Magda de Vries, marimba

"…the evocative slow movement was a virtuoso exercise in tonal restraint…" LONDON EVENING STANDARD

Magdalena de Vries started percussion at the age of 15, and within a few years won a number of South African music prizes and national scholarships.

She holds performer’s licentiate diplomas (with distinction) from both the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and the University of South Africa, a BMus from UNISA as well as a postgraduate diploma (cum laude) from the Tokyo College of Music in Japan where she studied as the first foreign student under Professor Atsushi Sugahara. While in Japan, she performed both as soloist and chamber musician.

She moved to the UK in 2000 and her work included a UK-France concert tour with Ensemble Bash; CD recordings with Errollyn Wallen and Continuum Ensemble; workshops run by Ensemble Bash, Sinfonia 21spnm; performing with a variety of contemporary music groups including Premiere CrewModern Band and ESO at various venues, including Australia House (London), Purcell Room (London South Bank Centre), King’s College (Cambridge), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and Linbury Studio Theatre (Royal Opera Covent Garden). In May 2001 she won first prize in the Performing Australian Music Competition in London and was subsequently featured as guest soloist on BBC3 In Tune.

In January 2003 she opened the series Music Oz: The Australia you’ve never heard before, at St John’s Smith Square in London, and appeared on invitation of the Australian High Commissioner as guest artist at the Australia Day celebrations in London.

In 2003 she formed Duo FourIVTwo with South Africa’s foremost vibraphonist, Frank Mallows. The duo has performed with great success at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, the Baxter Concert Hall (Cape Town), the Aardklop Festival (Potchefstroom), Northwards House (Johannesburg), Baroque in the Bush (Kruger National Park), the Franschoek Festival as well as the ZK Matthews Auditorium. They strive to promote South African music by regularly commissioning pieces from South African composers, living both in South Africa and abroad.   

Magdalena has performed a large number of world premiéres including works by Errollyn Wallen, Peter Klatzow, Robert Fokkens, Paul Hanmer, Clare Loveday, Alexander Johnson and Hendrik Hofmeyr.

In January 2005 she performed the South African premiére of Ney Rosauro’s Concerto for Marimba and Strings with the CPO, and was subsequently featured as soloist with the ECPO, JFO, COSA and the JPO. In September 2010 Magda performed the South African premiere of La Folia, Karl Jenkins’ marimba concerto.

As orchestral percussionist, Magdalena has worked with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), attended the 2000 Festival de Musica de Canarias as member of the former Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and currently regularly works with all major South African orchestras. 

As recording artist, she is featured on CDs by Claire Johnston, Denzil Weale, Hannelie Rupert, Ockie Vermeulen, Duo FourIVTwo and Acoustic Moodz.

As adjudicator, she is chairman of the Stellenbosch National Ensemble Competition, and has been on the panel of the Performing Australian Music International Competition in London, as well as the ATKV Muziq. As educator, she lectures marimba at Beaulieu Preparatory School and percussion at the Universities of Pretoria and Witwatersrand and is the percussion instructor for the MIAGI Youth Orchestra. She has also set all the percussion syllabi for the UNISA Directorate of Music practical examinations.

MarimBaroque, her first solo album, was released in November 2013.