Knowing Me, Knowing You — Prof Hannes Taljaard
Date of appointment:
I was appointed as temporary part-time lecturer for the first time in 1997, and in January 2004 as permanent member of staff.
BMus, Honours BMus, Honours BA (French Literature), MMus (Musicology), DMus (Composition).
It is a long list! Composition, Music Rudiments, Music Theory, postgraduate supervision, and Keyboard Skills.
Performing in ensembles that work with dancers — I haven’t done it yet, but maybe one day.
I often dream about learning to play the oboe.
Embodied music cognition, enactive cognition, music analysis.
Who are/were your professional mentors/inspiration?
Many composers, living and dead, are my main inspiration. I have loved reading bibliographies and later letters and writings of composers from when I was about six years old, and I have studied their music for almost forty years now. When I travel, I try to meet composers from different countries. My hobby is to collect composers, you see.
As a teacher, three people inspire me endlessly: Gro Shetelig in Norway, Eva Wedin in Sweden, and Wim Henderickx (who is also a composer) in Belgium.
Top 5 must-hear music:
1. JS Bach — St Matthew Passion
2. Witold Lutoslawski — Symphony No. 3
3. György Ligeti — Piano etudes and his concertos
4. Brahms, Brahms, Brahms
5. Music from Andalusia from the time of Alfonso the Wise to the present day. There is definitely a drop of Spanish genes somewhere in my DNA soup.
Which personal music experiences are most memorable to you?
Singing the St Matthew Passion as a member of the university choir in my first year and in my second year; attending a concert in Germany where my dear friend Erica Eloff sang the soprano solos in the St Matthew Passion in the Johanneskirche in Düsseldorf.
There are so many memorable experiences, many of them happening when I teach. I have heard many exquisite concerts in Europe, and some of them (like the first time I heard the music of György Kurtág, or the second string quartet of György Ligeti) are still vivid memories. The few times that I performed in concerts as accompanist or member of an ensemble were memorable for various reasons.
Top 5 must-read books:
1. Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chödrön
2. Next of Kin by Roger Fouts
3. Hearing in Time by Justin London
4. A New Earth by Eckard Tolle
5. The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone-Zander
“You are both sky and eagle. You become the light, the leaf, the light. You are entering presence, and presence entered.” The Bald Man on the Mountain said this.
Top 5 must-see movies:
1. Uhm …
2. well …
3. maybe …
4. dunno …
5. Chimpanzee by Disney. Or Jane Goodall’s biography movie, which I haven’t seen yet.
Which television shows can you watch over and over again?
I rarely watch television, and I am clueless about the shows that others rave about. I thought for a few weeks that Game of Thrones was some new incarnation of Musical Chairs, a television game show! According to what I see on Facebook, it is — just slightly more violent than our games of musical chairs in primary school, and it seems like there are dragons which makes it much cooler than primary school. I cannot imagine spending more than 50 minutes sitting in front of a TV set. For a whole series, you will have to let me walk on a treadmill, or give me a stationary bike to pedal. I do try to catch as much as I can of the environmental programme 50/50, but I will not watch any episode ‘over and over again’! And even when watching 50/50 I get up at least five times during the programme. I do not have a TV. I guess I will have to buy the TV and the treadmill on the same day.
Fruit, vegetables, nuts & other seeds — often raw.
Yes, you guessed right: water and 100% pure fruit juice. I drink coffee, unfortunately, but it is not the drink that I like, it is the effect of the drink.
How do you relax?
I swim a thousand miles. I interact with dogs, because they show me how to live here and now, and they make my heart smile. I love to help plants grow. The best relaxation happens during long hiking trips with friends.
Family (spouse / children):
Neither spouse nor children — I am on a path less travelled, and it is making all the difference.
Which places would you still like to visit?
Granada! (otherwise known as That Spanish DNA Itch). Orang-utan orphanages in Indonesia, Fes, Moscow, a buddhist temple in Korea to rest for a zillion days, Akiyoshidai and the rest of Japan, Antarctica, the chimpanzee island in Kenya — the list goes on and on. I might even go to Mars one day.
What is the ringtone on your cell phone?
My phone is almost always on silent, so the ringtone feels like a buzz. When it is not on silent, I am very surprised at how ugly the ringtone is. It’s the one that the phone had when I switched it on for the first time. Maybe it has a name. I’ve not yet changed the ringtone on any cell phone.
What is your favourite moment of the day/week/year at the Conservatory?
I have many favourite moments, all of them created when students ‘unfold their authentic selves’. There are those irresistible lengthenings of the spines, those looks in the eyes …