Between the ages of six and nine, I took lessons in piano, violin, and music theory, replacing violin with double bass at age 9, and continuing with these instruments through school and my undergraduate years. Singing, especially in choirs was always part of my life, reaching a climax during my membership with the world-renowned Drakensberg Boys’ Choir and the South African Youth Choir.
Being confident that music is the one field (for me) that I would passionately practice for the rest of my life, I enrolled for a BMus degree at the University of Cape Town. While attending the university, I studied composition, orchestration, and advanced theory with South Africa’s most performed, commissioned, and renowned composer, Prof. Hendrik Hofmeyr. Professors Albie van Schalkwyk, and Francois du Toit – highly regarded and respected pianists in South Africa – taught me piano for the four undergraduate years. Prof. van Schalkwyk was and still is, a valuable and indispensable mentor to me! Despite strong political upheaval and student protests at UCT – triggering a campus-wide shut down for six weeks in October/November 2016 – I managed (with the help of my supportive lecturers) to complete my degree with distinction, and distinction in 5 subjects, within the minimum four years, receiving my certificate in July 2017 (would have been Dec 2016 if it was not for the protests).
Many of my childhood dreams in music realized into goals as a professional musician. While I have a great love for my two practical instruments, piano, and double bass, I aspire to become a composer of art and film music, as well as an ad-hoc orchestral conductor. I believe that if the highly successful film composers John Williams, and Hans Zimmer can write scores for films, conduct the orchestras recording the music, and write art music for the love of it, so can I.
At undergraduate level, I chose my specialization courses per the career goals mentioned above. My primary courses included Composition, Advanced Music Theory, Orchestration, Piano, Double Bass, and Conducting (orchestral and choral). For these classes, I consistently received a percentage above 75, considered by South African universities as an A, first class, or Cum Laude (please refer to my transcripts and Curriculum Vitae). In Fall, 2015, I studied a semester abroad at the University of California at Los Angeles taking courses in Composition, Conducting, Songwriting, and Advanced Counterpoint. I received A-letter grades for all subjects with a GPA of 4.0.
I would like to further broaden my knowledge and skills as a musician through completing the M.M. in Composition degree at the University of Louisville. In gaining a more thorough and well-rounded knowledge of the music field (through the many electives available during this course), I am exposed to a great variety of professional spheres where I can share my passion and knowledge for music. Furthermore, an in-depth understanding of the art of music composition will enable me to successfully write music that can be of use to people, whether it be in the realm of art music or film music. I also believe that knowledge gained in the field of composition certainly aids one’s abilities and insights as a conductor, and vice versa. My primary academic interests at UofL would be a continuation of my undergraduate work and would include (amongst others) Composition (of art music), Conducting (orchestral), Advanced theory and Orchestration.
While the University of Louisville offered me a very generous bursary, there are still many expenses that are not covered by their scholarship. As a South African musician coming from a financially unstable family, and having to support me during my studies in the United States, mundane expenses like food, furniture, and cleaning products suddenly become unaffordable. While my bursary covers my studies, health insurance, and rent, there are many other unforeseen expenses associated with postgraduate studies that pose a serious burden on me. These expenses become notoriously encompassing when one considers what is required for me to comfortably excel in my studies. Please refer to my financial summary in the document titled Johannes Visser – an overview and financial summary.
Your financial support to my cause, no matter the size of the contribution, would be a great relief to this financial burden. Sadly US VISA laws prohibit me from doing any forms of work here in the US, thus excluding that as an avenue for financial relief. Nevertheless, I am exploring all possible avenues of raising funds for my studies. In the document, Johannes – and overview, I give a more comprehensive analysis of the different solutions that I am exploring for raising funds. I trust that you will find these documents in good spirit and that my plea will make a positive and lasting impression.
Should you wish to contribute to my campaign, you are welcome to either donate to this site or deposit into one of my personal accounts. The account details are given below:
For US contributions:
Account holder: Mr Johannes H Visser
Account nr: [phone redacted] - checking account
PNC Bank ABA: 083000108
For South African contributions:
Account holder: Mr J H Visser
Account nr: [phone redacted] - cheque
Branch code: 632005
You're welcome to select your own title for the transaction, however, I would be fine with just "donation to US fund". Any further enquiries can gladly be directed to my private email address: [email redacted]
Here is an extract from my biography. If you'd like to look at some more information about me and my cause, please email me. The list of documents I have to offer is below.
" Recent winner of the Jan Royce Foundation Prize for best Symphonic Composition, Johannes Visser just received his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition and Piano Cum Laude, with distinctions in five subjects. He also placed top three for two years running in the Cone of Composition Competition for Chamber works of unique orchestration. Apart from his composition emphasis, Johannes also regularly performs as pianist, double bassist, and conductor.
Amongst his Composition awards, Johannes has also competed in various instrumental competitions. He played the final round of the Robert Andrews Piano Competition, the Lionel Bowman Beethoven Competition, and the semi-final round at the Grahamstown National Music Competition. He regularly performs as piano accompanist or soloist at concerts and piano symposiums. Johannes is also in high demand as an orchestral double bass player. He recently performed as a soloist in D. Dragonetti’s Andante and Rondo for solo double bass and orchestra with the Camerata Tinta Barocca Orchestra of Cape Town."
Thank you in advance!
(PS: I was under the impression that one can upload documents to this page as supplementary information, but it seems like it is not possible. Thus, should you wish to have a look at the below-listed documents, please send me an email and I will forward them to you:
- Plea for financial assistance cover letter
- Curriculum Vitae
- Personal overview and detailed analysis of expenses
- Statement of purpose for financial assistance
- Admission and fellowship letter from UofL
- Recommendation letters
- University transcripts
- A link to some of my music