Head of the School of the Arts and Chair of Music: Prof Alexander Johnson
Known as the Department of Music until 2018, the music programme at UP is one of the largest in South Africa and a vibrant hub of musical and academic activity, built on a legacy of excellence spanning over six decades. The Department of Music was opened in 1960 by Prof CH Rautenbach with a philosophical vision to contribute to the spiritual, cultural and musical progress of all South Africans, and has since produced more than 2 335 graduates under the leadership of nine heads of department.
From 2019, the former Department of Music (erroneously known as the Musaion) forms part of the new School of the Arts, having amalgamated with Visual Arts, Drama, Museum Studies, Tangible Heritage Conservation Studies, Digital Visual Culture Studies and Arts Therapies. From its humble beginnings in 1960, the Department of Music has grown extensively, offering a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes covering classical music, jazz, African music, music technology, opera studies, music therapy and performing arts.
Currently, both the UP Symphony Orchestra (UPSO) and the UP Symphonic Winds (UPSW) form entities of the School of the Arts and present a platform of cultural expression and identity at the University. The UPSO has been in existence since the re-establishment of the Department of Music in 1960. Both ensembles, through their unique repertoire and diverse array of participants, showcase the profoundly complex past and present of South Africa, as well as a repertoire that encapsulates all facets of music, including Western art music and world music. The ambience of the concert hall is an ever-changing experience for the listener. With the intention of changing emotional perceptions, both ensembles, as well as the diverse choirs (the UP Ovuwa Cultural Ensemble and the Tuks Camerata) strive to entertain and stimulate the audience.
It is envisioned that, in the newly formed UP School of the Arts, music will continue to be a leading national academic locus, producing the most distinguished postgraduate researchers and prolific creative talent and performing artists in the country.
The School of the Arts at the University of Pretoria is lodged in the Faculty of Humanities.The school music programmes cater for practical music, music technology, music education, music therapy, music psychology and musicology, thus uniting various fields of study that, in Europe, would otherwise be divided between university and conservatory.
Besides offering prospective students top quality tuition in all of the usual instruments of Western art music, the department is placing increasing emphasis on the study and performance of indigenous African music, jazz and other popular styles. Our BMus programme offers tuition in all of the above mentioned styles. We also offer the only Music Therapy programme at master's level on the African continent.
For more information regarding the Music programmes and the respective courses, please do not hesitate to contact us
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