Leon Hartshorne's death is a sad loss for SA musicAndré Coetzee
André Coetzee: The death of Leon Hartshorne (58) last Tuesday (21 August) is an immense loss, not only for his wife Janette and family but for classical music in general in SA and even abroad.
The Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow, in particular, has lost its founder and a tutor with exceptional qualities.
Hartshorne directed the activities at Hugo Lambrechts like an orchestra. He was the consummate professional. Apart from performing his duties as principal and administrator, in artistic planning and staff development, he taught the clarinet, attended to orchestral and ensemble coaching, and even took pride in beautifying the Centre buildings and grounds. He was valued and respected as examiner all over the country, and initiated several pioneering projects like the annual Hugo Lambrechts Concerto Festival and the SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy National Music Competition – the latter on behalf of the SA Society of Music Teachers (Tygerberg).
After matriculating in 1970, Leon became a trainee musician in the SA Navy Band at Simonstown and left as a full member in 1975 to take up BMus studies at the University of Stellenbosch (US), graduating in 1978. After his teacher licentiates (UNISA 1979, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music 1980), 1982 was a particularly prolific year when he attained performance licentiates from both the ABRSM and UNISA) and completed BMus.Hons at US. His MMus followed in 1989.
He taught music at Paarl Girls High (1979 –1982), Simonstown High (1982 –1983 and Durbanville High (1984–1986) and at the latter also conducted the school’s orchestra. In April 1986 he was appointed the first principal/director of the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre in Parow – only the second of this nature in the Cape metropole – where he could fulfil his passion and live his dream.
He served as examiner at UNISA since January 1987 and in various management positions in the SA Society of Music Teachers (president 1999-2001 and 2011-2012), chairman of the Tygerberg branch, vice-president: Western Cape and representative in the UNISA Examinations Committee.
Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre and its world-class auditorium today bear testimony to the achievements of a man who will be greatly missed by many people and young musicians whose lives he touched.
Johann Vos, chairman: Hugo Lambrechts Music Trust, considers Leon’s work and achievements at the Centre to be a lasting monument to him. He expressed his feelings as follows:
To have crossed paths with Leon Hartshorne and his staff at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, has always been a privilege and a blessing for me. Though he was seriously ill since June, his death leaves us with great sadness.
In the 26th year of Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, I deem it unnecessary to deal in detail with the institution as such, its expanding activities and wide-ranging impact on cultural level in general, and music specifically.
However, it is my modest opinion that the dreams at the planning stage of the centre, were surpassed extensively by what became reality and can be enjoyed today. What we see is but a shell – the participation of particular individuals and parties using it, local and from abroad, endorses it, and the status it has achieved, confirms it.
It is therefore fitting and timeous that those people who had the vision and brought to reality what exists today, be afforded the acknowledgement they deserve. Vision alone has never been enough. It needs to be supported and followed by hard work. And that is exactly what makes HLMC the jewel it is today.
In all of this one can see the hands of Leon Hartshorne. From the gardens to the auditorium, from basic maintenance to prestige concerts, from reaching out to learners at schools in disadvantaged communities to performances by internationally celebrated musicians – everything is evidence of his toil and devotion.
The HLMC is one of a kind, the dedicated and passionate staff is one of a kind, and to cap it all, Leon Hartshorne was one of a kind. For what was achieved, Leon deserves the credit and we honour him for that. What was created here is a living monument to him.
I conclude with a personal note:
As vriend, het ek Leon waardeer as ‘n passievolle mens – verknog aan sy gesin wat sy liefde vir musiek gedeel het en aan musiek as sy vakgebied, die Musieksentrum Hugo Lambrechts, sy kollegas en die studente.
Hugo Lambrechts was sy lewe en trots wat hy die afgelope 26 jaar uitgebou het tot ‘n sentrum van uitnemendheid – nou as ‘n monument vir wat hy op sy beskeie manier bereik het. Hy het sy personeel begeester en saamgesnoer en dit het hom die grootste bevrediging verskaf om te sien hoe studente ontluik, bereid is om hard te werk en hul talente te slyp en uiteindelik te presteer.
Sy kennis van en liefde vir musiek het uitgestraal en hy kón organiseer (bv. SAMRO Hubert van der Spuy Nasionale Musiekkompetisie). Hy was ‘n perfeksionis en spanleier duisend, met uitnemendheid as slagwoord. Egter ook ‘n privaat mens.
Ek sal hom onthou vir die uitsonderlike optrede van sy simfonieorkes met vyf harpe wat die Orkestefees op 9 Junie (waar hy siek geword het) afgesluit het:
C Saint-Saëns se Dance Bacchanale was sy magnus opus én grand finale!
Ons bied jou ‘n staande ovasie! Musiek is armer.
Vaarwel, my vriend.
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Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium, Parow Cape Town Western Cape South Africa