Tag Archives: Ben Schoeman

Ben Schoeman wins the Contemporary Music Prize at the Cleveland International Piano Competition and performs at Festivals in Edinburgh and Bucharest

DMA student Ben Schoeman has been awarded the prize for the best rendition of a contemporary work at the prestigious Cleveland International Piano Competition in Ohio, USA. Schoeman performed the Toccata for John Roos by the South African composer Surendran Reddy (1962-2010). This Toccata includes several elements of South African jazz and mbaqanga dance music and is a highly virtuosic work. Schoeman was one of 28 selected participants who took part in the event. He was praised in Cleveland Classical by critic Daniel Hathaway, who wrote the following:

South African pianist Ben Schoeman brought the session to an end with Bach and Haydn that felt completely right. His reading of the Toccata, BWV 911 was dramatic in concept, full in tone, his playing virtuosic where it was meant to sound improvisatory and clear and neat when counterpoint was involved. Schoeman responded to Haydn’s delightful C major Sonata (Hob. XVI:50) with elegantly cheerful playing full of character and contrast and festooned with pearly passagework. South African composer Surendran Reddy’s Toccata for John Roos was pure dessert: jazzy, bluesy, caffeinated and just bordering on the pianistically trashy, Schoeman played it with amused glee.

After his success at the Cleveland Competition, Schoeman went on to give six recitals at the Royal Over-Seas League Concert Series that forms part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. He also travelled to Bucharest to perform Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 1 at the George Enescu International Festival, where he collaborated with conductor Vlad Vizireanu, members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Camerata of Romania.


Mr. Schoeman has also recently been named a ‘Steinway Artist’. His name appears on an international roster of artists, including musicians such as Vladimir Horowitz, Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu as well as Schoeman’s teacher at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Prof. Ronan O’Hora.


Schoeman is currently completing his doctoral thesis on South African composer Stefans Grové’s piano music under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Wiley.

Ben Schoeman (DMA) selected to take part in the Cleveland International Piano Competition 2013

City University DMA student, pianist Ben Schoeman, was selected as one of 30 pianists to take part in the Cleveland International Piano Competition. This is one of the world’s most prestigious competitions and a member of the World Federation of International Music Competitions (WFIMC). Ben Schoeman is a student of Dr. Christopher Wiley (City University, London) and Prof. Ronan O’Hora (Guildhall School of Music & Drama). He is currently completing a doctoral dissertation on the piano music of the South African composer Stefans Grové. Schoeman won the 1st Prize in the 11th UNISA International Piano Competition in Pretoria (also a WFIMC competition) as well as the Gold Medal in the Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition in London. In 2012 he won the Glass Trophy of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama after his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto no. 1 with the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall. He passed two pre-selection rounds to be accepted as one of the 30 competitors in the Cleveland Competition. The event will take place between 28 July and 12 August 2013 in Cleveland (Ohio), United States of America.

For more information, please visit the competition website: http://www.clevelandpiano.org/

Ben Schoeman (DMA) gives performances at the National Arts Festival in South Africa

City University DMA student, pianist Ben Schoeman, has given concerts at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. At the prestigious Gala Concert of this event on 30 June 2013, Schoeman performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Richard Cock. The prominent South African critic Jeff Brukman (Head of the Music Department at Rhodes University) described his performance as “a sensitive interpretation” and wrote that “compositional features and inner-voiced thematic material were highlighted through Schoeman’s careful voicing of the richly-hued tapestry” (Cue Newspaper, Grahamstown). On 2 July Schoeman gave a solo recital at the National Arts Festival. His programme included works of Haydn, Schumann, Wagner-Liszt as well as the South African composer Surendran Reddy.

During his South African visit, Ben Schoeman also gave two chamber music recitals in collaboration with his duo-partner cellist Anzél Gerber. The two musicians won the first prize in the IBLA Grand Prize Competition in Italy (2012). Their first recital took place at the ZK Matthews Great Hall of the University of South Africa on 23 June and was described by the critic Thys Odendaal (Beeld newspaper) as “an ecstatic performance that can surely be described as a highlight of Pretoria’s concert calendar for this year”. On 1 July the Gerber/Schoeman Duo repeated their programme to a capacity audience at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The following review appeared in the Cue Newspaper (Wednesday 3 July 2013): http://cue.ru.ac.za/2013/07/moments-of-virtuosity/

Ben Schoeman features in 90th birthday celebration of South African composer Stefans Grové

Ben SchoemanDMA student and pianist Ben Schoeman has found himself in great demand during the celebrations of the 90th birthday of one of South Africa’s foremost composers, Stefans Grové, on 23 July 2012.

At the Stefans Grové Symposium in Bloemfontein, South Africa on 10-12 August, Ben will give the world premiere performances of two new works by Grové: My Jaargetye/My Seasons (Piano Suite, 2012) and the Piano Quintet (A Venda Legend, 2012). Ben will also present a lecture recital on the composer’s piano music.

Ben was also recently invited to conduct an interview with Stefans Grové as guest journalist for the ClassicSA website: http://www.classicsa.co.za/site/features/view/classicsa_composer_stefans_grove_90/

Ben Schoeman is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with Ronan O’Hora and at City University London with Dr Christopher Wiley, preparing a thesis entitled ‘Pedagogical Elements in the Piano Works of Stefans Grové and their Potential Value in the Education of Pianists in South Africa’.

Ben Schoeman awarded top honours in the Ibla Grand Prize Competition, Sicily

Ben Schoeman and Anzél GerbertookDMA student and pianist Ben Schoeman and his duo partner, cellist Anzél Gerbertook, have been awarded the joint first grand prize in the Ibla Grand Prize International Music Competition in Sicily.

The prize includes a concert at the Kurt Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall in New York along with other concerts in the USA.

Further information is to be found here:  http://www.classicsa.co.za/site/features/view/schoeman_gerber_earn_top_honours_in_sicily/
http://www.city-maps.it/focus/proclamati-i-vincitori-dellibla-grand-prize (in Italian)
http://www.beeld.com/Vermaak/Nuus/SA-duo-verower-musiekprys-20120724 (in Afrikaans)