Steven de Groote (1953-1989) : die loopbaan van 'n Suid-Afrikaanse konsertpianis

Kleynhans, Cara (2007-12)

Thesis ( MMus (Music))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


Steven De Groote (1953-1989) was one of the most successful pianists to have emerged from South Africa. His international reputation rests largely on the fact that he won first prize in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1977, the only South African to date to have achieved this feat. As such he must be recognized as an important figure in the music history of South Africa. Because the performing musician’s product is transitory in nature and therefore his/her legacy is not tangible in all respects, the introduction to the thesis discusses the specific methodological problems arising from this fact in respect of the writing of a biography. The focus in this biography is on De Groote’s numerous achievements and especially on his career as concert pianist. It includes a discussion of his formative years, his subsequent years of study and the influence of competitions, and more specifically the 1977 Van Cliburn competition on his career. Discussion of his pianistic style, De Groote as teacher and his love for chamber music is also included. De Groote’s contribution to the South African musical scene is highlighted, especially his honorary professorship at the University of Stellenbosch during 1986 and 1987, as are his master classes in this capacity and his regular performances in South Africa. His role as a South African musician abroad is also examined. The biography is concluded with a brief discussion of his airplane accident and the influence this had on his career as a pianist and on his playing.

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