Felicia Lesch matriculated from Livingstone High School, and graduated with a BMus (Ed) degree from the University of Cape Town and a MMus from Stellenbosch University respectively. Her teaching career ranges from primary school to teacher training college and includes a long stint at Heathfield High School where she established a strong music department. Whilst in this position, she was responsible for the organisation of numerous outreach activities, including tours and events for music learners throughout South Africa and Namibia. In 2000, at the invitation of the Indonesian government, she travelled to Java in order to study the art of teaching and playing the angklung – an indigenous Indonesian instrument. In addition, she was appointed as Chief Examiner for the Western Cape Education Department Standard Grade written examination (harmony & theory) from 2000-2003. Felicia has always had strong roots in community engagement and since 1999 has been teaching at the Western Cape Music Education Project which was directed by Ronnie Samaai and which she currently manages. She was appointed at the University of Stellenbosch in 2003 and is currently the director of the Certificate Programme, the largest outreach activity in the Department of Music at SU. Under her direction, the Certificate Programme has grown to include satellite campuses, such as the campus at the Army Base in Youngsfield, Wynberg. Several significant community partnerships have also been established with among others, the Elgin Learning Foundation, Mitchell’s Plain Academy of Music and the Arts and the Athlone Academy of Music.
Felicia is also passionate about jazz education, and has been taking students to the National Youth Jazz Festival since 1999. Her involvement at the festival expanded to teaching and later to becoming a member of the selection panel for the National Schools Big Band, which she was selected to conduct in 2009. Her appointment as Lecturer in Community Music signals acknowledgement of the significant contribution of community music to our musical landscape and heralds new directions in research and teaching at the Music Department at Stellenbosch University. Highlights of her achievements at SU include the Rector’s Award for Excellence which she received in 2010 and 2014 and the establishment of Stellenbosch University Jazz band, (category and overall winner of the National Ensemble Competition 2012), which she conducts. She is also a member of the board of Directors of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and has served as adjudicator for various competitions, eisteddfodau and cultural festivals which include the Unisa Gr 8 scholarship competition, the Tygerberg International and Kaapse Afrikaanse eisteddfodau, the Cape Malay Choir Competition, the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition and the SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition. She is passionate about music as a vehicle for social change and remains deeply committed to those ideals.