Knowing Me, Knowing You — Ms Rachelle Elmes [alumna]
Instrument(s) / Discipline(s):
Period of study at the NWU School of Music / PU for CHE Department of Music:
Has been involved at the NWU as student, piano accompanist and part-time staff member between 2000 and 2013.
Qualifications completed at the NWU / PU for CHE:
BMus, Diploma in Music Performance, MMus in Piano Performance.
Qualifications completed elsewhere:
Performer’s Licentiate (UNISA), and currently busy with a DMus in Piano Performance at the University of Pretoria.
Notable professional achievements:
Performed numerous times as soloist with the National Chamber Orchestra. Played in the final round of the New Orleans International Piano Institute’s concerto competition in the USA.
Current professional position / occupation:
HOD of Music: Individual Lessons and Theory at Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng.
Top 5 must-hear music:
This is difficult since I have so many favourites!
1. Any composition by JS Bach
2. Any piano composition by Sergei Rachmaninoff
3. Franz Liszt — Piano Sonata in b minor
4. Astor Piazzolla — Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
5. Film music, especially soundtracks composed by Gabriel Yared, Hans Zimmer and James Horner
Which personal music experience(s) are most memorable to you?
• I am very thankful for the exposure we received while studying at the School of Music. we saw some of the best pianists in concert and received master classes from most of them.
• I am also extremely thankful for everything I have learned from my practical lecturer, Dr Truida van der Walt. Her dedication, knowledge and talent are extraordinary.
• I would probably say that my visit to New Orleans — where I attended the International Piano Institute at the Loyola University — was my most memorable experience. It was so insightful and a great deal of fun!
Top 5 must-read books:
1. The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
3. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
4. The Harry Potter series — I could read these books over and over again.
5. Any recipe book!
I cherish a few quotes, but the two that are always present in the back of my mind, are:
• “Remember, when you are not practising, someone else is.” — Prof Frank Heneghan
• “Trust, but check.” — Dr Truida van der Walt
Top 5 must-see movies:
1. The Importance of Being Earnest
2. Iedereen Beroemd! — an extremely funny movie
3. Great Expectations
4. Shakespeare in Love
5. Le Fate Ignoranti
Which television show(s) can you watch over and over again?
Since I have a six-year-old daughter, I mostly get to watch Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol on television. However, when I have an opportunity, I like to watch Masterchef Australia, Billions and Criminal Minds.
Fresh oysters, salmon sashimi and roll mops.
My first cup of strong coffee in the morning, Super M chocolate milk (I can always be bribed with this one!), and a glass of good red wine.
How do you relax?
I love to cook, so I will usually attempt a new dish whilst having a glass of good wine and listening to music. I also enjoy watching a good movie.
I recently got married to my soulmate, Jaco Conradie. I also have a daughter, Mikah, who is 6 years old.
Which places would you still like to visit?
Scotland is first on my Bucket List. I would also love to visit Santorini, Greece and would revisit New Orleans any time!.
What are your funniest / fondest memories of your time at the Conservatory?
There are so many!
• We were a great group of friends who spent a lot of time together, either practising or socializing. Once we organised a surprise braai in the staff parking lot for all students who were practising that evening. We decorated the parking area with toilet paper, barbequed our meat on plug-in grillers and danced to Zorba the Greek and ABBA.
• I will never forget our annual Kitsch Day. Those 80’s outfits and pan flute items still have me giggling.
• Another fond memory is when our class had to perform some avant-garde repertoire at a student concert as part of an assignment. I performed a piano piece by George Crumb that required a few “acrobatic” moves. The screw on the piano bench was very tight and when I tried to adjust the height of my seat in between pieces, I cut my finger. Like always, the show had to go on and I asked the pager to bring me some tissue paper from the bathroom backstage, since I was bleeding all over the keyboard. From that moment on, word spread amongst the students that it is extremely dangerous to play avant-garde music. The George Crumb composition was apparently technically so challenging, that my fingers started to bleed!