Stephanus Muller


Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Stephanus Muller holds masters degrees in musicology from the University of South Africa and Oxford University. In 2001 he was awarded a DPhil from Oxford University before returning to South Africa in the same year. Elected as the chairperson of the Musicological Society of Southern Africa in 2004, he was instrumental in merging this society with the Ethnomusicology Symposium in 2006. After his appointment as lecturer at Stellenbosch University in 2005, he created the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) as a research and music heritage conservation initiative. Since then, DOMUS has acquired some of the most important and valuable archives of individuals and institutions pertaining to South African music, making it a unique repository of recorded music, scores and archival documents on the African continent. Since his appointment at Stellenbosch University, Muller has supervised groundbreaking studies by a new generation of South African music scholars, many of whom have gone on to study at prestigious universities abroad or occupy teaching positions at South African universities. He is currently Professor of Musicology at Stellenbosch University and Director of Africa Open – Institute for Music, Research and Innovation, an ambitious institutional project that responds to the challenges and opportunities of music studies in South Africa. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Andrew W. Mellon Delinking Encounters Project and the South African holder of the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship for the project South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive. In these capacities he manages, funds and supervises a range of important research initiatives. In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Fowler-Hamilton Visiting Research Fellowship at Christ Church, University of Oxford. Muller has published widely locally and internationally and received Stellenbosch University’s Chancellor’s Award for Research in 2015. His most recent book, Nagmusiek, was awarded the Eugène Marais Prize by the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, the Jan Rabie Rapport Prize, the kykNET-Rapport Prize and the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize for Creative Writing in Afrikaans.

  • 2024 ‘Sound Sentinels: Genealogies of Fascism in South African Music’, Cambridge Companion to Music and Fascism, Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)
  • 2024 ‘On performing Mozart, and what it taught me’, How Knowledge is Produced in the Disciplines, ed. Jonathan Jansen (forthcoming)
  • 2024 ‘Making Nagmusiek’, Practices in Creative Arts: Reflections on Making and Meaning, eds. Michèle Betty and Sally-Ann Murray, Dryad Press (forthcoming)
  • 2023 ‘A Musical Offering to the recomposed university. Southern African Review of Education 28(1), pp. 154-168 (with Willemien Froneman)
  • 2023 ‘Afrikosmos: The keyboard as a Turing machine’, herri#08,
  • 2022 Michael Blake’s String Quartets and the idea of African Music, Tempo 76 (300), pp. 6-17.
  • 2022 Editing for change: From global bibliometrics to a decolonial aporetics of form in South African journal publishing, Transformation in Higher Education 7, (with Willemien Froneman).
  • 2021 ‘The Island’, herri#06,
  • 2020 ‘Hans Roosenschoon’s Cataclysm: message in a bubble or mere spectacular flotsam?, herri #04,
  • 2020 ‘On Broken Music’, herri #03,
  • 2020 Music’s ‘Non-Political’ Neutrality: When Race dare not speak its Name (with Willemien Froneman), in Faultlines. A Primer on Race, Science and Society, ed. Jonathan Jansen and Cyrill Walters, Stellenbosch: African SunMedia, 203-13.
  • 2014 Nagmusiek, Johannesburg: Fourthwall Books, ISBN 978-0-9922263-4-3.
  • 2013 Eoan – Our Story, eds. Hilde Roos and Wayne Muller, Eoan History Project, Johannesburg: Fourthwall Books, ISBN 978-0-9870429-1-0.
  • 2006 A Composer in Africa: Essays on the Life and Work of Stefans Grové, co-edited with Chris Walton, Stellenbosch: SUN Press, ISBN 1-920109-04-8.
  • 2005 Gender and Sexuality in South African Music, co-edited with Chris Walton, Stellenbosch: SUN Press, ISBN 1-919980-40-7.
  • 2012 ‘Betoog oor die epiese soektog na die beminde van die siel in die vernielde wingerd: ’n Begrafnispantomime vir jong Afrikaners in hul laat-dertigs, vroeë veertigs (na die voorbeeld van plaasteater in die styl van Gertruida Steyn)’, Jong Afrikaner, Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg ISBN 978-0-9869850-8-9.
  • 2010 Orientalizing Europe, Europeanizing Africa: The Fantastical Lives and Tales of Jan Gysbert Hugo (The Marquis) (Louis de) (Vere) Bosman di Ravelli, also known as Gian Bonzar, in (Auto)biography as a Musicological Discourse, eds. T. Markovic & V. Mikic. Belgrade: Department of Musicology, Faculty of Music, 142-159, ISBN 978-86-6051-027-5.
  • 2008 Die Stem, in: Van Volksmoeder tot Fokofpolisiekar, ed. Albert Grundlingh and Siegfried Huigen, SUN Press, 197-205.
  • 2008 Boeremusiek, in: Van Volksmoeder tot Fokofpolisiekar, ed. Albert Grundlingh and Siegfried Huigen, SUN Press, 189-196.
  • 2008 Arnold van Wyk’s Hands, in: Composing Apartheid, ed. Grant Olwage, Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 295-312.
  • 2006 Imagining Afrikaners Musically: Reflections on the African Music of Stefans Grové, in: A Composer in Africa: Essays on the Life and Work of Stefans Grové, 17-28.
  • 2006 Place, Identity and a Station Platform, in: A Composer in Africa: Essays on the Life and Work of Stefans Grové, 1-8.
  • 2006 Stefans Grové’s Narratives of Lateness, in: A Composer in Africa: Essays on the Life and Work of Stefans Grové, 49-62.
  • 2005 Imagining Afrikaners Musically: Reflections on the African Music of Stefans Grové, in: The World of South African Music: a Reader, selected, edited and introduced by Christine Lucia, London: Cambridge Scholar’s Press, 342-350.
  • 2005 Queer Alliances, in: Gender, Sexuality and Music in South Africa, 35-48.
  • 2016 Apartheid Aesthetics and Insignificant Art: The Songs of Stephanus le Roux Marais (1896-1979), The Journal of Musicology 33:1, 45-69.
  • 2011 Miniature Blueprints, Spider Strategems: a Michael Blake retrospective at 60, The Musical Times 152, Winter 2011, 71-92.
  • 2011 Twelve notes, twelve endnotes, Art South Africa 9:4, 40-44, ISSN 16846133.
  • 2009 Response to Chris Walton ‘Secret Agent Man?’, Musicus 37:2, 5-6, ISSN 0256-8837.
  • 2009 ‘n Blik op die resepsiegeskiedenis van Hendrik Hofmeyr se Sinfonia Africana, Musicus 37:1, 19-23, ISSN 0256-8837.
  • 2008 Gedagtes oor die korrespondensie tussen Anton Hartman en Arnold van Wyk, 1949-1981, Musicus 36:2, 45-49, ISSN 0256-8837.
  • 2008 Die Stem, De Gids, November-Desember, 976-989, ISSN 0016-9730, ISBN 978 90 50189354.
  • 2008 Arnold van Wyk’s hard, stony, flinty path, or making things beautiful in apartheid South Africa, The Musical Times, Winter 2008, 61-78.
  • 2008 Musiekgeskiedenis en fiksie: Hans Holleman en Arnold van Wyk in Holmer Johanssen se roman Gety, LitNet Akademies 5(1), Augustus 2008, ISSN 1995-5928.
  • 2005 Music Criticism and Adorno, The International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 36:1, June 2005, 101-116, ISSN 0351-5796.
  • 2004 Response to David Hönigsberg ‘Chamber Symphony 1998’, Current Musicology 74, 2002, 259-263, ISSN 00113735.
  • 2001-2002 Contemporary South African Interfaces with Aspects of Adornian Musical Thought, Ars Nova 33/34, 30-35.
  • 2001 Spaces of Nationness: On Myth, Masks, Music and Afrikaner Identity, Tydskrif vir Nederlands en Afrikaans 8:1, 142-172, ISSN 1022-6966.
  • 2001 Exploring the Aesthetics of Reconciliation: Rugby and the South African National Anthem, South African Journal of Musicology 21, 19-37, ISSN 0258-509x.
  • 2001 Hubert du Plessis, South African Journal of Musicology 21, 60-62, ISSN 0258-509x.
  • 2000 Postmortem of biopsie? Oor middelpuntvliedende kragte, skynmodulasies, reënboë en Suid-Afrikaanse musikologie, Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe 40:3, 232-239.
  • 2000 Imagining Afrikaners Musically: Reflections on the ‘African Music’ of Stefans Grové, Literator 21:3, 123-138, ISSN 0258-2279.
  • 1999-2000 Protesting Relevance: John Joubert and the Politics of Music, South African Journal of Musicology 19/20, 33-46, ISSN 0258-509x.