The Rhodes String Ensemble
The Rhodes String Ensemble was created in 2005 by Senior Lecturer Juan Munoz, with the aim of providing the students the opportunity to acquire skills and experience in ensemble playing. Since then, the ensemble has performed in numerous concerts in Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, and Port Alfred.
The ensemble consists of amateur players, as well as lecturers from various departments, teachers from different local schools, and students from the Rhodes Music Department.The ensemble also allows fourth-year conducting students the experience to conduct them.Everybody is welcome to participate with a minimum level of Grade 5.
They rehearse once a week for two hours.For certain projects, the ensemble mixes with other instrumental players to form a classical orchestra, forming the Rhodes Orchestra.Both ensembles collaborate in outreach projects involving mass choirs from the greater Grahamstown.
Rhodes Jazz Trio
Nishlyn Ramanna (piano) holds a PhD in musicology from UKZN for his work on jazz in post-apartheid South Africa. Currently teaching jazz at Rhodes University, he has written biographical entries on SA jazz musicians in the Grove Dictionary of Jazz, as well as contributions to the journals Social Dynamics, SAMUS, and the Journal of Musical Arts in Africa. Recorded while he was Overseas Visiting Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, his debut CD A Thought includes eight of his original compositions and features the acclaimed British saxophonist Stan Sulzmann as special guest. He has also composed music for Jyoti Mistry’s films We Remember Differently and Le Boeuf sur le toit.
Kingsley Buitendag (bass) was awarded the prize for the most promising pianist at the East London Eisteddfod in 2002 and received Honours for Jazz Band and cultural excellence when matriculating from Hudson Park High School in 2002. He then studied towards a BMus degree at the UFS with an emphasis on Jazz under Noel Stockton. In 2008 he was selected as the pianist for the National Youth Jazz Band directed by Neil Gonsalves and was reselected in 2009 under the leadership of Feya Faku. Kingsley was awarded the runner up prize in the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship Competition for Composers in 2010, and in 2011 completed a Masters degree in Jazz piano and composition under the supervision of Prof. Marc Duby. Kingsley has performed extensively both as pianist and bass player around the country, including performances at the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Fest and the Grahamstown Jazz Fest, with notable musicians such as Melanie Scholtz, Clement Benny, Marc Duby and Lloyd Martin. He is currently also teaching at Rhodes University and DSG/St Andrews College in Grahamstown.
Steve Ellis (drums) completed his undergraduate and Honours degrees as well as his PGCE at Rhodes University. He commenced his Masters in Jazz (including a performance and thesis component) in 2010. Reflecting his qualifications in music and education, Steve’s thesis is focussed on jazz education. He is currently employed as a music teacher at St. Andrews College and part-time as drum kit lecturer at Rhodes University. Steve has had the privilege to play with jazz musicians such as Melanie Scholtz, Hotep Galeta, Helen Vosloo, Andy Narell, Prof. Marc Duby, Dr. Nishlyn Ramana and Rick van Heerden.