The Simply Strings players are all classically trained, experienced and professional musicians whom also form part of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and various other ensembles. Find out more about the individual musicians below.
My musical interests started on the early age of two trying to reach the keys of the piano. Music was always part of our family and like my brother I started playing violin when I was six. After six months it was clear that was not the instrument for me. Two years later we tried again with cello. It lasted for eight years, but after a little sidetrack playing marimba/xylophone I discovered my alter ego 'the Double Bass'. I studied the Double Bass thoroughly at the Rotterdam Conservatory and The Royal Conservatory in The Hague where I finished my (solo) Performance Degree and made a friend for life.
I have had the pleasure of gaining experience in the Jeunesses Musicales World Youth Orchestra and the European Union Youth Orchestra. I have also worked in numerous professional orchestras and ensembles in the Netherlands for example the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Schönberg Ensemble. In 2006 I relocated from Rotterdam to beautiful Cape Town where I teach, coach and play bass in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra who contracted me as their Principal Bass player.
As a child I totally fell in love with music after seeing beginner students play on the smallest of violins. Those tiny instruments were just adorable and beautiful, even though today I don't remember much about the way they sounded! As a result of this early exposure, I ended up studying music.
I was awarded the degree BMus from Stellenbosch University in 1999. During my time there I received numerous awards, including the ATKV 1998 Piano Category Prize and the Stellenbosch Conservatorium Stipend in 1999. As a solo pianist I performed with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and toured Germany with the Hugo Lambrechts Orchestra in 1998. In 2000 I attended master's classes in Portugal and while there, also had the opportunity to give a solo recital. I was a full time member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra during 2005/2006, and still perform for the orchestra on an ad hoc basis. In addition, I perform in a variety of chamber ensembles and studio projects.
I enjoy performing tremendously, and feel privileged to be able to do what I love most in life as a full time profession.
I was born in Cape Town and received my schooling here. After matriculating with distinctions in both piano and violin, I began my studies at the University of Stellenbosch where I graduated with a Performer's Licentiate (violin) under Professor Jack de Wet. I then moved to Johannesburg where I continued my studies at Wits University under Zanta Hoffmeyr. After completing my B.Mus with honours, in just 2 years, I took up a position as first violinist in The National Symphony Orchestra.
I continued to live in Johannesburg for a total of 8 years, a time during which I thoroughly enjoyed playing chamber music with some of the country's top musicians, as well as various orchestral groups. In 2003 I made the decision to move back to Cape Town. Although I continue to play part time in the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, I also enjoy spending time working with other musicians in a more intimate format as with Camerata Tinta Barocca.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois and it is here where I received my formal training in Classical Music. I studied under Almita and Roland Vamos at Western Illinois University as well as the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. On my return to Chicago I furthered my studies at the American Conservatory with violinist Elizabeth Matesky. After I completed my studies, I spent two years traveling the United States and the Far East in my position as principal 3rd violinist in the famous Mantovani Orchestra.
It is in 1994 that I decided to move to South Africa and I performed with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra until 2003. Since I left the orchestra, I've worked throughout South Africa with numerous groups such as the Johannesburg Music Initiative, the Natal Philharmonic, and I've also appeared as Concertmaster with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic.
I am a 21-year-old final year Theatre and Performance student at the University of Cape Town. Music has always been an enormous part of my life. I passed my Grade 8 exams on cello, percussion and piano during high school and studied cello under the renowned Anmari van der Westhuizen. I am passionate about chamber music and have been playing professionally in numerous orchestras and ensembles since the age of 13. Some quartets include ACE, Wired and Sterling EQ. I have also performed cello on an ad hoc basis including as one of the string section during the Ten Tenors' South Africa tour. Although I am based in Cape Town, I have been lucky enough to perform around the country: in Sun City, Johannesburg, Upington and Bloemfontein for various private and corporate functions.
I love being able to share the joy of music-making with colleagues and clients alike, celebrating the beauty of sound and its ability to lift any mood!
I'm James. That's the part people usually forget. The rest of what I tell you is the part people seem to remember. I was smaller than my first cello I think. That was when I was 5. We got along swimmingly and I was soon delving into the dark underworld of orchestral politics at age 6. Somehow I fitted right in, and have always been most content playing in groups. Plenty of solo work was done, as I played (and won, I might add) countless eisteddfodau, competitions and exams for all grades (incidentally I got the highest marks for my grade 7 and 8 exams those years, but anyway). But the ensemble and orchestra are still my home. Having been a member of the National Youth Orchestra for many years which toured Germany, and co-leading it on occasion, offered me sought after experience. For example, the World Youth Orchestra got hold of me the other day…
Still in school days I led the Camerata Ensemble and the Collegium Musicum, and attended chamber music workshops with top players. As I moved out into the world of University, my tastes evolved, and I became a member of the jazz group "The Dominant Seven" which recorded albums like "Angel Eyes". Contemporary "future-retro" electronica group "Electro-Muse" called me from Joburg last year and asked me to record on their new album, on electric cello. While you'd think cello sapped all my time, I was the drummer for the rock/funk group Dawn Treader for many years, ending last year.
Strangely, I have a Masters degree in Astronomy, drive a motorbike and enjoy long walks on the beach.
I started playing the violin at the age of 7 under Louis van der Watt. As a young violinist I was chosen to perform with CAPAB in the 1992 Youth Music Festival. During my high school years I switched over to the viola, a slightly bigger and lower-in-tone-violin. After school I dabbled in a variety of streams, including Agriculture but music was like a magnetic force that always pulled me back. I decided to study music, under the leadership of Jurgen Schwietering, at the University of Cape Town in 1999. Hard work and dedication resulted in winning awards, being placed on the Dean's Merit list for four consecutive years and being the Class Medalist for two years. I graduated and received my BMus degree, with distinction in viola, in 2002.
During my final years at UCT, I was part of the quartet MUSE, who introduced the idea of having four girls with amplified instruments putting on a show. I left the group in 2004 to do some traveling. I have performed with numerous chamber groups at a variety of events and weddings in and around Cape Town. In addition I've performed with, and done recordings for, some well-known South African bands. I am currently a full-time member of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.