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Carina Venter

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Carina Venter holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of Oxford. Upon completing a Junior Research Fellowship in 2017 at Merton College (University of Oxford), she took up a lectureship in musicology at Stellenbosch University’s Music Department.

Alumni news

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Two Maties Alumni, Lucinda Watts and Roché van Tiddens are engaged. The couple met each other while studying at the Conservatorium in 2011. Lucinda specialized in Music Education and among other ventures, taught music lessons as part of the community music project Jamestown Sounds. Roché studied Music Composition under the tutelage of Hans Roosenschoon. During this time Lucinda was employed as a music teacher at Bastion Primary School. After completing his master’s degree in 2016, the couple spent a year in the UK. Here Roché continued his studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where he obtained a Post-Graduate diploma in composition. Thereafter the couple moved to the Hague, Netherlands where Lucinda studied a master’s degree in music education at the ‘Royal Conservatory’ and Roché studied the one-year course in Sonology.

For Lucinda’s research, the couple started a project called Crab Music (, which is aimed at bringing music composition, with the use of hands on electronic sound generators, to young learners in the form of a workshop. A fusion of both of the couple’s individual interests, electronic music composition and music education. During the workshop participants build their own electronic instruments with simple objects such as batteries, speakers and contact microphones. After the participants discover a new sound world, their ideas are developed into a musical composition which is then performed as a small concert for their parents at the end of the workshop. After the pilot workshop with a total of 8 participants the project grew and developed. In 2019 Crab Music was invited to take part in the annual music festival, ‘Rewire’ ( Apart from hosting Crab Music workshops Lucinda has a private piano studio and teaches violin at the British School in the Netherlands.

Roché is currently working on a new composition called Dumelang for choir and with live electronics. The piece was commissioned by the ‘Haags Toonkunstkoor’, a choir that has been around for nearly 200 years, which he is also a member of. The text of the piece comprises of greetings in the 11 official South African languages and the music includes recordings of wildlife made on a game reserve in the Limpopo Province. The meaning of the text is a celebration of diversity in South Africa and would have been performed as part of the ‘75ste jaar bevrijdingsdag  feest’ on the 5th of May 2020. Visit Roché’s website to listen to of his works (

The happy couple are planning to get married in Western Cape in 2021.

Endler Concert Series

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In line with the South African Government measures instituted to stem the spread of the corona virus, all concerts and events of Season 1 (April-June) of the Endler Concert Series are postponed until further notice. This includes Lunch Hour concerts, concerts of the Endler Concert Series and the Piano Symposium.

We will keep you updated on the situation, specifically when the concerts will commence again.

We wish you and your loved ones all the best in these uncertain times.


Artistic Manager, Endler Concert Series

CD Launch of Die Kruisiging

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In the Konservatorium on 3 March a new CD of exceptional significance was introduced to the public. It is a recording of Die Kruisiging, the first St. John Passion in Afrikaans, which was composed by Winfried Lüdemann for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.  Martin Berger, Senior Lecturer in Choral Conducting in the Department of Music, was responsible for the recording.  The significance of the project lies therein that a professional vocal ensemble in Germany, directed by Berger, joined forces with five experienced South African soloists to record the work.  The ensemble AmaCantus rehearsed the numerous choral sections of the work in Afrikaans and then recorded them in Düsseldorf, while the solo sections were recorded simultaneously by the South African singers in Stellenbosch.  Dr Gerhard Roux, lecturer in Music Technology in the Music Department, was responsible for the local component of the recording.  The final product was put together in Germany and is now being marketed world-wide by the German recording company Guma Records.  Charcoal drawings by the Stellenbosch artist and former Matie Ydi Coetsee, which were created specifically for Die Kruisiging, adorn the CD cover and booklet.

At the launch Berger described the CD as an exceptional example of international cooperation in both the artistic and technological fields between Stellenbosch University and leading players in the music industry abroad.  He added that the University can be proud to be involved in a project of this magnitude and significance.  It illustrates that our expertise is both locally relevant and internationally competitive.

The recording does not only give world-wide exposure and recognition to one of the most extensive sacred works to be composed in Afrikaans to date, but also to Afrikaans as a language of music.

The CD can be acquired for R180 from Fiona Grayer at, or tel. 021 808 2358.

Xander Kritzinger

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Xander Kritzinger is a well-established choir conductor, tenor and composer of vocal music who began his career as a member of the award-winning Drakensberg Boys Choir, where he was later appointed as student conductor.

Xander holds a Master’s degree in singing performance with a focus on research into training the changing boy voice from Stellenbosch University. Since 2008 he has been the full-time conductor at Stellenbosch High and in 2010 he was appointed as a full-time teacher in singing, music history and theory at Stellenbosch High.

As a tenor Xander often performs with professional vocal ensembles like the Cape Consort and Cape Town Soloist Choir specializing in early music. He has also regularly performes as soloist in major works like the JS Bach’s Ascension Oratorio and GF Handel’s Utrecht Jubilate.

Since 2014 Xander is also the voice coach and conductor of the Viva Cantare community choir from Stellenbosch. In 2019 he established the Stellies Children’s Choir, a community choir for primary school learners from the greater Stellenbosch area.

Janel Speelman

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Janel Speelman is a rising South African soprano, who is quickly establishing herself as an emerging artist in opera, concert and art song. Recent performances include the Concert of Hope as part of the Suidoosterfees, as well as Niel Rademan’s acclaimed South African Sopranos performance of Heldinne as part of the Woordfees. Ms Speelman is a graduate of UCT, where she attained her bachelor of music degree, an honors in western classical vocal performance and a postgraduate diploma in opera under the direction of Prof Virginia Davids and, Prof Kamal Khan. She then completed a master of music degree under Prof Daniel Washington at the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Ms Speelman was invited to sing at the School of Music Theatre and Dance annual prestigious performance at the Kennedy Centre as part of a select group representing the school. During her study; she was awarded the Andrea Person Vocal Award and the George Shirley Scholarship.

Bridget Rennie-Salonen

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Flautist, Dr Bridget Rennie-Salonen (PhD LicAE LRSM PGDip BA) is also both researcher and practitioner in musicians’ health, with expertise in somatic learning. Her extensive experience as a music educator informs her research, and her ongoing and varied performance output contributes valuable perspectives to both her research and pedagogy. She is interested in the interaction of the physiological, psychological, behavioural, and artistic aspects in performers. Bridget’s PhD focused on tertiary music students’ occupational health curriculum content, implementation, and assessment. She is on the team of the international Musicians’ Health Literacy Consortium, is a Research Fellow and Part-time Lecturer at Stellenbosch University, and is a licensed Andover Educator. She is highly sought after as a flute teacher, and many of her students have excelled nationally and internationally, several occupying positions in South African (SA) orchestras. As the Solo Principal Flute of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, she was the recipient of the prestigious Ben & Faye Carklin Award for Artistic Excellence. Recent awards include Fiesta, Silver Ovation, and Oppenheimer Memorial Trust awards. A well-known freelance performer, she has appeared as soloist with several SA orchestras. She is principal flute of the Cape Town Festival Orchestra, permanent guest principal with the Free State Symphony Orchestra, and is Baroque traverso flautist with the Camerata Tinta Barocca, SA’s premier early music ensemble.

Barry Ross

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Barry Ross has research interests in music cognition, specifically tonal syntax and its relationship to language. He is also interested the origins of human musicality, the cognitive structure of tonal knowledge in general, and communication and meaning in music. Barry completed his PhD at the Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Ian Cross. There, he conducted experimental research on the cognitive relationship between linguistic and musical syntax, as well as the notion of integrative processing in music. Between 2014 and 2018, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, where he worked on the implications of east African traditional music on current models of pitch cognition.

Tribute to flautist Éva Tamássy

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The recent passing away of the Stellenbosch flautist Éva Tamássy on 30 November 2018 was lamented by all music lovers. A memorial service took place at the Dove’s Chapel, Somerset West, during which Gabriele von Dürckheim and Liesl Stoltz, with guitarist Michael Hoole, performed music by CPE Bach and Jules Massenet.

Tamássy was a well-known personality in especially music circles of the Western Cape. As gifted instrumentalist she played a significant role in the promotion of music for the flute, and appeared as member of a variety of ensembles. She was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936, and received her music education at the Ferenc Erkel Conservatorium and Franz Liszt Music Academy, Budapest, and studied later with French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal. Escaping from Hungary with her parents after the 1956 uprising, she settled in Johannesburg and soon established herself as broadcaster, recitalist, chamber musician and concerto soloist. She obtained the Unisa Performers’ Licentiate in Flute with distinction in 1965, and made many recordings for the SABC radio.

Since her appointment as flute lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch (1960) she was lauded for her chamber music concerts of Baroque music together with artists such as Shirley Gie (organ), Dalena Roux (cello) and Boudewijn Scholten (harpsichord). She played and broadcast regularly in concerts with ensembles such as Musica Antiqua, Serenade Ensemble, Pro Arte Wind Ensemble, Tamássy-Fortescue Duo, Concerts 4 x 2, and the Tamássy Flute Quartet. In the early 1990s she compiled and presented a 13-part series for radio called From Shepherd to Symphony. Illustrated radio programmes also focused on the French flute virtuoso and pedagogue Marcel Moyse, and on Theobald Boehm, composer and inventor of the modern flute. Besides teaching she also presented masterclasses – in Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Pecs (Hungary).

During her professional career she never backed away from the challenges of contemporary music, as is testified by her performance of Berio’s Sequenza. Several local composers dedicated works to her, including Arnold van Wyk’s only composition for flute, Poerpasledam (a corruption of the French Pour passer le temps) for flute and piano. At the first performance of the work in 1981 Tamássy was accompanied by the composer. Other composers include Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg, Hubert du Plessis and Roelof Temmingh.

Flute compositions Temmingh wrote for her include his Façade for flute and piano (1971, revised 1973), Nude for flute and piano (1973), a Sonatine for flute and guitar (1977), Moedverloor op A-mol for 12 flautists (premièred by 24 players in 1974), a Flute Quartet (1975), Psalm 42 for five flutes and bassoon (1976), a Quartet for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, Last Pieces no 2 for unaccompanied flute solo (subtitled by Tamássy as Nostalgia) (1987) and a Flute Concerto (premièred by Tamássy and the USSO in 1989).

Tamássy made regular visits to Europe to keep abreast of the latest flute teaching methods, and to pave the way for her students to study in Europe in the music schools in Germany, France, England and Hungary. In collaboration with pianist Virginia Fortescue the duo gave public recitals in Vienna, Budapest, Scotland and France between 1990 and 1996 and a recital on Radio Budapest. She was also an editor of scores, and arranged Hungarian music such as folk songs for flute and piano.

After retirement in 1998 until shortly before her death Tamássy still played regularly, and maintained the tutoring of a handful of pupils at her house. She is remembered fondly by her family and friends, and she is honoured, in particular, by the numerous flute players whom she trained and mentored during almost sixty years of teaching.

Her former students will honour her legacy in several ways. As a tribute to her, a concert dedicated to the flute, directed by Gabriele von Dürckheim, is planned for 2019 at the Music Department, Stellenbosch University. Tamássy’s valuable collection of sheet music will find a permanent home in the library of the Johnman Music Centre in Herte Street. Some of her ex-students, Marietjie Pauw, Mariëtte Schumann and Linda de Villiers, have established ‘The Tamássy Hour’, open to all flautists, for regular sight reading sessions, and playing music from the Tamássy Collection.

Written by Prof Izak Grové & Marietjie Pauw

Bennie van Eeden retires after 30 years at the Konservatorium

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Retirement –  As the Afrikaans poet Uys Krige says in his poem Plaashek , I experience retirement  as a gate that has to be opened  for a different phase in my life. He says: Waar het my paaie nie geloop, om my by hierdie hek te bring? Ek lig die knip en maak ‘n hek oop in my hart.

How do I feel about it??  I feel like the Schubert Lied that is normally sung by first years, sometimes out of tune- Lachen und weinen  zu jegliche Stunde-— Laughter …and tears…  at any hour.

Allow me a few words…

There are so many things I am grateful for:

A: I consider myself very fortunate and privileged to have been in a tertiary position   for 40 years, where my occupation revolved around my prime passion- music, -of which 10 years was at the Wellington Training College, and the past 30 years at the Conserve.

As a first year student at the old Conserve in 1972, I did not consider it a possibility at all to serve at any stage on the staff of the Conserve. I was very much in awe of names like Richard Behrens, Reino Ottermann, Betsie Cluver, John Antoniadis, Lionel Bowman, Arnold van Wyk , Hubert du Plessis, Roelof Temmingh etc.

However, I was appointed here in 1988 at the new Conserve… What a privilege to work in such an aesthetic  environment, to teach  in this stylish, class leading and timeless  architectural masterpiece, with its wonderful facilities, foyers, aulas, studios, soundproofing, beautiful views, shadow lines at most windows and doors, and the beautiful fire staircases, which remind me somewhat of the saucer-sculptured Guggenheim museum in N.Y.

B: Most importantly, were the people in the building.

Students: The highlight of my job was working with our music students, which, to my mind, are of a special level and class. Working and interacting with them individually, or in ensemble, in repertoire classes and especially at the Voorspeelklasse, was immensely rewarding… And l will miss the constant renewal of faces, personalities and talent with the yearly intake. I am so fortunate to be able to state that I have lived my dreams.

C: But of course the tip of this musical pyramid is the staff-you. What a super-talented group you are, actually able to function with great success in the corporate world, but dedicating and investing your energy to an educational institute.

I experienced so much goodwill from all of you all.

  1. The friendly an accomplished face of the managerial and communication division- Fiona and team.
  2. Facility Official and team –Nicky.
  3. Administrative team
  4. The welcoming people at the cafeteria
  5. Beulah and her well equipped library and staff
  6. The academic staff
  7. And lastly the Practical Staff: permanent as well as ad hoc members:

You were the group where my heart belongs. I consider creativity as the heartbeat of life. Performing with colleagues have been so inspiring and professionally enriching. And I want to specially mention Corvin today, with whom I shared many a stage with his orchestra, in a trio (Romantic) and in Bach concerto with Suzanne. A special word of thanks to  Fiona as well as Peter for the great honour bestowed on me to perform Mozart’s K271 and K 365 piano concerti with the SU Camerata at the Woordfees in March this year as a farewell concert.

D. And that brings me to the TOP floor, third floor- my piano colleagues:

Nina, your appointment about 20 years ago, elevated  the  Conserve to another level regarding international exposure, connections and musical events. I am so grateful for the opportunity working with you and I have so much appreciation in the special way you acted as head of the  piano division. And… I have known you since you were 15 competing in the Hennie Joubert Piano Competition in Wellington.

Luis, with your special talents and insight, thank you for being a wonderful colleague. We all admire your persuasive skills to convince even Yamaha to get rid of their pianos, apparently even of two of the superb CFX models!!

Pieter, I still remember your stunning performance and exceptional masterclass at your audition. Thank you for being a very special colleague. You also had the task of guiding this complex and diverse Department during the last 2 difficult years, sometimes, as the Dean said, having to make unpopular decisions. I admire your work ethic, sense of responsibility, integrity, academic and intellectual talents- and your continuing concertising.

Lastly, Mario I wish you and the Conserve a prosperous time ahead. I believe that with your skills, managerial experience and talent, backed by the dedicated and supporting staff, 2019 and the future will be a very successful era for the Conserve, remaining a bastion of competence and a star of civilization.

I thank you all.

I will miss you all.

I love you and I salute you.