Celebrating SA flute music

09 May 2017 | Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Supplied.
Flautist Liesl Stoltz was awarded the Humanities and Social Sciences award for best musical composition for her project: Explorations: South African flute music, which sought to capture and celebrate local flute compositions.
Flautist Liesl Stoltz was awarded the Humanities and Social Sciences award for best musical composition for her project: Explorations: South African flute music, which sought to capture and celebrate local flute compositions.

Acclaimed flautist Liesl Stoltz, a part-time lecturer at the UCT College of Music, has received the Humanities and Social Sciences award for best musical composition for her project: Explorations: South African flute music.

Stoltz recorded the works of South African composers, in an attempt to catalogue and promote their compositions.


The aim was not commercial success. “It is more like a heritage project: capturing material … and storing it for future generations,” she said.

The project has already garnered international interest:  she was invited to present a concert of South African flute music in Paris last October, at the 2016 International Convention of the Flute.

Inspired by France

Stoltz studied in France for seven years and when she arrived back in South Africa in 2002, she decided that she wanted to make a contribution by actively promoting local composers.

She was impressed by how the French government, together with local music institutions, affirmed the value of their composers and their original works. They make a point of actively promoting their national music, she explained.

“This is the only way to ensure interest and therefore development in this field.”

During her more than 13 years of teaching at UCT, Stoltz noticed the reluctance of students to perform South African works for examinations and competitions.

“Because up till my recording there existed very few recordings of South African flute works. Most undergraduate students don't want to present music in an examination that they haven't heard before,” she explained.

So Stoltz began this project and staged numerous concerts and workshops. These featured only South African compositions. She selected works that listeners could relate to: those with a beautiful melody and a message.

Rewarding excellence

“I was incredibly grateful when I received the award. The feeling of receiving some recognition gave me renewed energy to continue with new projects of the like.”

Stoltz is in good company. Two UCT alumni also garnered awards. Professor Alison Todes, alongside co-editors Philip Harrison and Graeme Gotz, won best non-fiction edited volume for Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after apartheid and Dr Gabeba Baderoon was a joint winner in the non-fiction monograph category for Regarding Muslims: From slavery to post-apartheid.

This is the second instalment of the awards, which aim to celebrate outstanding humanities and social sciences scholars who are “stimulating and contributing to serious critical work, while authentically telling South African stories that are shaping our new ways of knowing”.

So explained National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) CEO Professor Sarah Mosoetsa.

The awards hope to increase the recognition afforded to published works and other creative outputs, while reiterating that these contributions have essential public worth.

Stoltz is working on a new album, together with Professor Albie van Schalkwyk. She will be using the money from this award to finance this latest project.