Knowing Me, Knowing You — Dr Chris van Rhyn
Date of appointment:
1 January 2014
Music Theory, Music Technology, Postgraduate supervision
I studied the piano and saxophone at university, and subsequently had a few years of voice training. (I’ve sung in choirs most of my life.)
My research is currently focused on art music composition in Africa (analysis and critical theory), and the South African-born British composer Priaulx Rainier.
Who are/were your professional mentors/inspiration?
I studied musicology with Stephanus Muller and composition with Hans Roosenschoon, as well as the late Roelof Temmingh. I’m greatly inspired by the writings of Kofi Agawu (he also examined my PhD dissertation). The South African composers who currently inspire me the most are Michael Blake and Robert Fokkens.
Top 5 must-hear music:
1. Benjamin Britten — Peter Grimes
2. Stravinsky — Symphony of Psalms
3. Richard Strauss — Vier letzte Lieder
4. Anything by Mozart (you can’t make me choose)
5. The jazz duo Uri Caine and Paolo Fresu’s album Things
Which personal music experiences are most memorable to you?
• Touring with the Stellenbosch University Choir.
• Performing as a chorister in productions of the Cape Town Opera and Surrey Opera in the UK.
• Seeing Renée Fleming live in concert.
• Attending the World New Music Days in Slovakia and Austria.
Top 5 must-read books:
1. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
2. Agaat by Marlene van Niekerk
3. The marriage of heaven and hell by William Blake
4. The poetry of Emily Dickenson
5. Die eerste lewe van Colet by Etienne le Roux
“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” – Oscar Wilde
Top 5 must-see movies:
1. Babette’s Feast
2. Bad Education
3. Annie Hall
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
5. A Passage to India
Which television shows can you watch over and over again?
Ally McBeal and The Golden Girls
How do you relax?
I drink the wine mentioned above.
Which places would you still like to visit?
New York, Argentina, Italy, Japan, the Namib desert, the list is never-ending …
What is the ringtone on your cell phone?
It’s the standard ringtone on a Samsung Galaxy (I can’t be bothered to change it).
What is your favourite moment of the day/week/year at the Conservatory?
The moment I see students inspired by what they learn or music they hear in my lectures.