Biography

The music of South African composer Conrad Asman (b. 1996) has gained international recognition as being “innovative” (Chorosynthesis) and “heart-rending” (The Esoterics), yet also “fun and festive” (Creative Feel). With a strong interest in musical fabric and texture within a rich harmonic vocabulary, his work has been widely performed in Africa, Asia and North America in venues such as the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Jinji Lake and Carnegie Hall. Engagements with ensembles such as the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic and the Cape Town Youth Choir have led to his work winning multiple major awards, scholarships and commissions worldwide.

Conrad Asman grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa where his interest in music started at an early age; starting Piano lessons at four, with instruction in the Violin and Vocal studies to follow. Asman began studying composition at the South African College of Music in 2015 where, as the youngest undergraduate participant, he won the Cone of Composition competition. In the same year, he also won the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra Composition Competition for his large orchestral piece Igniting Kites & Flying Fireworks. This work has subsequently received performances by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Symphony, claiming both the Jan Royce Foundation Orchestral Composition Competition and the Nicholas Abbot Prize for Composition. Conrad went on to win every possible prize for composition at the SACM until graduating with distinction in 2018.

These opportunities led to Asman’s invitational attendance to the Curtis Institute Young Artist Summer Programme in 2016. He made his Carnegie Hall début with the Cape Town Youth Choir with his work On a Night, which in 2016 won the Stefans Grové National Choral Composition Competition. Asman was recognised as the Polyphonos Young Composer award laureate in 2017, which sparked a new commission for The Esoterics choral ensemble in Seattle.

Last year (2018), Asman was named as the main winner of the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship. His work has also had its Asian première: He was selected as a finalist for the Thailand International Composition Festival and recently was the joint winner of the Jinji Lake Composition Competition. He was chosen for both of these events out of more than hundreds of applications from over forty countries around the world. Asman possesses a Bachelor of Music degree from the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town and holds a fellowship in Music Composition from the Trinity College London.

Conrad currently lives and works in Johannesburg. He looks forward to undertaking a Masters Degree in Music in August at the Royal Academy of Music supported by grants from both the Academy and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.

Recognition

Recent Awards Scholarships & Grants

Oppenheimber Memorial Trust (Grantee; 2019)

Jinji Lake Composition Competition (Joint winner; 2018)

SAMRO International Competition for Composers (main scholarship & ‘clazz’ winner; 2018)

Jan Royce Foundation Orchestral Composition Competition (Winner; 2017)

POLYPHONOS Young Composer Award (Laureate; 2017)

Recent Commissions and Work

Ligature commissioned by the ICon Arts Academy for the Daya Cipta Marimba duo (2019)

Shuāng Miàn Xiù [Two-faced Tapestry] written for Suzhou Symphony Orchestra (2018)

Shisa Nyama [Burnt Meat] written for members of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra SAMRO Scholarship Competition for
Composers (2018)

Sense Twitch Sprint commissioned and premiered by Liesl Stoltz for the African
Explorations concert series (2018)

Education & Academic Honours

Royal Academy of Music, M.Mus (2019-21)
Studying with Philip Cashian and Christopher Austin

Trinity College London, FTCL (2016-17)
Fellowship in Music Composition (via correspondence)

South African College of Music, B.Mus(Hons) (2015-19)
Graduated with distinction (cum laude). Studied with Hendrik Hofmeyr.

Contact

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