All Posts By


Bridget Rennie-Salonen

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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.

Poverty does not get young musicians down; winner of prestigious ATKV prize

By | News | No Comments

Melisizwe Plaatjie was 16 years old when his fingers touched the piano keys for the very first time while trying hard to master a C-major scale. Now, three years later, this young musician from George was named as the winner of the Albert Engel Prize sponsored by the ATKV. This prize gives students from mostly previously disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to receive instrumental and theoretical teaching in music and possibly to enrol themselves later for a BMus degree.

“That was my first and last piano lesson, because there was not a music teacher at my high school,” said Melisizwe. Since only one of his parents worked, there was no money for private piano lessons. “I was broken. To improve, you have to practice piano on a regular basis and take lessons. ”

But where there is a will, there’s a way, and Melisizwe taught himself piano by watching pop and jazz piano lessons on YouTube. Until 2017 the video channel was his only teacher. “It greatly improved my technique and musical vocabulary.”

He dreamed of studying music after matric but struggled to get university admission. “I was very disappointed and felt lost. Music was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I started thinking I’m not good enough.”

But everything changed when he was accepted for the Certificate Programme in Music at Stellenbosch University this year.

“It was a challenge to play classical music, because for the past three years I’ve only played jazz and pop. But under the guidance of my music teacher, Throy Petersen, I feel that anything is possible.”

Melisizwe says it is a great honour for him to receive the Albert Engel Prize. “I’ve heard you’re only nominated if you work hard and your lecturer sees potential in you.”

The Certificate Programme was started by the late Albert Engel, a lecturer in brass instruments and conductor of the Stellenbosch Symphonic Wind Band. After Albert passed away in September 2003, his dream continued when it was decided to dedicate an annual prize in his name. The prize money of R20 000 is awarded to the student who shows the most enthusiasm, who rises above difficult circumstances and makes the best of the opportunity to study music at Stellenbosch University.

Melisizwe says his mantra is “if you don’t sow, you won’t reap”.

“This award proves it: you get out what you put in.”

Classical music triumphs at ATKV Muziq and Muziqanto

By | News | No Comments

Classical music deserves more recognition and that is exactly what the ATKV pursues with its Muziq and Muziqanto competitions. The final ended on a high note on Saturday evening (8 September) at the Hugo

Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow, Cape Town. Muziq (for young adult instrumentalists) and Muziqanto (for young adult vocalists) were judged simultaneously. Out of the seven competitors in each competition, three were chosen in the second round on Friday to perform Saturday evening alongside the Cape Town Festival Orchestra, under the baton of maestro Richard Cock.

“We are very fortunate at the ATKV to have a board of directors who are passionate about classical music,” says Gerrie Lemmer, chief executive: culture at the ATKV.

“We searched high and low for the best artists in the country and tonight they showed what they are made of.”

The winners in each competition walked away with a cash prize of R70 000, while the second-placed performers received R35 000 and R20 000 was given to third place.

The 21-year-old Cameron Williams claimed first place in the Muziq competition. The saxophonist’s agile fingers and long breath ensured that the crowd and the judges were in awe of this youngster’s talent.

“I’m absolutely elated. I grew up admiring the participants and winners of this competition and to be a winner myself is absolutely amazing,” Cameron said.

Brian Bae (piano) was second and Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg (violin) third.

The baritone Bongani Kubheka (27) won first prize in Muziqanto.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It was a very tough competition. Really happy to have taken the first place,” he said.

Luvoyo Mbundu came in second and Segomotso Shupinyaneng third.

The national Afrikaans radio station RSG was the media partner of ATKV Muziq and ATKV Muziqanto.

Legacy Celebration Concert

By | News | No Comments

The Stellenbosch University Jazz Band held a Legacy Celebration Concert on 11 May to celebrate two heroic South African icons – Nelson Mandela and Hugh Masekela – as part of the institution’s centennial celebrations. The Fiesta Award winning SU Jazz Band, one of the ensembles of the Music Department’s Certificate Programme, took centre stage under the direction of Felicia Lesch with esteemed vocal soloists Sima Mashazi, Babalwa Mentjies and Mynhardt Kruger.

The evening was specifically dedicated to launching the new Social Impact initiative of the Music Department under it’s new umbrella name Roots@SU. Roots@SU encompasses a network of programmes and projects that the Music Department is involved with through the Certificate Programmes, Rural Engagement Programme, Service Learning Programme, Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Endler Concert Series and many off-site partnership programmes. Special guests for the concert included SU Music Department community partners from areas such as Mitchell’s Plain, Athlone, Kuilsriver, Khayelitsha, Ceres, Mamre and Cloetesville. One of the highlights of the evening was when some of the learners from these community projects joined the SU Jazz Band on stage to perform Abdullah Ibrahim’s Nelson Mandela. Impressively, the kids stood up to take solos, much to the delight of the audience.

The evening also served as the launch event of the partnership between Stellenbosch University Music Department and the e’Bosch Heritage Project. Representatives from e’Bosch attended from the communities of Cloetesville, Idas Valley, Jamestown, Khayamandi, Klapmuts, Pniel, Kylemore, Raithby, Vlottenburg and Stellenbosch Central as well as music teachers and school principals from these communities.

Many of the songs performed were either composed by Masekela, such as Grazin in the grass and Thuma Mina (Send me) or powerful struggle songs such as Mayibuye. As the evening came to an end, the audience collectively danced to the well-known struggle song, Meadowlands as a tribute to Masekela, Mandela and all who wish to play a part in building a society of our dreams.

Talented young pianists to participate in Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition

By | News | No Comments

A group of nine talented young South African pianists will participate in the 2018 Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition, starting on Monday 12 March. Presented as part of the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, the competition is one of the most prestigious platforms in the country for young pianists.

The biennial competition, presented at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Konservatorium, was started in 1984 with Virginia Fortesque, Bennie van Eeden and Cecilia Lourens as judges, and many of the finalists have gone on to become well-known musicians. Recent former winners include Louis Nel (2016), Roelof Temmingh (2014) and Sulayman Human (2012).

This year, nine finalists have been selected as competition participants. The initial rounds will be held on Monday 12 March and Tuesday 13 March. Thereafter the judges will select five pianists to compete in the finals on Friday 16 March. Each of these five finalists will perform a movement from a piano concerto with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Corvin Matei.

The nine 2018 finalists are Qden Blaauw (13) from Durbanville, Beate Boshoff (16) from Bethlehem, Daniel Brodie (18) from East London, Leo Huan (14) from Pretoria, Gerhard Joubert (17) from Stellenbosch, Andrew Raney (16) from Johannesburg, Milano Reynecke (15) from Pretoria, Mike Wang (11) from Cape Town, and Simon Wu (17) from Cape Town.

Louis Nel (17), the most recent winner, says receiving the first prize in 2016 was a great moment in his life. “I was quite surprised because, at 15-years-old, I thought that I was too young and inexperienced for the competition. Many of the competitors had the experience of participating in previous years, and you never know how well they have progressed.”

For Louis, who hails from Pretoria, the most enjoyable part of the competition was preparing his concerto for the finals with the Stellenbosch University Symphony Orchestra. “It was also great to get to know the other competitors. Also, I learned such a lot from the master classes that was presented by the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium.”

As part of his prize, Louis gave a piano recital in Wellington. “This was very special for me. The competition has taught me that you should never underestimate yourself, and it helped me to improve my standard of playing and to be more at ease on stage,” says Louis.

He won a total of R22 000 in prize money, as well as three recital engagements.

First held in 2006, the Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium will run from 14 to 18 March at the SU Konservatorium, following the Hennie Joubert Competition. It brings together teachers, performers and students for a programme consisting of recitals, master classes and lectures. This year, three internationally acclaimed pianists – South African Jan Hugo, Israeli Aviram Reichert and the Russian-born German Jura Margulis – will be the guest artists of the Symposium.

The three pianists will each give a recital in the Konservatorium’s Endler Hall. Hugo will perform music by Beethoven, Debussy and Liszt on Wednesday 14 March; Reichert will play works by Brahms and Schubert on Thursday 15 March; and Margulis performs a programme of works by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky and Rachminoff on Saturday 17 March.

  • Concert tickets are available from Computicket. Symposium passes can be purchased on the Symposium website, The full Symposium programme is also available on the website, or call 021 808 2358 for more information.

Stellenbosch Symposium brings together pianists from across the world

By | News | No Comments

Three acclaimed pianists will be the guest artists at the seventh Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, which will be held from Monday 12 March to Sunday 20 March 2018. The biennial Symposium, presented by Stellenbosch University (SU) at the Konservatorium, has as its goal to promote piano teaching and performance.

The Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium, first held in 2006, provides teachers, performers and students with a platform for performance, education and the sharing of knowledge. The weeklong programme consists of recitals and master classes, a series of lectures, as well as a national piano competition.

This year, guest artists South African Jan Hugo, Israeli Aviram Reichert and the Russian-born German Jura Margulis will each give a piano recital during the Symposium. Reichert and Margulis will also present master classes at the Symposium.

Born in 1991, Hugo studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig, Germany, as well as in Italy. Most recently, in 2017, he was a semi-finalist in the Liszt International Piano Competition in Utrecht. For his Symposium recital on Wednesday 14 March, Hugo will perform works by, among others, Beethoven, Debussy and Liszt.

Reichert, praised for his intelligent interpretations, technique and tone, have won several major competitions in the Far East, France and Germany. He is a frequent soloist with the leading orchestras in his native Israel. On Thursday 17 March, Reichert gives a recital that includes works by Brahms and Schubert.

The final recital on Saturday 19 March will see Margulis performing a programme of works by Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Margulis has been internationally recognised for his compellingly communicative and emotional performances, as well as for the range of his tonal palette and his consummate virtuosity.

On the last evening of the Symposium, the popular Piano Extravaganza will be held, in which ten pianos and ten pianists will be on the Endler Hall’s stage.

“We are looking forward to a great 2018 Symposium. Lovers of piano music will get to hear great artists in our three special recitals, while piano teachers and students can learn and share knowledge in an environment where we all have the same passion,” says acclaimed pianist and SU piano lecturer, Prof Nina Schumann.

This year, about 50 piano students, ranging between the ages of 11 and 28, will attend the Symposium, as well as approximately 50 observers from across South Africa. Some of the student participants also perform in lunch-hour concerts.

The Symposium also presents the biennial Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition. This competition was started in 1984 with Virginia Fortesque, Bennie van Eeden and Cecilia Lourens as judges. Some of South Africa’s foremost pianists count among the finalists.

Recent former winners include Louis Nel (2016), Roelof Temmingh (2014), Sulayman Human (2012), and Dr Grethe Nöthling (2000), who will present a lecture at this year’s Symposium.

On the first two days of the Symposium, 12 and 13 March, competition participants will compete for the five finalist positions. These five pianists will then perform in the finals on Friday 18 March with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Corvin Matei. Each of the finalists will play a movement from a piano concerto.

  • Concert tickets are available from Computicket. Symposium passes can be purchased on the Symposium website, The full Symposium programme is also available on the website, or call 021 808 2358 for more information.

Jose Dias

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Portuguese-born pianist, José Dias, first travelled to South Africa in 2001 to enrol at the University of Stellenbosch, where he was to complete his BMus Honours cum laude, then furthering his studies at the Hochschule für Muzik und Theater in Zürich (Switzerland) where he obtained his Konzertdiplom with distinction.

In 2007, José Dias took up a position as repetiteur at Cape Town Opera, where he accompanied CTO artists in countless concert performances and was involved as repetiteur and vocal coach in productions ranging from Monteverdi to Gershwin and Heggie. He is still a regular collaborator and guest artist with CTO, most recently and notably as musical director and pianist of the CTO African Angels production, which has been touring locally and internationally since 2013 to unanimous popular and critical acclaim.

2011 marked the start of an already remarkable freelance performing career which sees him as a regular presence in all major concert halls in South Africa as well as in Festivals such as Aardklop, KKNK, Klein Karoo Klassique, Woordfees, etc. In recent seasons, international performances have taken him to Portugal, Israel, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria, with extensive tours of the Netherlands and Germany, including performances in such prestigious halls as the Berliner Philharmonie, Münchner Philharmonie, Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, among many others.

José Dias is in growing demand as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist, and has also been the musical director of Biblioteek Productions’ Amore, Waansin and Poskantoor operatic stage-works – the latter having been awarded Best Production at Aardklop and received two Fiesta Awards and seven Nominations. He was co-creator and curator of RISE, in cooperation with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra – a platform for the display of young SA classical talent – and is also an avid supporter of contemporary music, having premiered works by composers such as Hendrik Hofmeyr, Alexander Johnson and Braam du Toit. Many of these (some written especially for him) have been recorded and are available on CD.

José Dias is currently completing his PhD (Music) at the University of Cape Town under the supervision of Prof. François du Toit and Prof. Hendrik Hofmeyr, and is a part-time lecturer at the UCT College of Music.