OSM Camerata

Conductors Xavier Cloete & Gerhard De Jager

1st Place University/Conservatory Orchestra

Odeion School of Music 

University of the Free State

Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa 

OSM Logo.jpg

The OSM CAMERATA (OSMC) was strategically founded in 2012 as the Odeion School of Music’s flagship chamber ensemble with the main objective of creating a catalyst for excellence.

From a pedagogical perspective, the OSMC serves as a feasible incubator to nurture fully rounded musicians who are thoroughly prepared for the demands of their trade as orchestral musicians, soloists and conductors.

Artistically, the ensemble cultivates the talents of exceptionally gifted students pursuing the highest artistic standards possible. Parallel to competencies related to advanced musicianship, ensemble skills, encapsulated in a comprehensive mentorship, serious thought is also given to the demands and roles of the professional orchestral player (for example, concert master, assistant concert master and principle player), as well as professional protocol with regard to rehearsal procedures.

Opportunities are also given to young, dynamic, professional conductors both locally and internationally. In context of the long-term OSM strategy, the idea is to found an extended orchestral conducting chair. It is envisaged that both the OSMC and visiting conductors will be instrumental in facilitating the conducting modules and expose students to state-of-the-art knowledge of conducting techniques, repertoire, and programming within the application of progressive teaching methodologies.

Mentorship is applied by acquiring the services of exceptionally talented young international and/or South African musicians as instructors to prepare the OSMC members preceding a concert and/or project in the longer term. The application of junior experts is validated by transversal benefits generated through the transferral of knowledge through the teaching mode of peer-to-peer instruction. Different modus operandi are considered concerning the actual contact intervals between students and mentors from start to finish during the creative process.

In the context of the OSM Camerata, mentorship has proved to be not only viable to the growth of musicianship per se but simultaneously, addresses a wide variety of additional music-related professional competencies.

Another noteworthy objective is to introduce students and audiences alike to exceptional repertoire not often heard on South African stages. Specialised knowledge about diverse performance practices should be addressed by the choice of repertoire and the application thereof. The performance and commissioning of music by South African composers is considered to be a priority. From 2013 and 2014 four new works were specifically commissioned for the OSM Camerata, in which the composer’s tailor-made works to suit the strengths, as well as the specific sound pallet of the ensemble.

The realisation of excellence (with reference to the recent past), has been solidified by the setting and executing of an ambitious set of goals:

• Early in 2013 the OSMC was selected and invited to participate at the 13th International Conservatoire Festival presented in St Petersburg (Russia). The festival is presented on an annual basis by the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory. In November 2013 the ensemble received a standing ovation under the baton of Maestro Jan Moritz Onken after their gala performance in the Glazunov Hall at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory. During this event the ensemble premiered three new South African works by eminent South African composers specially commissioned for the ensemble;

• In April 2013 the OSMC served as the orchestra for the world première of the Cello Concerto for an African Cellist by South African composer, Hans Huyssen, with SA cellist, Heleen du Plessis as soloist. The CD was released in December 2013 on the New Zealand Classical Music label, ODE RECORDS in Auckland New Zealand and was one of five CDs nominated for the Listeners' Choice Award (New York) in March 2014;

• The OSM Camerata performed the complete work “Sewe Liedere op Boesmanverse” (“Seven Songs on Bushmen Verses”; Chamber Orchestra and Soprano) by Stefans Grové in August during the North West School of Music/OSM ‘New Music Week 2014’. Grové rearranged the original work (string quartet & soprano) as a commission by the OSMC and completed the comprehensive composition shortly before his death on 29 May 2014. The work was again performed in September 2014 during the annual OSM Dean’s Concert;

• A new work by Alfred Vorster (OSM Alumnus), “Documentations, Movements and Patterns” for chamber ensemble and electronic sampler received its world premiere at the 2014 New Music Week presented by the North-West School of Music in Potchefstroom, in collaboration with the OSM.

• In 2015 the OSMC performed an Organ Concerto by George Frederic Handel as well as new work by young composer with Liesbeth Schlumberger as soloist for the gala concert during the inauguration of the OSM Liesbeth Schlumberger-Kurpershoek Organ Chair as well as a work by entitled Mille Regretz by the young Argentinian composer Diego Soifer.

• The OSMC was invited to perform at the main gala concert of the bi-annual 2015 National New Music Indaba presented by New Music South Africa.

The OSMC was selected for the world première of the Concerto per Flauto Dolce, Clavicembalo e Orchestra (2016) composed by esteemed South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr (*1957) which was premiered in March 2016 .The concerto was commissioned for Temmingh and Dippenaar by the SAMRO Foundation (2015).


The following conductors have been employed since the inception of the OSMC:

2014 Principle Conductor, Xavier Cloete
2013 Principle Conductor & Artistic Director, Jan Moritz Onken
2013 Guest Conductor, Hans Huyssen
2012 Guest Conductor, Nicholas Nicolaides

Gerhard De Jager completed a BMus Hons degree in Orchestral Conducting at SA College of Music at UCT. Shortly after the completion of his studies he was accepted in the celebrated conducting class of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, under the auspices of maestro Leif Segerstam. The orchestral conducting programme at the Sibelius Academy founded by the legendary Jorma Panula http://www.publiscan.fi/cu01e-8.htm gained international reputation due the vast amount of internationally respected conductors ( Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sakari Oramo,Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Mikko Franck , Susanna Mälkki to name but a few) produced by the Academy. In 2007 De Jager participated in the prestigious International Sibelius Orchestral Conducting competition where he reached the final round as runner up. He received conducting masterclasses with Gerard Korsten, Christopher Dowdeswell and Alan Stehpenson. In the USA he received tuition from Prof Dan Sommerville during the Guilds Workshop, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Prof Donald Schlaecher at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign as well as Prof Victor Yampolsky at North Western University, Chicago, U.S.A - 2006.

Apart from being an active professional orchestral musician both as double bassist and trumpet player de Jager guest conducted the then Free State Symphonic Wind Band, Free State University Orchestra (Sinfonia) served as assistant conductor of the UCT Symphony Orchestra, UCT String Ensemble and assisted Meastro Kamal Kahn with an opera production of the Magic Flute by WA Mozart.

Gerhard completed a BA Mus degree at the OSM (formerly known as the Department of Music at the University of the Free State) with trumpet and double base as main instruments. Parallel to his music studies he completed a BSc Honours degree with Biology and Parasitology). He is currently nearing the completion of a second MSc degree (Biological Sciences) degree at the University of the Free State.

Xavier Cloete is currently principal conductor of the OSM CAMERATA at the Odeion School of Music bassoon lecturer at the Musicon in Bloemfontein . Cloete completed a BMus degree from the Department of Music at the University of Stellenbosch. Xavier was accepted at the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO) as a cadet following a successful audition and served as an advanced cadet in the KZNPO where the resident conductor Lykele Temmingh, served as his mentor. Cloete was assisting conductor of the KwaZulu Natal Youth Orchestra during this term.

In 2013, he won the 2nd National Len van Zyl Conductor's Competition which is presented in collaboration with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.  He conducted the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra for the final round and won every category which included the judge’s decision as well as all the votes of the principal players of the orchestra. After winning this competition, Xavier was selected as one of the top 200 successful young people in South Africa, and appeared in the national Mail and Guardian newspaper during the month of March 2013.

As the winner of the competition, Xavier completed a conducting internship with the aclaimed Philadelphia Orchestra which gave him the opportunity to work with acclaimed conductors such as Christoph von Donyani, Andre Bureko as well as Yannick Nezet-Seguin (current Music Director of the PO) After successfully completed the conducting internship with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Xavier studied conducting at the Bienen School of Music (Northwestern University) in the Advanced Graduate Conducting Class on Prof. Victor Yampolski.

Xavier was invited to attend the first Sasha Mäkilä International Master Classes in Finland during January 2013 where he conducted the St. Michel's City Orchestra in Mikkeli, Finland.

Xavier appeared as special guest conductor at the 10th anniversary of the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and conducted the opening concert of the Festival as well; as the as the South African Premier of Paul Patterson's Three Little Pigs with Peter Louis van Dijk as the narrator during concert evenings of the course. Xavier regularly conducts KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra for school a concerts which is part orchestra's educational outreach program.

Xavier made his international debut with the St. Michel's City Orchestra in Finland in April 2014 and also has future commitments with KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.



Xavier Cloete

Gehard de Jager

Violin 1

Sehle Mosole (concertmaster)

Margot Viljoen (concertmaster)

Mpho Thito

Seo Young Moon

Diandra Steenekamp

Violin 2

Zoë Adonis

Ezelle Erasmus

Juas Erasmus

Sarahné Visser


Salomè Cilliers;

Lesley-Ann Mhalo


Chris van Zyl

John Minnaar

Ashlin Grobbelaar

Philo Nel

Double Bass

Jonalene Taylor

Flute & piccolo

Geruan Geldenhuys;

Nina Ciliers

Iselle van den Heever


Naledi Dweba

Alyssa Bouwer

Brendaly Buckley


Elize van Zuilenburg


Misumzi Bottoman

Zani Ludick Maritsa Barlow

Marius Coetzee ,  Manager & Artistic  Director OSM  CAMERATA.

Marius Coetzee, Manager & Artistic Director OSM CAMERATA.