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Composition & Orchestration

Hans Roosenschoon

By Composition & Orchestration

Emeritus Professor Hans Roosenschoon (b. 1952)

The composer Hans Roosenschoon is well known for his poly-stylistic music, including his contribution to cultural life and academia in South Africa. Roosenschoon was Chair of the Music Department and Director of the Conservatory at Stellenbosch University from 1998-2006. From 2007 until his retirement in 2017 he established a vibrant course in composition and orchestration, producing a number of innovative young composers who have established themselves in South Africa and abroad.

Trans-cultural awareness – a belief in the intrinsic value of all music – emerged as a philosophy early in Roosenschoon’s career and many of his works are testimony to that. In addition to ongoing performances in South Africa, seven works for symphony orchestra, two for string orchestra, chamber music and several choral pieces have featured at events in the USA, Europe, Australia and the UK.

Discourse on Roosenschoon’s music can be found in accredited journals published in South Africa and in international references such as Contemporary Composers by Brian Morton and Pamela Collins, online publications such as Grove Music Online and Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG) Online, as well as Sounding the Cape – Music, Identity and Politics in South Africa, an eBook publication. Further reading can be found online and examples of his music are available on YouTube.

Ernst van Tonder

By Composition & Orchestration

Ernst van Tonder began his musical training at the age of 4 in Bloemfontein, taking recorder lessons with Kobie Colditz. In 1997 he moved to Richards Bay where he received most of his initial musical training. From 1997 he took piano lessons with Henriette Mans. He attended Grantleigh College from 1999 where he started clarinet lessons with Marietjie Lotz as well as saxophone and piano lessons with Hayley White (Smith) between 2007 and 2008. From 2008 he received private piano and advanced theory lessons with Anne-Marie van der Merwe.

In 2008 Ernst was the bursary winner of the Zululand Mondi Eisteddfod, winning six trophies in various categories. Between 2004 and 2008 Ernst was the principal of the Grantleigh Wind Band, high school choir accompanist and completed his UNISA Grade 8 clarinet exam in 2006.

In 2009 he started his BMus degree at Stellenbosch University. In his first year he was
involved in productions as clarinetist and saxophonist of Nunsense Amen, West Side Story,
and Midnight the Moonlight and Me. He was a member of USSBE from 2009 – 2013 as 1st clarinet and has played under the baton of renowned conductors such as Robert Maxym, Allan Stephenson, Sean Kierman, and Rik Gesqhuire. In 2012 Ernst graduated with his BMus degree, specializing in composition, under the tutelage of Prof. Hans Roosenschoon and clarinet with Maria du Toit.

As a composer, Ernst has transcribed works for USSBE, residence acapella groups, and the Orchestra for the annual KOMPOS concert. He has also been commissioned by ensembles in New Zealand, Portugal, Belgium, and France to transcribe works for Concert and Jazz Band. In 2013 and 2014 he was awarded the SAMRO composition bursary. Between 2011 and 2014, Ernst held the position of Treasurer and Orchestral Manager at KOMPOS. In 2013 he started his MMus at Stellenbosch University, specializing in composition. He is currently lecturing in rudimental theory of music, composition, and orchestration in the higher certificate and diploma courses at the music department.

Antoni Schonken

By Composition & 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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