Féroll-Jon Davids is in his first year of MMus studies at his alma mater, the University of Stellenbosch (US), pursuing his clarinet studies under Daniel Prozesky (principal clarinetist of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra). During the course of his Bachelor in Music, Féroll-Jon was the proud recipient of an Oppenheimer Memorial Trust scholarship, the first ever awarded to an undergraduate music student. In the beginning of 2018, he spent his first semester at the University of Georgia (UGA), in Athens, Georgia, in the United States of America. During his time there, he was appointed the position of principal clarinet of the Wind Symphony Ensemble and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
Féroll-Jon has also performed as a soloist at Youth Concerto Festivals across South Africa, including performances with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (2015), Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (2016) and the US Symphony Orchestra (2015, 2017).
During the first semester of 2017, he received the Riesa Special Undergraduate Bursary for Study in Music Performance from the Samro Foundation. This bursary is awarded on merit to three music students nationally who have excelled academically and practically in equal measure. A further highlight has been an opportunity to participate in Disa, a newly established chamber music programme hosted by members of Decoda, a group of chamber musicians affiliated to Carnegie Hall in New York, USA.
At the end of 2017, Féroll-Jon concluded his third-year being crowned the winner of the Mabel Quick International Scholarship Competition.
The thesis section of my MMus will explore how artistic excellence in Western Art Music performance and the notion of Coloured Identity played out in the life of Gordon Jephtas, a coloured pianist-répétiteur and an Eoan Group protégé. Jephtas managed a fruitful career in Europe and the USA during the apartheid era, working with world-class opera personalities including Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi.
More than 20 years after his death in 1992, Jephtas’ lifelong confidant in South Africa, Eoan
soprano May Abrahamse, donated almost 30 years of letter correspondence from Jephtas to
herself to the Eoan Archive held at DOMUS, Stellenbosch University.
While these letters offer much towards the historiography of Western Art Music in South Africa, its content reveals salient issues pertaining directly to his human character, perspectives and views on opera and art, his obsession with the soprano voice, the ups and downs of life behind the scenes of many an opera performance and ultimately the loneliness of his nomadic existence. Furthermore, these letters, encapsulating his aspirations, successes and failures, not only unveil a liberation narrative but prompts important questions extending over multiple disciplines – Coloured Identity, Creolization, Sexuality and ultimately Jephtas’ notion of Musical Performance as an Art form.
Interrogating this primary source through analyses, interpretation and using interdisciplinary
tools, this thesis will investigate to what extent, if at all, various existing contemporary
Coloured Identity theories can be used, to effectively enhance and enrich the understanding of the Jephtas narrative, ultimately striving to not only honour Jephtas’ contribution to South
African opera history, but effectively ensuring that the voices of the past are not forgotten, but preserved and acknowledged.
Theo Magongoma is a BMus Honours in Music Performance graduate from the University of Cape Town, majoring in voice under the tutelage of Dr. Brad Liebl. Theo has been the recipient of numerous prizes and scholarships, including from Queensland Opera (Australia) and The Bruce Foote Scholarship from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas (USA). He won an award from the National Association of Teachers of Singing (at the University of Oklahoma Competition). He was invited to join Dallas Opera’s first Young Artists Studio and toured north Texas with the Wagner society. Theo also studied in Naples, Italy. Theo has been involved in various educational musical collaborations, including as a guest singing lecturer organised by the Guild of Choral and Indigenous Music Practitioners at the Miriam Makeba Centre, Fort Hare University. Theo has a substantial background of performance experience. He has performed as a soloist with the leading orchestras in South Africa and at Art Festivals around the world. He has performed in London, Ireland, Singapore, Amsterdam, The Kyodo Theatre in Tokyo, Japan and at Châtalet de Paris Opera in France. Theo has worked with Neo Muyanga on “Tshohle” produced by Unyazi Festival at the University of Cape Town, “A Revolting Mass”, produced by Spielart Festival in Munich, Germany and “Naham – Songs of Light and Weight”, produced by the Sharjah Arts Foundation in Dubai. Theo has also collaborated with Neo Muyanga in establishing and teaching a choir of refugees in Sharjah, an ongoing project of educational, social and moral support of refugees from the Middle East Region. Theo is currently completing his MMus in Music Performance at Stellenbosch University. His research thesis is under the guidance of Dr. Hilde Roos at Africa Open Institute.
My MMus dissertation explores an inspirational facet of classical singing style in South Africa. Innumerable Black South African Opera singers of exceptional talent have risen to international prominence in recent years. The aim of my research is to investigate how South African opera singers are negotiating operatic careers across the world, as they seek opportunities both in South Africa and beyond. I am uniquely placed to do this study. From my early music education in a church choir after learning the basics of music through tonic sol-fa in my township school, to the choral training program which was the beginning of my professional apprenticeship as an opera singer, my path to the international operatic arena has encompassed some of the experiences other black South African opera singers have faced too. Many people around the world have taken interest, and at the same time been taken aback, by the natural ability and power of my own and that of my colleagues’ operatic voices. Are South African opera singers endowed with special talent? What makes these voices take center stage? Where do they come from? What sets them apart from their European counterparts? My dissertation will encompass the history of Black South African opera singers, as well as the gathering and analyzing of data and information through interviews from the group of Black South African opera singers who first made their careers overseas post 1994, to key emerging artists of today. My research project will go behind the stage curtain, as it were, to examine their lived experiences. In conclusion, this knowledge from multi-disciplinary voices will form a positive and measurable platform for further inspiration, motivation and dialogue. An exploration of what it is that Black South African opera singers uniquely bring that enriches the operatic tradition, and the journey it takes to achieve this.
Pakama Ncume works as a Sound Archivist at Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation, Stellenbosch University. She joined the institute in 2017. When she applied for this position, her intention was not only to work but also to pursue her studies there. In 2018, she registered for a bridging course with the History department, a requirement for her to do Masters in History that she is pursuing. Her research interest is on the music that was performed in the Market Theatre Café from 1976 to 1980. The study is a result of her work on the Hidden Years music archive (Hidden Years), an archive collected by David Marks that documents alternative popular music in South Africa from 1957-2005.
Working on the archive, Pakama was fascinated by rich history that the archive contains, a history that little has been written about, mainly due to the inaccessibility of the material that was held in private ownership until 2013. Both her work as a sound archivist and the research she is undertaking form part of a bigger project that aims to open up this archive.
Anke Froehlich is a music graduate from the University of Stellenbosch where she spent her final year studying South African music copyright under the guidance of Dr Carina Venter. She will continue to explore this topic under the supervision of Dr Lizabé Lambrechts as Masters fellow and archival intern at HYMAP.
My thesis investigates three music archives as sites where copyright is employed as a protective measure, yet it unwittingly compromises the accessibility of the material. Unlike the public domain, these archives are imagined as dynamic repositories of commercial, cultural objects that are stored with the intention of advancing further knowledge production. Central to this investigation lies the difficulty of hosting music archives at colonial universities where funding for maintaining heritage projects is not easily obtained. This work attempts to situate copyright as a productive tool within the recent discourse on modern, decolonial universities.
Kgaugelo Mpyane is a BMus graduate from the University of Free State, majoring in viola and voice. He studied viola with the violist Jeanne-Louise Moolman and voice with Peet van Heerden. As a young artist Kgaugelo is a sought after soloist and chamber musician. He appeared with South Africa’s top orchestras as soloist in various concerto festivals and gala concerts. Kgaugelo’s love for choral music stems from his childhood days as a member of the Tshwane Children’s choir. He has since been active in the choral industry where he appears with South African choirs as a soloist. He is also a member of the recently relaunched Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and is the principal violist of the MIAGI Youth Orchestra and the Mzansi Classical Players. Kgaugelo furthermore teaches music at Soshanguve High School and is a viola and voice tutor at the Unisa Music Foundation. He is currently doing his MMus at Africa Open Institute at Stellenbosch University under the guidance of Professor Christine Lucia.
Not many people get the chance to know and research the composer Michael Moerane, the “unsung hero” of African choral music. One of the objectives of my research is to explain and interpret his music in relation to his life, so that people can learn more about him.
When I was busy with my final year dissertation I realized that the lacunae of knowledge is not because there is nothing to say about the “giants” of African choral music (among them are Moerane, Mohapeloa, Caluza, Marivate, Monomiya and Pule), but simply because so little research has been done on these African composers. However, some scholars have done research and are continuing to make sure that these African composers get exposure.
The other reason why my research focuses on Moerane is because I am a member of the of Moerane Critical Edition project which is funded by the Mellon Foundation and is situated at Africa Open Institute at Stellenbosch University. The project is supervised by Christine Lucia who had previously completed a critical edition on Mohapeloa. This is a group driven project were each member of the group is given a different task suited to our research interests. On this way a large body of research is produced during the critical edition project. The objective of this project is to bring out a new scholarly digital edition of Moerane’s music, and my contribution to this project is to transcribe and edit those works that focus on natural phenomena. I will also write a dissertation on these works.
As far back as I can remember I have had a passion for music and technology. I recall teaching myself how to program Basic and use it to make my computer reproduce a piece I was learning on the piano. This was my first exploration into representing music in a way a computer could understand: as a series of numbers indicating pitch and duration. I continued to explore music and computing, using the Apple Macintosh II in the University of Durban-Westville’s recording studio to study computer-based music. When I went to Pretoria University to finish my BMus, I explored areas such as notation software, helping students notate examples for their theses. I then moved into technology full-time and have been working in software development professionally ever since, helping companies and individuals solve problems using technology. To keep the creativity flowing, I have developed a home music studio where I create music using a computer, a MIDI keyboard, and various software programs.
My aim is to prepare documentation describing how the existing website www.african-composers-edition.co.za could be scaled up into a digital platform for the publication and scholarly study of the more neglected music of South Africa, beginning with the music of M.M. Moerane. The objective is to design and build the system this upscaling requires within the new field of South African critical editions, for the display of music scores, recordings, and documents. In the first instance these will relate to the Andrew Mellon Moerane Critical Edition, but in the second they can support any number of future digital editions. A secondary objective is to document the entire process of building the new platform so that this new digital field in Africa can be more easily understood and expanded in future, and so that new opportunities for digital musicology in South Africa can be opened up.
? The research for, and development of this platform and these new opportunities is motivated by the following concerns:
? Lack of access to black South African music repertoires both nationally and internationally;
? Lack of access to information about African choral music;
? Lack of visibility of some southern African composers and musics, especially notated choral music;
? Limited professionalization in the choral music industry due to an absence of critically authenticated scores and recordings and well-researched information;
? Vanishing repertoires and documentation associated with them;
? Inadequate knowledge about royalty collection and the legal uses of music.
In order to address these concerns, my research aims to explore, identify, develop and extend the vocabulary for, and begins to address practical problems relating to, a new application of digital technology in the field of South African musicology, thereby expanding existing concepts in the digital humanities into the musicological sphere and opening up greater possibilities for transdisiplinarity.
I am a composition master’s student at AOI. I am studying under the guidance of Marc Röntsch, Stephanus Muller and Reza Khota. I attained my degree in composition in the Stellenbosch Konservatorium in 2017.
The primary focus of my research is the expansion of the Heavy Metal genre. This includes a resulting composition exploiting these ideas of expansion in performance spaces for western art music and popular music