Gerben Grooten

Gerben travelled and worked with orchestras from the age of 14, performing, touring and recording in Europe, Africa, Canada and North America. He was admitted to the Rotterdam Conservatory at 16 and holds a Masters degree in Classical Orchestral Percussion, and Choir and Orchestral Conducting.

Gerben also plays the piano and cello. At 25 he became the deputy director and project coordinator at a creative arts institution of more than 2000 students, where he also taught classical percussion and conducted the orchestras and choirs. He has worked with organisations and universities around the world, presenting workshops and team-building and leadership seminars in the areas of life skills and arts management. He spent 10 years working with contemporary classical music ensembles, premiering new music after the fall of communism.

In January 2005, Gerben and his wife Mieke came to South Africa to work in music and art education. He is currently the creative director of the Hatfield Art Centre in Pretoria, which has two music schools, a full-time academy, a music publishing house and a record company. He also lectures orchestral conducting through the university of Pretoria. Since arriving in South Africa, Gerben has been involved with musical & TV productions as both conductor and player. He has worked with the Free State Symphony Orchestra, Unisa Symphony Orchestra, Cape Festival Opera, Johannesburg Philharmonic, Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Eastern Cape Philharmonic. He has conducted and taught for the South African National Youth Orchestras since 2008.

Continually excited about the talent of young musicians in the country, he is a respected adjudicator for art schools and cultural festivals. Gerben is the principal conductor of the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra, the Pretoria Bach Choir, and from this year also principal conductor of Sempre Opera.