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Stefans Grové was born in 1922 at Bethlehem in the Oranje Free State(South Africa). Displaying an early aptitude for music, he started taking piano lessons from his mother at the age of six. Later he studied music at the University of the Orange Free State and subsequently at the University of South Africa.
By the age of twenty Grové had obtained both his Performer’s and Teacher’s Licenciates in Piano as well as his Performer’s licenciate in Organ. In 1948 he graduated at the South African College of Music in the University of Cape Town and became a lecturer at his alma mater. Grové, a multi-talented musician whose other instruments are the viola and the flute, started his career as a composer at the age of nine.
By early adulthood he had begun to win prizes for his original works, even though he had never had any formal training in composition apart from his own careful analysis of a wide variety of scores. In the early 50ties he won a prestigious scholarship, which enabled him to concentrate on composition under the celebrated Walter Piston at Harvard University (USA) and take lessons with Aaron Copland at the Tanglewood Summer School. In 1957 he was appointed to a Lectureship at the renowned Peabody Conservatoire in Baltimore (USA), where he remained for fourteen years. Shortly after his return to South Africa in 1972 he joined the staff of the University of Pretoria as a Professor in Composition, a chair which he actively occupied until a short time before his death in 2014.
Some of the important works composed during Grové’s early years include his “Three Inventions for Piano”, heard at the 1953 Festival of the ISCM in Salzburg and his First Symphony, performed by the Cincinnati Symhony Orchestra in 1966. In 1984 his artistic ideas underwent a thorough innovation, when Grové started reflecting his South African musical roots. One of the first fruits of Grové’s “vita nuova” was the Sonata on African motifs for Violin and Piano.
Subsequently more than twenty “cross-cultural” works came into being, tending to incorporate generic features of African music such as polyrhythmic metrical structure and modal harmony.
Stefans Grové died on 29 May 2014.