From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

NewMusicSA is the South African section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM). Its formation on 10 May 1999 heralded the return of South African representation at the ISCM after many decades.[1][2]

Nature and Purpose[edit]

NewMusicSA is a non-profit organisation which supports the creation and performance of New Music by South African composers of all stylistic and cultural backgrounds. The organisation holds annual new music festivals, commissions works, puts out calls for scores and runs the South African New Music Ensemble. It publishes the NewMusicSA Bulletin, an annual periodical offering articles on current New Music events, issues, composers and performers, together with scores of recent works by South African composers. It provides information services for current events in the form of its monthly newsletter, and aims to foster collaboration and a sense of community among its members and the wider New Music community.

Annual Festival[edit]

Since 2000, the organisation has held an annual festival, the New Music Indaba, which showcases contemporary South African music performed by musicians based both within the country and abroad. A central part of the festival are the 'Growing Composers' workshops, which provide the opportunity for emerging composers to work with established musicians and composers in a supportive environment. From 2000 to 2006, the New Music Indaba was held as part of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province. From 2007 to 2009 the festival was hosted by the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria/Tshwane, Gauteng.

Unyazi Electronic Music Festival
GenreElectronic music,
Location(s)Johannesburg and Durban

NewMusicSA also runs the Unyazi Electronic Music Festival, which alternates with the New Music Indaba on an annual basis. Since 2010 the two festivals have been hosted variously in Johannesburg and Durban. The 2014 Unyazi Electronic Music Festival was held in Johannesburg, hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand School of Arts.

Other notable projects include The Bow Project, which commissioned numerous composers to write new pieces for string quartet based on the uhadi bow music of Nofinishi Dywili.

Exchange Programmes and Collaborations[edit]

NewMusicSA has provided an important link between South African art music composers and the international contemporary art music community by means of an exchange programme with the Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC). This programme has provided residencies for numerous South African composers in Gotland, Sweden. The most recent call for applicants took place in 2014, the residencies being awarded to Samora Ntsebeza and Pierre-Henri Wicomb.

Since its foundation, NewMusicSA has worked with a number of other South African music and cultural organisations, such as the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the Unisa Music Foundation and most recently the South African National Youth Orchestra to provide opportunities for emerging South African composers.

In 2008 the archive of NewMusicSA, which includes much documentary information and numerous unique music scores by South African composers was donated to the Documentation Centre for Music at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape province.

ISCM World Music Days Festival[edit]

An important aspect of the organisation's role is to convene an annual jury to select South African works that will be considered for performance at the ISCM's World Music Days festival. South African composers whose works have been selected for performance at the World Music Days Festival by the ISCM's international jury in recent years include, Robert Fokkens (2009), Clare Loveday (2008) and Stefans Grové (2007). In the past the music of Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Kevin Volans, Hans Huyssen, Mokale Koapeng, Hendrik Hofmeyr, Jürgen Bräuninger has also been heard at the festival. The 2015 festival will see the performance of another South African work.

South African New Music Ensemble[edit]

In 2013 NewMusicSA founded the South African New Music Ensemble (SANME), a chamber ensemble of variable instrumentation formulated with the purpose of bringing together performers and composers of new music in South Africa. The ensemble played its debut performance at the 2013 New Music Indaba at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College Campus. In the same year NewMusicSA issued its first commissions in a call for scores for two works to be played by the ensemble. The call was for one entirely instrumental/acoustic work and one mixed electronic/acoustic work. The acoustic commission was awarded to Pierre-Henri Wicomb. The electronic/acoustic commission was awarded to Maxim Starcke.

Board and Past presidents[edit]

The board members as of 2014 are:

Mr Chris Jeffery – Chair
Mr Douglas Scott – Treasurer
Mr William Fourie – Secretary & Vice-Chair
Dr Chris van Rhyn – Bulletin co-Editor
Mr Lukas Ligeti – Bulletin co-Editor
Mr Malcolm Dedman – Communications & Membership officer
Dr Cameron Harris – Board member
Ms Fiona Tozer – Board member

Past presidents of NewMusicSA include Michael Blake (who founded the organisation), Mokale Koapeng, Christopher Walton, Cameron Harris and Angie Mullins.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blake 2007.
  2. ^ Heuvelmans 2000.


  • Blake, M. 2007. 'South African Composers on the World Stage: The ISCM in South Africa’ in Fontes Artis Musicae 54/3 July–September 2007. 359–73.
  • Heuvelmans, H. 2000. ‘Minutes of the ISCM General Assembly 1999 in Bucharest’ in World New Music. 10. September 2001.

External links[edit]