Zaidel-Rudolph, Jeanne


b. Pretoria, 1948


South African composer, pianist and teacher. She studied at the University of Pretoria under Stefans Grové and others. Furthering her studies at the Royal College of Music in London, she received tuition in composition from John Lambert and Tristram Carey.  A meeting with György Ligeti led to an invitation to join his class in Hamburg.  His use of contrapuntal devices and tone colour proved a major influence. Zaidel-Rudolph also specialised in piano performance; her teachers included Goldie Zaidel, Philip Levy and Adolph Hallis in South Africa, and John Lill in London. Zaidel-Rudolph returned to South Africa and became the first woman in the country to obtain a Doctorate in Composition, in 1979 at the University of Pretoria under Stefans Grové.  


Zaidel-Rudolph's compositional output is considerable, covering most musical genres, ranging from the large scale symphony to chamber, choral, ballet, rock opera, film and solo instrumental music.  Her works are regularly performed in Africa, Europe and America. 


Zaidel-Rudolph has been the recipient of many awards.  In 1974, she was the first South African composer to be awarded the prestigious Cobbett Prize for composition at the Royal College of Music.  In 1986 she won the first prize in the first-ever Total Oil (SA) Competition in South Africa.  In 1988 the first complete commercial recording of the works of a South African art music composer featured her music on an EMI album.  She was also commissioned to write a work (Oratorio for Human Rights) for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  In 1995 she arranged a composite version of South Africa’s erstwhile and new National Anthems at the request of President Nelson Mandela.  She also composed a song (He walked to Freedom) for his honorary doctorate ceremony in 1997.  More recently (2000, 2002, 2003) she participated in the show Celebration in Canada, the USA and the UK for which she composed, conducted and orchestrated the music. 


Zaidel-Rudolph has been working at the School of Music of the University of the Witwatersrand since 1975, where she is currently Professor of Composition. She is frequently invited to lecture on indigenous African music at international music festivals. 


She is married to Michael Rudolph, who holds the position of Chair of Public Oral Health in the School of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand.




A Rage in a Cage (rock opera), soloists, mixed chorus, rock ensemble, 1983


Abantubomlambo – The River People (ballet), orchestra, 1987


Orchestral works: 

Concert Overture, 1979


Five Hasidic Melodies, youth orchestra, 1981 


Construction Symphony, youth orchestra, 1985 


Fanfare Festival Overture, 1985 


Tempus Fugit, 1986; At the End of the Rainbow (symphonic poem), youth orchestra, 1988


Sefirot Symphony, 1991


Chamber Music:

Kaleidoscope, flute (+ alto flute, piccolo), oboe (+ English horn), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), alto saxophone, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, 2 percussion, 1971 


Canonetta for Four, trumpet, viola, cello, vibraphone, 1973 


Reaction, cello, piano, percussion, 1973


Tango for Tim, guitar, 1973; Chamber Concerto, ensemble (11 players), 1979 


The Fugue that Flew Away, flute, piano, 1979 


Three Hasidic Pieces, flute, violin, piano, 1982 


Four Minim, cello, piano, 1982, revised 1992 


And All that Jazz, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1983 


Margana, flute, violin, cello, 2 percussion, 1985


Masada, bassoon, string quartet, 1989; Five African Sketches, guitar, 1991


Suite Afrique, cello, piano, 1993 (also version for viola, piano, 1995)


Choral works: 

Dialogue of Self and Soul (text by William Butler Yeats), 8 soloists, speaking chorus, 1971


Swaziland National Anthem, mixed chorus, piano, 1974


Boy on a Swing (text by Oswald Mtshali), female chorus, piano, percussion, 1983 (also version for soprano, piano)


It’s a Woman’s World, mixed chorus, piano, 1984 


Peace (text by the composer), mixed chorus, guitar, 1991 (revised as Ukuthula)


Oratorio for Human Rights, soprano, baritone, mixed chorus, 3 African percussion, orchestra, 1996


Vocal works:

Setting Afrikaans Poems to Music (text by W.E.G. Louw), soprano, piano, 1968


Five Pieces, soprano, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1971; Song Cycle, baritone, piano, 1976; Back to Basics, speaker, piano, prepared piano, 1983


Boy on a Swing (text by Oswald Mtshali), soprano, piano, 1992 (version of choral work) 


Hell Well Heaven (text by Wally Serote), soprano, piano, 1992 


Ukuthula (text by the composer), soprano, mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1993 (revision of Peace; also version for soprano, mezzo-soprano, piano, 1993) 


South African National Anthem (new version), voice, orchestra, 1995 (also version for voice, piano, 1995) 


He Walked to Freedom, voice, piano, 1997

Piano works:


Sonata No. 1, 1969 


Seven Variations on an Original Theme, 1971 


Three Dimensions, 1974 


Virtuoso I, 1987 


Mixed Feelings for Sara, 1988; Mosaic, 1989 


Awaiting Game, 1993; The Juggler and the King, 2 pianos, 1998; ‘5 6 7 8’, 2001



Ebony and Ivory, 2001


Film Music:

An African Dream, 1988 (Nody Murphy)



Abantubomlambo – The River People.  (EMI: L4 BCP 1832, 1987). 


Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph.  (EMI: EMCJ [A] 4061831, 1988) (cassette). 


Sefirot Symphony;  At the End of the Rainbow;  Four Minim;  Virtuoso I.  (SABC, 1990). 


Fanfare Festival Overture; Tempus Fugit; Kaleidoscope; Masada; Five African Sketches; Sonata No.1 (SABC, 1990).


Tempus Fugit.  (Claremont, 1991). 


Four Minim. (SABC, 1992). 


Songs of Hallel. (EMI, 1993). 


Three Dimensions. (Obelisklive, 1993) (cassette). 


Fanfare Festival Overture; Sefirot Symphony; Virtuoso I; At the End of the Rainbow; Masada; Tempus Fugit. (Claremont: GSE 1532, 1994). 


Celebration – Triumph of a Nation. (EMI, 1994).


Suite Afrique (cello version; excerpt).  (Private, 1995). 


Suite Afrique (viola version.  (Obelisklive, 1995) (cassette). 


Oratorio for Human Rights; Suite Afrique (viola version).  (Private, 1997). 


Virtuoso I; Suite Afrique (cello version).  (Private, 1998). 


The Juggler and the King.  Jill Richards, Wessel van Wyk, pianos (private, 1998). 


Sonata No.1.  (Obelisklive, 1998) (cassette) 


Celebration 2. (EMI, 2002).

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