Hendrik Hofmeyr was born in Cape Town in 1957. He graduated from the University of Cape Town with a Master of Music degree before leaving for Italy on an overseas scholarship in 1981. During ten years of self-imposed exile as a onscientious objector, he obtained Italian State diplomas in composition, piano and conducting, while working as a vocal coach and accompanist. His first opera Il principe Barbablù was produced at the Stia Music Festival in 1986.
In 1987, he won the South African Opera Competition with The Fall of the House of Usher. When the opera was produced at the State Theatre in Pretoria the following year, he was awarded the annual Nederburg Prize for Opera. In the same year, he obtained first prize in the Trento Cinema - La colonna sonora international competition in Trent, Italy, with a work for chamber orchestra, composed for a short film by Wim Wenders.
Hofmeyr returned to South Africa in 1992 to take up a post as lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch. He obtained first prize in the 1995 Unisa-Transnet Composition Competition, and in 1997 he won two major international competitions, the Queen Elisabeth Competition of Belgium (with Raptus for violin and orchestra) and the first edition of the Dimitris Mitropoulos Competition in Athens (with Byzantium for soprano and orchestra). In 1998 Hofmeyr rejoined his alma mater, where he currently holds the post of associate professor. He obtained a Doctorate in Music from the same institute in 1999. Hofmeyr's Incantesimo for flute was selected to represent South Africa at the World Music Days of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Croatia in 2005, and in 2008 he received a Kanna award from the Kleinkaroo National Arts Festival.
Hofmeyr has completed more than fifty commissions, including a string quartet for the Hogarth Quartet (London), a two-piano concerto for British duo Nettle and Markham, a work for the Latvian national youth choir Kamer, and a partita for Chinese double-bassist DaXun Zhang. A number of his works have been released on CD, including Raptus, the Sinfonia africana for soprano, chorus and orchestra, concerti for flute and for piano, and the cantata Ainsi qu'on oit le cerf bruire, while several of his choral works have been published by Boosey and Hawkes (New York).
Left to Right: Hendrik Hofmeyr, Conrad van Alpen, Nettle & Markham
As part of Nettle & Markham's 30th Anniversary celebrations a new work written especially for the Duo was commissioned by Prof. Lionel Bowman - their dear South African friend and 'musical godparent' - and the World Première of Hendrik Hofmeyr’s Concerto for Two Pianos was enthusiastically received by audience and critics alike in Pretoria in April 2005. The Chamber Orchestra of South Africa was conducted by Conrad van Alphen.
“The highlight of this concert … a deeply rewarding experience … prodigal in invention …eminently accessible … an infectious vitality … an infallible ear for novel sonority …The opening movement is a gorgeous tapestry of shot colours … The beauty of the nostalgic slow movement … dissolves into the purest poetry. The playful and delicately scored finale, a wonderful odyssey of rippling sound … abristle with life and a constant delight. The duo-pianists played with fluency and communicative warmth ... they displayed a wide range of dynamics…”
R. van Rensburg - Pretoria News
Nettle & Markham gave the first Cape Town performance in November 2006 during the Cape Town International Summer Music Festival. Tragically, Prof. Bowman died just weeks before being able to hear a live performance of the work he'd played such an important part in. (Die Beeld)
"This concerto, like Hofmeyr's other works, shows technical assurance, the classical style teasing the listener's musical intelligence with ironic as well as serious references. Various motifs and combinations are used, alternating between typical 18th century writing (employing fugato and strict canon) and 20th century note-series techniques. Hofmey'rs strong melodic sense, striking contrasts in rhythm, tempo and texture along with rich, colourful orchestration kept me captivated. Even on first hearing it was clear that the pianists were brilliant..." (Die Burger)