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Dr Christine Lucia

Dr Christine Lucia is Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University

Dr Christine Lucia is Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University, a non-salaried post she held from 2009 to 2014 while based in the Music Department and now holds one again, at the Africa Open Institute. Before she retired in 2007, Lucia was Professor and Head of Music Departments at Wits, Rhodes, and Durban-Westville universities. She was Overseas Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University 2001-2002 and resident scholar at the Bellagio Rockefeller Center 2009. Her research has been funded by the Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, the National Arts Council, the Southern African Music Rights Organization, and Stellenbosch University.

A teacher all her life, in the first half of her career Lucia was also a concert pianist, and in the second half, a researcher and supervisor. She has published many articles and book chapters on South African music, and two books: The World of South Africa Music: A Reader(2005) and Music Notation: A South African Guide(2011). Her former students include Grant Olwage, Zoliswa Twani, Thembela Vokwana, Chats Devroop, Lindelwa Dalamba, and Thomas Pooley, all of whom are now making a major contribution within the South African university system.

Since her retirement, Lucia has focussed on research into composers Kevin Volans, Surendran Reddy, and J.P. Mohapeloa. Her work on Volans includes the first entry on a South African composer in the German Lexicon of contemporary composers, Komponisten Der Gegenwart (2013). Her online, digital Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa Critical Edition in Six Volumes (revised 2016) is the forerunner of the Moerane Critical Edition project. This took ten years to complete because of the work involved in sourcing the scores and uncovering the background to almost 150 pieces of music, and because of the transcribing, typsetting, formatting, and editing work required. The edition occupies more than 3000 pages online: 2500 pages of score and 500 pages of commentary. Lucia also produced a CD, African Choral Legacy: Historic Recordings of Joshua Pulumo Mohapeloa (2013) to accompany it. This selection of 31 tracks is mostly sung by choirs recorded by the SABC from the early 1960s onwards, and reveals the enormous changes of style in singing and interpretation that African choral practice has undergone in the past 70 years. The ‘historically informed’ approach Lucia takes also drives her Moerane work. At present, she not only oversees her six co-workers but is collecting material for her own biography of Moerane, which will be the first major study of a black South African composer.

Lucia set up a website for the publication of Mohapeloa’s music, www.african-composers-edition.co.za, in 2013, in the absence of willingness by any conventional academic or music publisher to take on 3000 pages. This website, which is regularly visited by people looking for information about African composers and choral composition, now also houses the beginning of a Surendran Reddy Performing Edition, a standard edition of this celebrated South African classical-jazz composer-pianist, who died in 2010 and composed almost 100 works.

Christine Lucia’s intellectual approach has been eclectic. Broadly post-colonial during the 1990s and 2000s, she feels too interested in too wide a range of topics to identify with a particular trend. Her research ethos has long been underpinned by a degree of activism that resulted from her experience in the Black Sash movement in Durban during the 1980s, and from her experience in managing change in student access at three universities during the 1990s and early 2000s. The way black music students struggled for access to university – and still do – because of their so-called lack of music theory background, and the way the Academy marginalized – and still does – most black South African musics in their curricula, drives the ideology that informs her current work. She is interested in all types of music, but is passionate about choral music in southern Africa, and is committed to giving it scholarly status and international recognition.

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