THE ODEION STRING QUARTET
The Odeion String Quartet (OSQ) was established at the UFS in 1991 as a permanent, full-time resident string quartet and is the only resident string quartet at a South African university. The OSQ symbolises the university’s commitment to the performing arts, and it plays an important strategic role in the development of symphony orchestra music and in classical music training in all communities in the Free State.
The Quartet currently consists of Samson Diamond (first violinist), Sharon de Kock (second violinist), Jeanne-Louise Moolman (violist) and Anmari van der Westhuizen (cellist). The quartet performs regularly in all the major cities in South Africa, for example at the Johannesburg Music Society, and in Cape Town and Durban. It also performs at major national arts festivals, such as the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the InniBos Arts Festival at Nelspruit, the Klein Karoo Kunste National Arts Festival (KKNK) at Oudtshoorn and the University of Stellenbosch Woordfees and Vryfees. These performances have received several awards, including the Kanna Prize for the Best Classical
Production at KKNK (2014), the Vryfees Award for the Best Debut Artist (2014), the Vryfees Award for the Best Debut Production (2016), the Vryfees award for the Best Free State Production (2018) and the UFS Alumni Ambassador’s Prize (2014). The quartet was twice nominated for KykNET Fiësta award for performances at arts festivals in 2015 and 2016. During 2019 The South African Academy for Arts and Sciences awarded the prestige Huberte Rupert prize to the quartet acknowledging their excellence and contribution towards classical music in South Africa. The OSQ was also a joined artist in the album “Coenie” together with Coenie de Villiers to receive a SAMA award during 2019 for the best Afrikaans album. In 2014, the OSQ released a CD, Bits and Pieces, containing Karl Jenkins’ String Quartet No. 2 as well as shorter works.
The quartet participated in international music festivals in Bulawayo, Harare (at the Harare International Festival of Arts) and in Birmingham, UK. The OSQ has undertaken several successful international tours to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. In 2016, the quartet collaborated with Austrian contemporary composers Klaus Ager, Achim Bornhöft and Hannes Heher, and performed Austrian and South African works in Salzburg and Vienna. The quartet reflects a keen interest in contemporary South African work, and assisted young South African composers playing their work during the Unisa Composers’ Forum presented by Kevin Volans in 2016 in Bloemfontein. In 2016 the quartet performed with guest artists which included the Grammy award winner Wouter Kellerman, and guitarist Guy Buttery. The quartet has twice assisted the Dar Choral Society’s symphony orchestra in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania by leading the orchestra’s string sections.
The quartet members are devoted to teaching and play an important role as teachers and mentors at the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the UFS, which attracts students from all over the country. During 2016 and 2017, the OSQ presented string chamber music workshops in collaboration with distinguished international guests, including members of the Arco project from the Birmingham Conservatoire and the young award-winning Fitzroy String Quartet from the UK. They lead the string sections of the FSSO and coach the string sections of the Free State Youth Orchestra (FSYO), the Odeion Sinfonia, the OSM Camerata and the Mangaung String Project (MSP). They also coach numerous chamber music ensembles. The Quartet is thus an essential part of UFS collaboration with the FSSO, the FSYO, the MSP and the Free State Provincial Department of Arts and Culture.
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Flutist Liesl Stoltz grew up in a family devoted to classical music, leading to her love of the
art. After dabbling in piano and violin, she began studying the flute at age 13 with
Eva Tamassy. She furthered her studies in France with Shigenori Kudo, Pierre-Yves Artaud
and Chantal Debushy at the École Normale de Musique de Paris: Alfred Cortot, and later
trained in Italy with maestro Peter-Lukas Graf at the Accademia Internazionale Superiore di
Musica: Lorenzo Perosi.
Not only was Liesl nominated for the GMT and SAMA awards in 2005 for her album
Histoire du Tango with Portuguese classical guitarist Pedro Rodrigues, but her album
Explorations – South African Flute Music (recorded with pianists Francois du Toit and José
Dias, as well as harpist Jacqueline Kerrod), won the category “creative output” for the
annual Humanities and Social Sciences awards from the Institute for Humanities and Social
Sciences in 2017.
Other awards include first prize in the 12th Friedrich Kuhlau International Flute Competition
in Germany, 3rd place in the 2007 International Flute Competition in Timisoara, Romania and
finalist in the 2005 Leonardo de Lorenzo International Flute Competition in Italy,
to name a few.
MORNE VAN HEERDEN
Morné graduated with cum laude from the University of Pretoria in 2001 with a BMus in
Performance. In 2009 he received a Performer's Licentiate in clarinet from the University of
South Africa. As an orchestral musician Morné has played for the Johannesburg
Philharmonic Orchestra since 2000 and is currently the co-principal clarinettist. He
also freelances for the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra amongst other orchestras. Morné is
actively involved with South African New Music. Various established composers liaised with
him to write and promote clarinet music in South Africa. As an educator Morné worked for
Kingsmead College in Johannesburg since 2005. His role as educator involves arranging
music, directing orchestras, teaching clarinet, theory, and music as a subject. Morné
regularly performs at national music festivals such as the KKNK, Klein Karoo Klassique,
Aardklop and the Wakkerstroom Music Festival. In 2018 Morné became an artist for
Yamaha South Africa and the international reed and mouthpiece company Vandoren.
The South African pianist and Steinway Artist Ben Schoeman is a senior lecturer in music at the University of Pretoria. He won several awards, including the first grand prize in the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition, Pretoria (2008), the gold medal in the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition, London (2009), the Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2011), the contemporary music prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition, USA (2013), and the Huberte Rupert Prize from the South African Academy of Arts and Sciences (2016).
He has given solo, chamber music and concerto performances in such prestigious concert halls as the Wigmore, Barbican, Cadogan and Queen Elizabeth Halls in London, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, Teatro Vittoria in Turin, the Fondazione Cariplo Auditorium in Milan, the Durban and Cape Town City Halls and the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. He has performed at many international festivals such as City of London, Edinburgh Fringe, Chester, Enescu Bucharest, Grahamstown and Ottawa. He has performed with numerous conductors, including Nicholas Cleobury, Carlos Izcaray, James Judd, Gérard Korsten, Theodore Kuchar, Diego Masson, En Shao, Yasuo Shinozaki, Arjan Tien and Conrad van Alphen.
Schoeman studied in Pretoria, Imola, Florence and London with renowned professors such as Joseph Stanford, Louis Lortie, Michel Dalberto, Boris Petrushansky, Ronan O’Hora and Eliso Virsaladze. He obtained a doctorate in music from City, University of London and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with a thesis on the piano works of the eminent South African composer Stefans Grové. His solo album, featuring works of Franz Liszt, is available under the TwoPianists label and he has recorded music of Rubinstein and Rachmaninoff with cellist Anzél Gerber. His performance in London with pianist Tessa Uys of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, arranged for piano duet by Xaver Scharwenka, was recorded for broadcast on national television.
André Breet started lessons with Hannelie Viljoen in 2003 and became a pupil of prof. Joseph Stanford in 2011 when he was chosen to participate in Unisa’s Development Program for Talented Musicians. In 2007 and 2011 he was a soloist with the JSO during the Concerto Festival for Young Artists. André won the Phillip H. Moore competition in 2010 and 2013. In 2013 he was also the winner for the Roedean School/Yamaha competition. From 2008 to 2013 he was chosen as the overall best achiever in classical music by the National Eisteddfod Academy and was the overall winner of the competition in both 2012 and 2013. During 2014 André won the Unisa Music Bursary Competition and the Atterbury National Piano Competition. In 2015 he was a semi-finalist in the Unisa National Piano Competition. He obtained his BMus degree in 2017 and is currently busy with his MMus under the supervision of dr Ben Schoeman.