Knowing Me, Knowing You — Ms Alicia Johnson (née Van der Merwe-Crous) [alumnus]
Instrument(s) / Discipline(s):
Voice, Organ, Music History & Pedagogy
Period of study at the NWU School of Music / PU for CHE Department of Music:
Qualifications completed at the NWU / PU for CHE:
BMus & PGCE
Qualifications completed elsewhere:
DipABRSM (Music Direction) — Association of British Choral Directors
Notable professional achievements:
• Getting my degree!
• Relocating to the UK, becoming Director of Music, singing for the London Philharmonic Choir and performing at the BBC Proms.
Current professional position / occupation:
Director of Music at Rydens School, Walton on Thames, Surrey, England.
Top 5 must-hear music:
1. Mahler — 2nd Symphony, Beethoven — Choral Fantasy
2. JS Bach — Bist du bei mir
3. Pärt — Spiegel im Spiegel
4. Piazzolla — Maria de Buenos Aires, Anything by Pink Martini
5. Herbie Hancock — A Case of You, Oscar Peterson — Love Ballad
Which personal music experiences are most memorable to you?
Singing Mahler’s Second Symphony with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir at the opening of the Royal Festival Hall.
Top 5 must-read books:
1. Fiela se Kind by Daleen Mathee (and the rest of the trilogy), Germanicus by NP van Wyk Louw
2. Inherit the Truth by Anita Lasker-Wallfisch (she was a cellist in Auschwitz)
3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
4. The Various Flavours of Coffee by Anthony Capella (and all his other books!)
5. Notes on a Small Island by Bill Bryson (and many of his other books)
“Smile and wave, boys, smile and wave.”
Top 5 must-see movies:
1. Life is Beautiful
2. A Beautiful Mind
3. Patch Adams
4. Top Gun
5. Wit, Schindler’s List, Pretty Woman, A Knight’s Tale, The Life of Pi, and many more!
Which television show(s) can you watch over and over again?
Sex and the City, Friends
Braaivleis, Spaghetti Carbonara and FOOD
Café Latte, Passion fruit & lemonade, or a nice cup of tea
How do you relax?
Go for a massage, read and go to the movies.
Which places would you still like to visit?
Barcelona, Tuscany, South America … There’s a long list.
What are your funniest / fondest memories of your time at the Conservatory?
• Playing ‘donkerkamertjie’ in the Organ Hall when we had practise marathons; ‘kitch-konserte’; and made friends for life.
• The opportunity to learn from amazing people who shared their incredible knowledge and passion with us. Not only did I learn about music, but I also learnt how to be an adult and a woman, and carry in my heart role models and friends for life. Some of the people I still carry in my heart and made a lasting impact on me, teaching me so much more than just the obvious, is Mrs Dirkie Nell, Mrs Jetty van Rensburg, Mrs Santisa Viljoen, Mr Jaco van der Merwe, Mr Waldo Weyer and Mr Hannes Taljaard, to name a few. These people have not only been role models when I was studying, but are still an inspiration to me today.