Bennie van Eeden retires after 30 years at the Konservatorium

By December 6, 2018News

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.

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