Hennie Joubert 1986


Hendrik Johannes Joubert was born at Bellville on 27 December 1926. He matriculated at Bellville High School and  subsequently obtained the B.Mus. degree with distinction at the University of Stellenbosch (1947). Further music studies followed at the Conservatoire of Music in Zurich as well as in London. He obtained various piano and organ licentiates with distinction. Back in South Africa he held his first post as Director of the School of Church Music at Heidelberg {Transvaal) from 1954 to 1958. It was there on the Suikerbosrand that he developed his great_ love of Afrikaans music. From 1959 he began acting as examiner of the practical music examinations of UNISA, a task which he has performed virtually without interruption for 25 years. On 1 January 1967 he took up the position of Director of Music Examinations (Professional) at UNISA.

Professor Hennie Joubert has already received various awards for his endeavours to raise our standards closer to the international level. In 1979 the FAK made a special award of honour to him:

" ... for his comprehensive and profound influence on music teaching in South Africa, and furthermore also for the artistic way in which he accompanies some of our best-known singers and for his sympathetic handling of Afrikaans songs."

In 1980 he was awarded honorary membership of the South African Society of Music Teachers, also in recognition of the far-reaching influence he has exerted on music education in South Africa. In 1983 the University of South Africa awarded him an honorary professorship and on 3 July 1984 Professor Joubert gave his inaugural lecture on the topic: "Music examinations for the young child - an evil of perfection or an investment in understanding?"

Professor Joubert today occupies a unique and highly respected position in the South African as well as the extremely competitive international music world. His contributions may be summarised in three categories:

His work as a Music Examiner and Educationist

By means of countrywide tours, courses and lectures recorded on cassette tapes he has for many years sought to raise music standards throughout the country and over the whole spectrum of music education, from the primary school to the university. With unflagging zeal and fine musical insight and sensitivity, and on the basis of sound music education principles, he has made a profound contribution in placing the whole music examination system of South Africa on a sound footing. He has designed new curricula, ensuring that they include a large number of South African piano compositions. This has given prominence to many new compositions and composers and made them very well-known. As a composer himself, Hennie Joubert has written and published numerous piano works specifically for music teaching purposes. In addition, several of his choral works and organ compositions have also been published.

As editor of the periodical, Musicus, he regularly writes articles of wide­ranging importance to teacher and pupil. He has d.one further formative work as a music critic and as a speaker and performer on radio and television.

His reputation, locally and internationally, as an Accompanist and Pianist

Professor Hennie Joubert is regarded throughout the Republic as one of South Africa's most distinguished accompanists, especially in the field of singing. Internationally too he enjoys wide recognition in this field. Apart from accompanying prominent South African singers such as Mimi Coertze, Nellie du Tait, Ge Karsten, Hanneli Rupert and Emma Renzi, he has also regularly been associated with performances by overseas artists such as the world-renowned soprano Montserrat Caballe (1982), the London tenor Wynford Evans (1984), the celebrated international soprano Maria Chiara (1984), the world-famous tenor Nicolai Gedda of Sweden, as well as Hermann Prey, renowned singer of German lieder (1985). Over the years he has given innumerable concerts for the Regional Councils in all the towns and even remote parts of the country - mostly as an accompanist at the highest musical level. He has also often performed as a piano soloist with symphony orchestras.

His international status as a Music Adjudicator and his role in building up South Africa's image in the world musical scene

The high esteem in which he is held for his standards of adjudication led in 1978 to an invitation to act as adjudicator at the Fifth International Piano Competition of the City of Montevideo in Uruguay, together with adjudicators from the USA, Italy, Brazil and Argentina. In 1982 he was again invited to the Competition, also being elected President of the Jury. In 1985 he served for a third time on the Panel of the Montevideo Competition. In 1983 he was the guest of honour at the International Singing Competition of Rio de Janeiro and in 1985 he served there as adjudicator. In 1985 he also adjudicated at the 14th International Piano Competition "Ettore Pozzoli" in Milan. In 1986 he will act as adjudicator at the International Singing Competition for Verdian voices at Busseto, Italy. He also adjudicated at the International Piano and Singing Competition of Marsala in Sicily, as well as at the International' Bosendorfer Piano Competition in Brussels, Belgium. In 1984 he attended the Benson & Hedges International Singing Competition in London as an invited guest of honour. Over the past few years he has undertaken various concert tours of Italy and Portugal, also visiting Italy several times in this regard during 1986.

One direct outcome of Hennie Joubert's vision and enterprise was the holding of the First International Piano Competition in Pretoria during January 1982. Over 50 pianists participated, coming from not only South Africa but also Chile, Belgium, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Israel, Canada Taiwan Hong Kong, Uruguay and the USA. He was also Chairman of the Second International Piano Competition in Pretoria, held during January 1984, and the First International Singing Competition. The Third International Piano Competition and Second International Singing Competition were held in January 1986 in Pretoria under his direction. These competitions are tremendously successful in familiarising young South African musicians with the standard of inter­ national competition, breaking their isolation and drawing their best out of them by subjecting them to the tension and excitement as well as the enrichment of international competition. The effect on the young South African pianists and singers is overwhelmingly stimulating, and many of them acquit themselves well in subsequent international competitions.

Through these competitions which are being expanded to include all instruments, Professor Joubert has succeeded in consolidating South Africa's position in the international musical scene.

Since the establishment of the University of Port Elizabeth Professor Joubert has had close ties with this University. He performed as soloist in Beethoven's 4th piano concerto during the inaugural concert, for example, and in 1979 also accompanied Hanneli Rupert. Every year he provides the University with expert advice in his role as external examiner for the Department of Music.

It is a privilege for the University of Port Elizabeth to honour this eminent South African musician by awarding him the degree of DOCTOR MUSICAE, HONORIS CAUSA.