New Head for the Department of Music

Posted on February 04, 2016

Professor Alexander Johnson has been appointed as the Head of the Department of Music from 1 January 2016. He succeeds Prof Wim Viljoen, who retired at the end of 2015.

Since his appointment at the University of Pretoria in 2001, Prof Johnson has been responsible for developing the curriculum, teaching a many undergraduate courses in the Music Department, and supervising a substantial number of postgraduate students majoring in Musicology and Composition.

As a composer, he also enjoys a career of considerable international renown. Over the past 25 years, his compositions have frequently been performed and broadcast in South Africa, as well as abroad in countries such as the United Kingdom, the USA, France, Corsica, Serbia, Croatia, Russia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, China, Poland, Tobago and Portugal. He has published more than 50 compositions to date, including prescribed compositions for various National and International competitions as well as examination bodies such as Unisa and the Trinity College of Music in the United Kingdom. One of his works is also published in the International Journal of Contemporary Compositions.

A number of his compositions have been used for under- and postgraduate analysis, articles in journals, and a doctoral thesis that was written on his Niš Concerto for Piano and Orchestra at the University of Northern Texas. Several honours and master’s dissertations have been written on his compositions over the past 20 years, and a second doctoral thesis on a selection of his chamber works was written in 2014.

He is a founding board member of the Collegium of National Composers and the founder and director of the Stefans Grové National Composition Competition which has, as its main focus, the promotion and upliftment of the classical music arts in South Africa.

Vision for the Department of Music:

Prof Johnson's vision for the Music Department for the next four years is to:

  • continue to nurture the Music Department to be the academic locus in South Africa that produces the most distinguished postgraduate researchers, prolific creative talent and performing artists;
  • become a leading jazz force in this country;
  • be a department that provides access and opportunity to talented students from all South African communities, across all demographics; and
  • produce students who strive to maintain a standard of excellence in music at UP and thereby make a meaningful contribution to the field.


- Author Faculty of Humanities

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences