Zaidel-Rudolph, Jeanne, prominent South African composer; b. Pretoria, July 9, 1948. She began piano instruction at the age of 5 with her aunt, and in her youth began to appear publicly. In 1966 she entered the Univ. of Pretoria, where she studied composition with Johann Potgieter and Arthur Wegelin (B.Mus., 1969; M.Mus., 1972); in 1973 she studied in London with John Lambert (composition), John Lili (piano), and Tristam Carey (electronic music) at the Royal Coll. of Music, where she won the R.O. Morris and Cobbett composition prizes. After further training in composition with Ligeti at the Hamburg Hochschule für Musik (1974), she returned to South Africa and was a lecturer in the music dept. at the Univ. of the Witwatersand in Johannesburg from 1975 to 1977. She then studied for her D.Mus. degree under Stefans Grove at the Univ. of Pretoria, becoming the first woman in South African history to receive such a degree in composition in 1979. From 1978 to 1982 she again was a lecturer at the Univ. of the Witwatersand; after serving as head of music for the Performing Arts Workshop in Johannesburg (1983-84), she was senior lecturer at the Univ. of the Witwatersand (from 1985). She was also active as a pianist and organist, serving in the latter capacity at the Sydenham/Highlands North Synagogue in Johannesburg. While her compositions utilize various contemporary techniques, she has succeeded in finding a highly personal style, frequently melding Western and African elements. Her Jewish heritage is affirmed in many of her works as well, most notably in the inspiration she has found in the Bible and Jewish mysticism.
dramatic: Animal Farm, opera (1978); A Rage in a Cage, rock opera (1983); The River People—Abantubom-lambo, ballet (Durban, July 1987); African Dream, film score (1988). ORCH.: Concert Overture (1979); 5 Chassidic Melodies for Small Orch. (1981); 2 syms.: No. 1, Construction Symphony (1985) and No. 2, Sefirot Symphony, for Wind, Brass, Percussion, and Harp (1990); Fanfare Festival Overture (1985; Johannesburg, Aug. 1986); Tempus fugit (Johannesburg, Oct. 1986); At the End of the Rainbow, symphonic poem (Johannesburg, Aug. 1988); Piano Concerto (1995). CHAMBER: Kaleidoscope for Winds and Percussion (1971); Canonetta for 4 for Trumpet, Bassoon, Viola, and Vibraphone (1973); Reaction for Piano, Cello, and Percussion (1973); Tango for Tim for Guitar (1973); Chamber Concertino for 11 Instruments (1979); The Fugue That Flew Away for Flute and Piano (1979); 3 Chassidic Pieces for Flute, Violin, and Cello (1982); 4 “Minim” for Cello and Piano (1982); Brass Quintet—and AH That Jazz for 2 Trumpets, Horn, Trombone, and Tuba (1983); Margana for Flute, Violin, Cello, and 2 Percussionists (1985); Masada for String Quartet and Bassoon (1989); Sextet (1990); 5 African Sketches for Guitar (1991); Suite Afrique for Cello and Piano (1993). Piano: Sonata (1969); 7 Variations on an Original Theme (1971); 3 Dimensions (1974); Virtuoso I (1987); Mixed Feelings: For Sara (1988); Mosaic (1989); Awaiting Game (1993). VOCAL: Settings of a Selection of Afrikaans Poems for Soprano and Piano (1968); Dialogue of Self and Soul for 8 Soloists and Speaking Chorus (1971); Setting of the Swaziland National Anthem for Chorus and Piano (1974); 5 Pieces for Soprano and Wind Quartet (1976); Boy on a Swing for Women’s Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (1983; also for Soprano and Piano, 1992); Back to Basics for Narrator, Piano, and Prepared Piano (1983); It’s a Woman’s World for Chorus and Piano (1985); Peace for Chorus and Guitar (1991); Hell, Well Heavens for Soprano and Piano (1993); Ukuthula for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Orch. (1993; Johannesburg, Feb. 25, 1994).
—Nicholas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire