Prof Theo van Wyk was appointed Director of the Department UP Arts in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria during March 2015.
Theo van Wyk was born in Kimberley. He started taking piano lessons at an early age. After completing his high-school education, he enrolled for the four-year Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree at the University of the Free State under the mentorship of Dr Ernst Conradie (piano and organ), Prof Deon Lamprecht (organ) and Prof John Wille (viola). It was during this time that Theo received several awards and study bursaries. During his student years, he was moreover a violinist in the Consortium Musicum string ensemble under Prof Derek Ochse. He obtained the University Performer’s Licentiate (UPLM) in organ at Unisa in 1998. He completed his BMus(Hons) and MMus degrees under the supervision of Prof Wim Viljoen at the University of Pretoria in 1999 and 2001 respectively. All of these were conferred cum laude.
He received training as a choir conductor from acclaimed musicians, including Prof Petru Gräbe (UP) and Prof Volker Hempfling (Germany). He completed his DMus, which was conferred upon him in September 2005. His thesis, written in partial fulfilment of the requirements for his DMus, was titled ‘Die Harmonische Seelenlust (1733) by Georg Friedrich Kauffmann (1679–1735): a critical study of his registration indications’. In this regard, Theo became the first person in South Africa to receive this instituted degree in organ performance, as well as the first person of colour to achieve this milestone in the field of music studies in South Africa.
Theo has attended various masterclasses, seminars and workshops, both locally and internationally, under distinguished musicians and conductors such as Marie-Claire Alain (France), Jacques van Oortmerssen (the Netherlands), Harold Vögel (Germany), Daniel Roth (France), Pieter van Dijk (the Netherlands), John Scott (United Kingdom), Lüdger Lohmann (Germany) and Hans Davidsson (Sweden). He has given organ recitals and performances locally and abroad in, inter alia, Namibia, the Grote Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar (the Netherlands), Dunblane Cathedral, Paisley Abbey, St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh (Scotland), New Canaan, Connecticut (USA), Kaufbeuren (Germany) and Örgryte Nya Kyrka and Artisten in Göteborg (Sweden). He has also conducted workshops on South African music and historical performance techniques in Scotland (Dunblane and Edinburgh), as well as in the United States of America (Boston and New Canaan).
As an accompanist he performs with choirs and soloists such as Cantamus Corde (Prof Petru Gräbe), Tuks Camerata (Michael Barrett), the Johannesburg Bach Choir (Tim Roberts), the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir (Christian Ashleigh-Botha), Ars Nova (Lance Phillip), the South African Chamber Choir (Michael Dingaan), The Goldberg String Quartet, Mimi Coertse, Helen Vosloo, Prof Zanta Hofmeyr and Sibongile Khumalo. Theo performed the world première of Sjirdan Hofman’s Recitative and toccata for organ (2004) at the inauguration of the organ in the Aula at the University of Pretoria. He also performed at the world premières of Richard Pantcheff’s Fantasia (2012) and Psalm prelude (2013).
Theo served as Chief Adjudicator of the Transnet Foundation National Internal Choirs Competition. He moreover serves as external examiner for postgraduate music examinations and theses at the University of Pretoria and North-West University. In 2011 he was appointed National Secretary of the Southern African Church Organists’ Society. He has featured on television in Ouverture on KykNet and in Koning van instrumente on RSG.
From 2005 to 2015 he was the Director of Music and Music Centre Manager of the Performing Arts Centre at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls (DSG) in Pretoria.