Rosemary Nalden (violin, viola & ensembles)
Founder of Buskaid and director of the Buskaid Soweto String Project, Rosemary was born in England and educated in New Zealand, where she graduated Bachelor of Arts in Languages, before studying viola and singing at the Royal College of Music in London.
Rosemary has freelanced in London for over twenty-five years as a leading member of most of the “early instrument” ensembles and orchestras. She has played and recorded extensively under such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle, Christopher Hogwood, Franz Bruggen and Gustav Leonhardt. Time permitting, she still travels to Europe to play with Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists.
Teaching has played an important role in Rosemary’s professional life, and she employs a highly specialised teaching approach, pioneered by the late Paul Rolland and developed by her close friend Sheila Nelson, the distinguished British string pedagogue. Her combined interest in performance practice and teaching have placed her in a unique position to develop the innate musicianship and instinctive stylistic sense of her young African pupils. In addition to teaching some forty youngsters in Soweto and training the Buskaid Ensemble, Rosemary plays a major part in the administrative and fund-raising activities of the Buskaid Trust.
In 2002 she was awarded an MBE in the Golden Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of her work with Buskaid. In 2003 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from her former university, The University of Auckland, New Zealand, and in 2006 was highly commended in the category of Community Builder for the Beacon Fellowship Awards.
Sonja Bass (cello, bass, theory & instrument repair)
South African cellist Sonja Bass joined Buskaid as its administrator in late 1999. She became increasingly involved in the project, both in an administrative and teaching capacity, and now teaches all Buskaid’s cello & bass students as well as training a group of senior students as her assistant teachers. With remarkable versatility, Sonja has acquired the necessary skills to become Buskaid’s instrument repairer, having spent some time in England studying at the Newark School of Violin Making and in the workshops of the renowned instrument restorers, J & A Beare. Ultimately she intends to base her workshop in Soweto where she will oversee a training scheme for local youth in this very specialised skill. Sonja was recently appointed a member of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Susan van der Wat (theory and aural)