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.

Collaboration with the Cape Town Animation School

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Antoni Schonken and Arthur Feder run a collaboration with the Cape Town Animation School, where they produce soundtracks to the final year projects. Aret Lambrechts from the Music Technology Department manages the sound effects in conjunction with this, while our students (Carlie Schoonees, Jesse Dreyer, Kristi Boonzaaier) record the soundtracks each year.

In recent film festivals, their work has won these awards:
New York International Film and Television Festival 2017:
Ben & Jerry (composer: Arthur Feder) — World Gold Medal
Hewn (composer: Antoni Schonken, Carlie Schoonees, Jesse Dreyer) — World Gold Medal
Khaya (composer: Antoni Schonken) — World Gold Medal
Nova (composer: Arthur Feder) — Silver Medal
So you want to be a goblin? (composer: Kristi Boonzaaier) — Finalist Certificate
Cape Town International Animation Festival 2017:
Hewn — Best Direction, Best Art Design, Best Story
Ben & Jerry — Best Character Animation, Best Lighting, Best Team Production
This brings the tally on their awards with these animations up to 25 since 2015, including features at the Annecy Festival, and awards for best sound design, best soundtrack, best animated short, and best animated student film.

Congratulations ALL!

Peter Martens

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Peter Martens holds a Masters Degree from the University of Cape Town and a PhD from Stellenbosch University where he studied in his formative years with Dalena Roux before studying with Heidi Litschauer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In 1993 Peter returned to South Africa and occupied principal positions in the New Arts Philharmonic Pretoria and Cape Philharmonic before moving to Stellenbosch University where he currently holds the position of Director of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.

He is a member of the Amici String Quartet, enjoys chamber music with amongst others, Leon Bosch (double bass), David Juritz (violin), Benjamin Schmid (violin) and Leslie Howard (piano), and has performed with the Brodsky String Quartet in London. Concerto engagements have resulted in collaborations with a number of fine conductors including Victor Yampolsky, Bernard Gueller, Douglas Boyd, Wolfram Christ, Nicholas Cleobury and Jonas Alber.

He has participated in festivals in Russia, Holland, Salzburg, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Portugal as well has having performed in the U.K. and U.S.A.

Many South African composers have written for him, the most notable composition being the Cello Concerto by Allan Stephenson, which he recorded for Meridian Records with the Cape Philharmonic. He has recorded the Bach Cello Suites and Beethoven Cello Sonatas for TwoPianists Records. Peter has recently acquired a Baroque cello having performed with L’Orfeo Baroque in celebrating Dr. Barry Smith’s 50 years of music making in Cape Town.

He is married with two children to violinist, Suzanne Martens.


Babette Roosenschoon

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Babette Roosenschoon holds a Masters of Music degree in performance from the University of Stellenbosch, under the tuition of Dalena Roux. During her postgraduate studies Babette won the Edna Elphick Cello Competition and became one of the first members of the Stellenbosch University String Quartet, a post-graduate chamber music initiative, which won category prize at the National Ensemble Competition in 2008.

Babette furthered her studies abroad at Universität Mozarteum (Salzburg, Austria) with Heidi Litschauer as well as at the University of North Texas (Denton, Texas) with Eugene Osadchy, where she performed as a member of UNT’s Center Piano Trio and Center Piano Quartet, and freelanced as a member of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra.

Babette returned to South Africa in 2011 to establish herself as a cellist in the Cape, furthermore with the intention of being part of a generation that promotes and advances current young professional musicians. She was a tutti cellist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra for 8 years and is currently the cellist of the Juliet String Quartet.

Jose Dias

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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.

Ionna Matei

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Ioanna Matei is a part-time oboe lecturer at the Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town’s College of Music and at the Beau Soleil Music Centre in Kenilworth.

She was born in Romania. At the age of fourteen she entered the Bucharest High School of Music where she studied oboe with the legendary Pavel Tornea, and in 1972 she matriculated with Distinction with a Baccalaureate Diploma, majoring in oboe.

After passing the entrance examination, she studied oboe with Radu Chisu (international prize-winning oboe-player) at the Bucharest Conservatoire of Music, obtaining with Distinction her Master’s Degree in oboe performance. During her studies, Ioanna was very involved in different chamber music groups and she also played in the Bucharest Conservatory Symphony Orchestra.

After her graduation she was appointed oboe teacher at the Bucharest School of Music and she also played as a permanent extra with the Romanian Radio & Television Symphony Orchestra.

In 1980 she obtained with Distinction the Higher Diploma in Education on Oboe, and continued to teach at the Bucharest School of Music until 1985, when she left Romania.

After coming to South Africa in 1985 she has established herself as a leading oboe teacher in Cape Town. Her students have obtained numerous distinctions at the Royal Schools of Music examinations and Eisteddfods competitions, and have been playing first oboe in the South Africa National Youth Orchestra, the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Miaggi, Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the orchestras of Stellenbosch and Cape Town universities and as ad-hoc players with the Cape Town Philharmonic.

Liam Burden

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Liam Burden graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a BMus  and a BMusHons cum laude. He specialized in saxophone performance under Darryl Walters. During his Honours year Liam was afforded the opportunity of studying abroad at the West Virginia University in the United States of America where he studied saxophone with Dr Michael Ibrahim and conducting with Dr Mitchell Arnold. In collaboration with the composition department, Liam successfully conducted the first KOMPOS concert which included works composed by the students for the event. In 2009 Liam collaborated with the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department, and Peter Krummeck, as the musical director for the play with music entitled Brothers.

Liam has been a member of staff at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre since January 2012 where he teaches saxophone and clarinet. Liam is conductor of the Hugo Lambrechts Symphony Orchestra.