Letter of recommendation from
Prof Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph
Honorary Research Professor, Composer - academic.
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg: Wits School of Arts
Music Division: ***@*** ***@***
Pvt. Bag 3, Wits 2050, South Africa: Tel + tel: *** - cell: tel: ***
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
1 March 2020
I have known Rexleigh B. for many years and have been familiar with her work in my capacity as professor of composition and theory. I have experienced this very competent musician as composer, pianist, conductor and teacher. When she became a doctoral student of mine I became closely acquainted with her creative side and her vast musical talent.
Rexleigh’s versatility across many areas of music is quite unique. She is at home as composer, arranger, pianist, violinist and teacher, having lectured (at times for me) in composition techniques, orchestration, score analysis, aural training, piano and violin.
I have seldom come across someone with as sharp a musical ear as Rexleigh – she is a real musician in the deepest sense of the word. It is very rare indeed to find a musician who embodies so many areas of specialisation and is so accomplished in all of them. She is very fine pianist who performs as a soloist but more frequently as an accompanist.
Rexleigh’s first love is in the field of creative work, as it is a vehicle to express her imagination and to optimise her technical and musical prowess. She has produced successful ensemble results with beginner violinists and school choirs, conducting tertiary student avant-garde compositions with professional musicians, and as a musical director/conductor of full scale stage musicals, such as Crazy For You, at the State Theatre.
Rexleigh’s area of expertise lies in both the composition field as well as in her written research and she enjoys creating her own libretti in an interdisciplinary manner; her imagination extends into the staging, décor and theatrical realms of theatrical production. In her original work one finds a broad range of aesthetics and musical styles, which reflect her penchant for eclectic and intercultural modalities within the South African environment. She is equally at home in the Western art music realm as she is with light music and more popular songs. She welcomes diverse elements and influences in her work.
To this candidate’s credit, she wrote the entire script and lyrics for her large-scale Stage Musical, The Rainbow’s Child as well as all the stage directions and of course the music. She scored this work for various large ensemble and vocal combinations as an educational journey for her pupils at the National Arts School. Her large-scale work, Requiem for the Living has been a valuable addition to the repertoire of South African contemporary music.
Several years ago we called on Rexleigh to step in to our new Foundation courses at Wits Music Dept in group keyboard teaching and well as group vocal training in a brand new “zero entry level”
course. This was something of an experiment but in Rexleigh’s capable and skilled hands the course
was a resounding success. Her course structure, knowledge of teaching methodologies and brilliance
as an educator resulted in a group of ‘beginners’ and previously disadvantaged students becoming
well equipped in just a year to join the mainstream undergraduate BMus degree class.
I have seen Rexleigh in action with all levels of students – she has taught a 4th year www.*** class for
me at Wits in analysis and orchestration which proved to be very stimulating and valuable as well as
the 3rd year conducting course. She is optimistic and strongly communicative, while respecting the
efforts of fledgling creators, and encourages her students at all levels to excel and enjoy their
creative activities. Her natural leadership capacity manifests in her ability to inspire and support,
guiding and challenging where needed, in order for her students to reach their full potentials.
It was a pleasure to supervise Rexleigh during her doctoral studies as she is creative and innovative
and produced work of a high standard. She was awarded her DMus in April 2010 with an extremely
good portfolio of Compositions as well as a body of research related to her ongoing interest in
semiotics and symbology. University of Pretoria added Academic Honorary Colours to the list of her
On 27 August 2016 I attended the Gala performance of her work Requiem for the Living at the
Linder Auditorium. This was a superb production on all levels, and the cleverly constructed and
powerful music reinforced the dramatic and literary content. A triumph for Rexleigh as a complex
multidisciplinary stage presentation, for which she was also the Artistic Director and Producer.
In recent years Rexleigh has exercised her improvisational capacities, working with an international
cellist called Francois Ha!Man. Their unprepared, live, and musically free, energising improvisations
can be experienced on Youtube, for example : www.***
Recently her composition HOOHA, A Mini-Suite for Clarinet in B flat and piano, won its category
at the International Clarinet Festival and Competition at the University of the Free State. The
Belgian adjudicator has introduced this work to IMF, a French publisher. Her opera, Lost in a
Bluebell Wood is due to receive its premiere in 2021 at the Free State Arts Festival. In addition,
Rexleigh steers several entrepreneurial and humanitarian initiatives including ecological fantasy
games and an online art competition derived from The Rainbow’s Child, via her Public Benefit
Organisation, RFTL, which has taken its name from her composition, Requiem for the Living.
I can without hesitation recommend Rexleigh B. to you as a Director of Music, Head of Music
and/or Head of Performing Arts.
Professor Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph
Prof Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph
Honorary Research Professor: Composer - lecturer,
Wits School of Arts: Music Division
Cell: tel: *** – tel: ***