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Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS): Digital collections


Digital collections

SUNDigital collections

Albert Coates collection

Composer conductor Albert Coates was born in St. Petersburg in 1882. He studied conducting with Arthur Nikisch at the Leipzig Conservatory. From 1910 to 1917 he conducted at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. He left Russia in 1919, after which he regularly worked with the London Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the New York Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra,  the Philharmonic and Symphonic Societies in New York, the Berlin State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic and Covent Garden. Coates married South African singer Vera de Villiers in 1945. They emigrated to South Africa the following year. His last opera, Tafelberg se kleed, was performed for the Van Riebeeck Festival in 1952. Coates died in Cape Town on 11 December 1953. The complete Coates collection consists of address books, artefacts, articles, autograph books, brochures, certificates, correspondence, furniture, libretti, monographs, music manuscripts, newspaper cuttings, notes, art objects, periodicals, photographic negatives, photographs, posters, printed music, programmes and sound recordings (gramophone records).

Christopher James collection

Christopher James (1952-2008) was born in Harare, Zimbabwe 1952. He immigrated to South Africa in 1974 to study music at the University of Pretoria where he studied composition with Stefans Grové and organ with Stephanus Zondagh. In 1978 he obtained a teaching position in the Department of Musicology at the University of South Africa. After completing his Masters degree he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for doctoral studies in the United States of America. During the years 1983 to 1985 he furthered his studies at the University of Cincinnati where much of his work was performed and some of it was broadcast on American public radio. Since his return to South Africa in 1985, he displayed a growing interest in African music. His doctoral dissertation, Images from Africa, was a choral symphony which made use of African poets. The music combined African melodic and rhythmic features with the contemporary European musical tradition. In 1993-1994 he orchestrated the original version of Ushaka, and in recent years wrote two piano concertos and a symphonic poem, Paradise Regained. His most recent work is a four movement cello concerto.

Fay Singer South African Jewish Music Collection


In 2011 the collection of the South African Jewish Music Centre was donated to DOMUS by Mrs. Fay Singer, hence the Fay Singer South African Jewish Music Centre Collection. The South African Jewish Music Centre (SAJMC), in their aim to preserve the heritage of Jewish music in its South African context, has been active in promoting the study and performance of Jewish music. This took place by means of lectures, performances and the collecting of music materials. Due to negotiations between former Stellenbosch University music student Annemie Stimie [Annemie Behr] and Fay Singer, the archive of the South African Jewish Music Centre was transferred to DOMUS.

The material in this archive includes brochures, correspondence, newsletters, newspaper cuttings, notes, periodicals, posters, programmes, sheet music and sound recordings (mostly gramophone recordings of South African and international Jewish music) donated to the Centre by local synagogues, cantors and other individuals.

Graham Newcater collection

Graham Newcater (1941), South Africa’s most celebrated twelvetone composer was a student of the composer Arnold van Wyk. Further studies with the aid of a SAMRO scholarship were with Peter Racine Fricker at the Royal College of Music. He composed for various genres, of which a ballet production of N.P. van Wyk Louw’s poem Raka was one. The Newcater collection consists of correspondence, music manuscripts, newspaper cuttings, notes, objets d’art (drawings), photographs and printed music.

John Simon collection

John Simon was born in Cape Town in 1944. He studied composition at the Trinity College of Music and the Royal College of Music in London under James Patten and John Lambert. His works have been performed and broadcast in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Europe. Until 2005 he was Composer in Residence to the KwaZulu-Natal Phiharmonic Orchestra (the first of its kind in South Africa) and lecturer in orchestration at the School of Music, University of KwaZulu-Natal. Recent engagements include the orchestration of KwaZulu-Natal composer Phelelani Mnomiya’s Zizi Lethu (‘Our Hope’), which led to a new composition for concert orchestra, Dance to Freedom (premiered at the Cape Town International Festival, November 2007), as well as to the composition of his most recent work, A Peal of Bells for string orchestra, tubular bells and celesta, together with an alternative version for cello and piano.

Stefans Grové collection

South African composer Stefans Grové (1922-2014) was the first South African recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship. He also taught at the world-renowned Peabody Conservatoire for fourteen years and lived in Pretoria from 1973, where he taught as professor in composition at the University of Pretoria until his retirement in 1987. The music now housed at DOMUS includes previously unknown youth works. Apart from works from Grové’s neo-classical period and his much discussed African style that was already inaugurated with the ballet Waratha (1976), this donation also contains unusual finds. The Grové collection consists of articles, correspondence, music manuscripts, notes and printed music.