Composition by UP Lecturer to Represent SA in Commonwealth Pianorama

Posted on November 10, 2009

The world premiere of the Pianorama, which was organised by The Commonwealth Resounds!, will take place in Trinidad on Tuesday 25 November 2009. Other performances will take place at the Royal Over-Seas League’s Princess Alexandra Hall and the South Bank Centre in London in the UK.
“Alexander Johnson was chosen by our team for his outstanding creativity and musicianship. We are privileged to be able to feature Alexander’s music in our Commonwealth event,” Alison Cox, founder and Musical Director of The Commonwealth Resounds! said.

Commonwealth Resounds! consists of a small core management team and a large group of supporters and volunteers working closely together to assist Commonwealth musicians. They also invite experienced professional artists to function as team leaders and to initiate specific performances, workshops, seminars and projects under the umbrella of The Commonwealth Resounds!

To Alexander Johnson, accolades for his numerous internationally-performed compositions are nothing new. His many accomplishments include a première of a piano concerto in Niš in the former Yugoslavia (which just happens to be the place of birth of Alexander the Great), the prescribed work for the Seventh Unisa-Transnet International Piano Competition in 1994, a première performance by the world-renowned Lucerne Festival String Orchestra, numerous works for Unisa’s examination albums, and an orchestral work that was commissioned by the Zürich Camerata Orchestra, which will be performed in Zürich in January 2010.

Alexander’s compositions are frequently performed and broadcast in SA, the UK, Europe, Russia, People’s Republic of China, Serbia and the USA.

He completed the BMus and BMus (Hons) degrees in Performing Arts (piano) at the University of Pretoria, as well as the MMus and DMus degrees in composition. He studied piano under Joseph Stanford and composition under Henk Temmingh.

A bursary from the French government enabled him to study in Paris, France from 1995 to 1996, and two composition prizes from the Foundation for Creative Arts in 1992 and 1993 took him to Serbia in 1993 to 1994 where his Jazz Sonatina for Clarinet and Piano was also performed during the Festival of Contemporary Music in Belgrade at the prestigious SAVA Centre.

In 1999 Alexander composed a Ballet Thunderbird (based on a native Canadian myth) in Canada – this work, together with his Arabia Piano Concerto, was premièred in the Aula on the UP campus in 2000.

At present, Alexander Johnson lectures in composition, harmony and counterpoint, and 20th century music history at the Department of Music of the University of Pretoria.

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