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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751


VAN DER MESCHT, Heinrich. The context of the Royal Music School and the Royal Academy of Music in Munich and their South African born students, 1874-99. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2013, vol.53, n.3, pp.404-424. ISSN 2224-7912.

In a previous Afrikaans article, "Die konteks van die Koninklike Toonkuns-akademie in München en sy Suid-Afrikaans gebore studente, 1902-1909: Mabel Wuesto, Vera de Villiers, Daisy Bosman en Irma Lohner" (translated: "The context of the Royal Academy of Music in Munich and its South African born students, 1902-1909: Mabel Wuesto, Vera de Villiers, Daisy Bosman and Irma Lohner"), an inquiry was undertaken into the possibility of the presence of South African born music students at the Royal Academy of Music in Munich, a very prominent city of music. The article covered the period 1902-1909. The point of departure for this article was the concept place. Keywords related to this concept are context, milieu, landscape, city scape and space. A possible "thick description" was attempted in order to place the four students within the context in which they operated in Munich. The first aim of the present article, an extension of the first article, was to determine whether there were any South African born students who studied at the Königliche Musikschule (1874) and its successor, the Königliche Akademie der Tonkunst (1892), during the 25 years between 1874 and 1899, that is the period preceding the era of the four students mentioned in the former article. Secondly, these students had to be situated in the context of the development of the institutions. The most important sources are the annual year books which appeared every year and are available in the Bavarian State Library and the archive of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich. But for this period (in contrast to the period 1902-9) no personal documents are available, that is individual student reports from which much information, like date of birth, origin, teachers and subjects taken, can be deduced. A thorough "thick description" is therefore limited. I had to rely on the information in the yearbooks and on other sources about music in Munich. The present article, thus, cannot tell us as much as the previous article about the students of the Music School and the Academy of Music. Surprisinglyfew South Africans were found, andfour reasons can be identified: The personality of Franz Hauser (1794-1870), who was the first head of the original Conservatorium (1846-64), often created illfeeling. This information possibly reached prospective students from abroad. The Conservatorium and its successors can be regarded as having been (too) conservative. Female and male students had to use separate entrances and stairs. Rheinberger, the famous teacher of composition, was, for example, attached to the institution for 40 years. The third reason is the established status of, amongst others, the Conservatorium (1843) in Leipzig and the Stern Conservatorium (1850) in Berlin. Fourth, the high costs were a major factor for any student coming from South Africa. Five persons are discussed in the article. Hugo Lentz was born in Keiskammahoek and studied acting between 1881 and 1882. It is clear from reports that his main lecturer, the experienced court actor Prof Heinrich Richter, was an exceptionally gifted teacher. There were eight male and ten female students in the class and Lentz was one of only three male students who gained roles in Iffland's Die Hagestolzen. Born in Philippolis, Florence Fraser had apparently arrived in Munich when she was only 16years old to study singing privately. She was about 18 years old when she started studying the piano at the Music School in 1886 where she stayed for one year. She later became well known as a singer in South Africa. Violet Whiteford, born at Fort Beaufort, studied singing between 1893 and 1894 after the Royal Music School had changed its name to the Royal Academy of Music. During the course of her studies, she could hear her teacher, Anna Schimon-Regan, in concerts, as well as some of her more advanced fellow Schimon-Regan singing colleagues. Jeannie Muller from Graaff Reinet was a student of Bernhard Günzburger. She enrolled in September 1895, stayed for a year and heard a variety of songs and arias at concerts sung by Günzburger's best students. The birth place of Johanna Singenberger is indicated as "St. Francis", which is most likely the South African St. Francis Bay or Cape St. Francis. Singerberger studied the violin and piano between 1896 and 1898. If the standard of her violin playing was such that she could join the Academy's orchestra (which is unfortunately impossible to determine) she would have been able to participate in a variety of works by famous composers, other composers popular at the time but not in the present time, teachers of the Academy, and fellow students. Her piano teacher was Berthold Kellermann, between 1873 and 1878 a Liszt pupil, and also a teacher of Wagner's children. The Music School and the Music Academy often honoured famous musicians attached to the institution or the city. So, for example, half of a concert was dedicated on 16March 1894 to Hans von Bülow (1830-94) who was the Director of the Music School between 1867 and 1869. On 15 June 1894 the 300th anniversary of the death of Orlando di Lasso, who was attached to the Munich court between 1557 and 1594, was commemorated in a concert. Research is now needed on the ensuing lives of these persons in order to determine how they conveyed to their communities the extensive impressions and experience they gathered in the context of the "place" Munich.

Keywords : context; Florence Fraser; Königliche Akademie der Tonkunst in Munich; Königliche Musikschule in Munich; Hugo Lentz; Jeannie Muller; concept place; Royal Academy of Music in Munich; Royal School of Music in Munich; Johanna Singenberger; South African music students; Violet Whiteford.

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