examples of his piano playing can be found on his YouTube channel:

Karin Maritz

By Chamber Music

Karin Maritz lectures in recorder, chamber music, teaching didactics, music education and business ethics on undergraduate as well as post-graduate level.

Her initial impetus came from teacher Thelmay Linde and Irmgard Winkler-Haller, who inspired her to follow a career in music. She studied recorder (BMus solo performance) with conductor and composer Dr Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg at Stellenbosch University. At Stellenbosch, she also studied flute with Dianne Mitchell-Baker and classical guitar with Dietrich Wagner. At Unisa, she studied with Prof. Niel Geldenhuys and obtained her licentiates in recorder.

Having played instruments from both the brass- and woodwind families, she chose to pursue a career as a recorder specialist. She had a very active career as solo performer, did many recordings for the SABC which were broadcasted regularly. Her initial career spanned three schools as well as the University of the Western-Cape, before she was appointed at Stellenbosch University.  Initially more well-known and active as a guitar accompanist, she gradually started to focus more specifically on recorder as a speciality field as well as in Baroque historical performance and the art of ornamentation.  The recorder department at the Department of Music currently hosts arguably the largest number of students specialising in the instrument in the country, either as soloists or in ensemble and/or chamber music context.  Some of her past students have pursued their studies and careers in Europe and America as successful soloists and/or chamber music musicians and teachers.

Karin is a well-known adjudicator at eisteddfods and music events around the country. She is also a regular presenter of workshops and master classes with specific focus on performance practice, chamber music, Baroque ornamentation and the French Baroque style in general. She is also a Unisa music examiner.

She obtained her MMus degree cum laude in 2002 at Stellenbosch, with specific emphasis on the methodology, interpretation and performance of the French Baroque style.

Corvin Matei

By Chamber Music

Conductor, Flute player and esteemed teacher, CORVIN MATEI is Professor of Flute and Conducting at the Stellenbosch University. He is the founder and Music Director of the Cape Town Concert Orchestra and the Music Director of the Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra.

Born in Romania, he studied at the Bucharest Conservatoire of Music graduating with a Masters in Flute performance. During his studies he also attended orchestral conducting courses and master classes with prominent Romanian conductors and participated in international festivals in Germany (including Bayreuth), Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, France, Spain and Italy.

After graduating, Matei auditioned and was appointed at the “G. Enescu” Philharmonic Orchestra, where he played for seven years under conductors such as Celibidache and Mazur, amongst others. During his seven years with this orchestra he also appeared as soloist with other leading orchestras in Romania, and he became more interested in conducting attending Witold Rovitscki’s Summer Master Classes in Vienna, and Sergiu Celibidache’s Master Class in Bucharest. He also recorded intensively for Romanian Radio-Television, and was awarded first prize in the Romanian National Competition in 1976 and 1983.

After leaving Romania in 1983, he studied conducting with Professor Erich Kluge form the Cologne Conservatoire and performed both as soloist and conductor with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra during their tour to Southern France.

In 1985 Corvin Matei was appointed Principal Flute of the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra where he played for twelve years. During this period he also performed in solo concerts with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, the CAPAB Chamber Orchestra and the Bloemfontein Symphony Orchestra. In 2001, for over a year he played Principal Flute with the new Cape Philharmonic. He has also recorded for the SABC, and his first CD, Music for Flute and Harp has proved to be a great success. In the same year he was awarded a PhD by the University of Cape Town.

From 1997, after studying with Bernard Gueller (one of Celibidache’s best students), Matei has started a busy conducting schedule. In South Africa he conducted the Johannesburg Philharmonic, The Cape Philharmonic, The Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra (which in 2004, under his direction won the category of best symphony orchestra among 46 orchestras at the prestigious Tygerberg Competition), the Cape Sinfonia, The Beau Soleil Symphony Orchestra (from 2001 till 2004 he was Head of Woodwind Department at Beau Soleil Music Centre) and the Sans Souci Orchestra (the orchestra, under his direction was awarded the coveted SAMRO Trophy in the 1999 Eisteddfod).

In 2004 Dr Matei was appointed at the Music Department of Stellenbosch University Department of Music, and Music Director of the symphony orchestra. In the same year, he started his international career as a conductor, when he was invited to conduct three of Romania’s leading professional orchestras. Since then he has been conducting all major Romanian orchestras, as well as orchestras in Ukraine and Bulgaria. At present Corvin Matei has a busy conducting schedule in South Africa and abroad.

Suzanne Martens

By Chamber Music

Suzanne Martens studied at the University of Pretoria under Prof Alan Solomon where she obtained the BMus Performers and BMus Honours degrees, both cum laude. She furthered her studies in Holland under Jan Repko (Academie Minerva, Groningen) and in Austria under Lavard Skou-Larsen (Mozarteum, Salzburg), where she was a member of the Salzburger Musici Chamber Orchestra. She has subsequently obtained a MMus (cum laude) in chamber music from the University of Stellenbosch, and is currently enrolled for a DMus at the University of Pretoria.

Suzanne’s first exposure to ensemble and orchestral playing was at the hand of the late Betty Pack. Later she was a member of Harmonia Juventia as well as Pro Musica, under the batons of Alan Solomon and Weiss Doubell respectively. As a student she was concertmaster of the UP Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra. Suzanne has been awarded several prizes, including the University of Natal 75th Anniversary Prize (1988) and the overall first prize in the ATKV Forté Competition (now the Musiq competition) in the same year. In 1991 she was part of the winning trio in the Oude Meester Chamber Music Competition. She was awarded academic colours at university.

Apart from performing as a soloist with all the major orchestras in the country, Suzanne is an active chamber musician who has appeared in different ensembles including the Rosamunde Quartet, the Allegri Trio, Schwietering Quartet, Lyric Trio, the Amici Quartet and the original Quartet of Peace. With these ensembles she has performed at various festivals in Southern Africa, working with acclaimed artists such as Leslie Howard, Juliette Bausor and Steven Prutsman. Suzanne has also worked with pianists Nina Schumann, Luis Magalhaes, Pieter Grobler, José Dias and Elna van der Merwe as part of piano duos and trios.

From 1994-2000 Suzanne was Associate Concertmaster of the New Arts Philharmonic Orchestra Pretoria, and a founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. She was concertmaster of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra in 2001/2002 and since 2005 she acts as guest concertmaster for approximately half of every symphony season, working with conductors such as Arjan Tien, Bernhard Gueller, Yasuo Shinozaki and Jonas Alber. She is an ad hoc member of Camerata Tinta Barocca, for which she plays Baroque violin.

Suzanne was appointed at the University of Stellenbosch in 2002, and is currently senior lecturer in violin. Together with cellist Peter Martens, she leads the Stellenbosch Camerata, and is also coordinator of Chamber Music at the US Department of Music. She is a faculty member at the annual Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, and has also been a faculty member at various other chamber music festivals. She has served on the jury of the Artscape Youth Music Competition several times and has acted as external examiner for the Universities of the Free State and Pretoria. She is also frequently asked to adjudicate eisteddfods. Where possible, Suzanne tries to encourage her students to further their studies and musical experience abroad.

Bennie van Eeden

By Chamber Music

Bennie van Eeden obtained the Teacher’s Diploma, BMus and HonsBMus degrees cum laude from Stellenbosch University, having passed all his UNISA piano examinations with distinction.  As a student he received numerous prizes and awards, most notably the FAK Music Bursary (twice), the Conservatoire Stipendium and a Merit Award for the best overall fourth year student at the university.  He also obtained the LTCL and UPLM diplomas. He taught at the Wellington Teachers’ Training College for ten years, and since 1988 has been appointed as lecturer in Piano and Piano Literature at Stellenbosch, filling the post of his erstwhile teacher, Betsie Cluver.

Bennie also studied with some of South Africa’s foremost pianists and teachers, viz. Lamar Crowson and Laura Searle (UCT) and John Antoniadis (US), under whose guidance he completed the practical component of the MMus in Piano Performance.  He participated in international piano competitions in Bolzano and Pretoria. He has also acted regularly as Faculty member at several International Piano Symposia and the International Chamber Music Festivals in Stellenbosch.

A versatile musician, performer and experienced teacher, Bennie is also known for his solo en chamber music performances, especially as member of the highly regarded Collage and Taffanel ensembles, to whom trio’s by South African composers Hendrik Hofmeyr and Alexander Johnson have been dedicated.  He has also accompanied some of South Africa’s foremost singers, including Marita Napier, Nellie du Toit, Aviva Pelham, Sabina Mossolow and André Howard, and international singers such as the Dutch soprano, Julia Bronkhorst.

He has been featured on the SABC and regularly performs at major art festivals around South Africa.  He is a founder member of the Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition and has since been involved in adjudicating and organizing this prestigious event.

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