van Zuilenburg, Paul



b. Amsterdam, 6 October 1926


South African composer of Dutch birth. Paul van Zuilenburg was born the son of a Dutch banker and an Italian mother who was an accomplished violinist.


Van Zuilenburg matriculated from the Kennermer Lyceum in Bloemendaal, Holland, in 1946. He began his studies as a student in architecture at the Hogeschool in Delft before changing to music in 1948, when he entered the Amsterdam Conservatoire. There, he studied with Jan Odé, later the director of the Conservatoire, and majored in piano. He obtained the Diploma of the Conservatoire in 1952. After a year’s study at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, he emigrated to South Africa in 1954. 


In 1960, van Zuilenburg became a lecturer at the Conservatorium for Music in Pretoria, and was its Assistant Director from 1962 to 1969. In the meantime, he continued to study, completing his doctorate at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1970. His dissertation comprised a pedagogical and formal analysis of Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. 


Van Zuilenburg’s interest in the recorder began in South Africa. He was one of the first musicians in South Africa to obtain a Teacher’s Licentiate on the instrument from Trinity College in London. This inspired him to establish a full-time recorder course at the Conservatorium. 


From 1970 onwards, he was a lecturer at the Conservatoire at the University of Stellenbosch, and was until his retirement in 1991 Senior Lecturer in aural training. Apart from his activities as a recorder specialist, Van Zuilenburg was also actively involved in wind bands. He founded the Stellenbosch University Concert Band in 1976 and was its conductor and director until 1986. He also wrote a number of works for wind band and for brass ensemble. 


Van Zuilenburg attained national recognition as a composer of songs and of small-scale works for recorder and for wind band. He series of educational recorder music, 12 Memos, 12 Notas, 36 Logos and Musica Variata are all in the examination syllabus of the University of South Africa, as are his 12 Mottos for trumpet or recorder and piano.



Recorder Music:

Musica Variata, tutor for Descant/Soprano recorder consisting of 20 lessons comprising themes with variations, some of the themes being of folk origin. 


12 Memos, descant/soprano recorder and piano. 


12 Notas for treble/alto recorder and piano. 


12 Mottos, treble/alto recorder and piano. 


36 Logos, progressive solo pieces for treble/alto recorder. Based on musical terms from A to Z. 


Waltz and Musette (1987), for treble/alto recorder and piano. 


Vignette (1986), for treble/alto recorder and piano. Based on a 12-tone row. 


Konzertstück (Concert Piece) (1993), for treble/alto recorder and string orchestra. 


Ballet for treble recorder and Guitar (1976): 



Dance I, 


Dance II, 

Dance III, 


Dance IV (finale) 



Recorder Quartets:

Foursome for recorder quartet (1999). Four movements based on ethnic material. 


2001 Recorders (2001), One movement recorder quartet.


Piano and Organ Music:

Toccata for piano solo (1962) 


Variations on a Theme by Béla Bartok (1995). Theme taken from Mikrokosmos Bk 1; the 10th variation is a fugue. 


Rapsodia Ecclesiastica for Piano and Organ (2000). Composition based on well-known hymn tunes. 


Tarantella Study for Piano and Organ. 


South African Suite for Piano and Organ. Three movements in contrasting moods based on ethnic themes. 


Impro, organ solo. 


Pièce d’orgue (2002).


Flute, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone music:

12 Tempos for Clarinet and Piano. 


At the Eisteddfod (2001), for clarinet or flute and piano. 


Ballet for Flute and Guitar (1976), Four Dances with Prologue, Intermezzo and Epilogue. 


Scala for Flute Solo (1978). 


Flutoreque for flute and piano. 


Consonances for flute, clarinet and bassoon. Three movements. 


Menu Trio for Flute, Piano and Violoncello (2002): 


1 Al dente 


2 Al fresco 


3 Al fine 


Movimenti, String Quartet in four movements


Saxophone Music, mini suite arranged for soprano, alto and tenor saxophones:

Novelette (Kabalevsky), 

A little song (Katchaturian) 

Dance of the Slovaks (Bartók) 

11 Duets for oboes/saxophones or recorders. 


Romance for saxophone and piano. 


Ecossaises (Chopin) for alto saxophone and piano


Music for Trumpet and trombone:

12 Mottos, for trumpet and piano. 


Ballade, for trumpet in Bflat. 


Canto e Fanfare 1, for trumpet in Bflat 


Canto e Fanfare 2, for trumpet in Bflat 


Intrada and Exitum for trumpet in Bflat. 


Concertino Purcelliana, for trumpet in c/Bflat and string. Also arranged for trumpet in B flat and organ. 


Tirades, for two trumpets in C or Bflat and trombone. 


Interface, for two trumpets in Bflat and trombone.


Trumpet Trios:









Brass Ensemble:

Sad and Glad, for brass quintet. 


Festival Prelude, for brass quintet. 


Symphonic Fanfare (Symtac), for brass quintet.


Wind Band Music:

Concertina March for Brass Band. 


“The Guitar Player”, Toccata for Brass Band. 


Renaissance Overture for Brass Band. 


Foursome Suite on South African Themes: 


Back to the land 

Tunes and Dances 

Tswana Impressions 

Kwêla Rondo 


Songs and Choir music:

Die Oosterse Liedere for Soprano and Piano: 


Bamboes in die tuin 

Lied uit India 

Liefdeslied van ’n kameeldrywer. 

Triptiek, for soprano/tenor and piano (text in Dutch): 


Egidiuslied (anon) 

De tuinman en de dood (P.N. van Eyck) 

De moeder de vrouw (M. Nijhoff) 

Two Sonnets, for bass/baritone (on poems by R.K. Belcher, text in English): 




Kontraste (2002), four songs for mezzo soprano on Poems by Franz Dullaart: 





Teen die tyd 

Kelderkantate, based on 8 poems on Wine by R.K. Belcher, for soprano, flute, piano and cello or mezzo-soprano, clarinet and piano, or contralto, saxophone and piano. Afrikaans text. 


Egidiuslied (1997) for Mixed Choir (text in 15th century Dutch/Flemish).


Drie Ringe in ‘n Geelhourboom (1987), poems by R.K. Belcher, for choir:




Geswinde Grijsart (2002), for unaccompanied choir.


Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences