Gerben Grooten, born in the Netherlands August 1970. He starting traveling with orchestras from the age of 14, was admitted to the conservatory in Rotterdam at age 16 and working as a professional player in orchestras, performing, touring and recording in Europe, Africa, Canada and the USA. After studying with many great conductors like Valery Gergiev, Arie van Beek, Claudio Abbado and performers like Robert van Sice and Randy Max, he obtained his degrees in Classical Orchestral Percussion and Choir and Orchestra Conducting as well as Music Education. In the last 30 years he has been working with many ensembles/orchestras as a conductor and with organizations and universities around the world giving workshops, team-building and leadership seminars in the areas of life-skill, leadership, arts philosophy, education and management.
In January 2005, he and his wife, Mieke, came to South Africa to be involved in music, ministry and arts education and they established the Hatfield Arts Centre in Pretoria, consisting out of two music schools, a full-time academy, a music publishing house and a record company through Hatfield Christian Church. The uniquely developed SA curriculum has been established in academies in four continents and over 4500 students in Pretoria have gone through the Centre. Gerben has started a new centre with social change programs in an informal settlement in Mamelodi in January 2018, where 400 children are currently engaging with the joy of music making.
He has been lecturing orchestral conducting and orchestral percussion at the university of Pretoria since 2009 and conducts many of the well known South African orchestras. Gerben is a proud full time lecturer at the music department of UP since 2018 as well as the resident conductor of the orchestras and the departments’ ensemble.
He is presently the principal conductor for the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and the Pretoria Bach choir. Although in the last six years Gerben has once again found himself in demand internationally as a conductor, he is certain of his calling in SA. He loves the people, the potential and entrepreneurial opportunities of the country and believes that the arts in SA will play a determinative role in the future of the country as a mirror of society. His motto is: ‘the cup is half full’.
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Last edited by Frances MuirEdit