South African cellist Heleen Du Plessis is appointed Williams Evans Executant Lecturer in Cello at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Heleen appears internationally as a soloist – both in recitals and with orchestras, and is part of TriOtago (the newly formed Piano Trio with professor Terence Dennis, piano and Tessa Petersen, violin) and principal cellist of the Southern Sinfonia in Dunedin, NZ. Before being appointed at the University of Otago, she was a lecturer at the University of Pretoria for 15 years as well as a member of one of the most prominent South African chamber music groups – the Musaion Trio.
Heleen’s post graduate studies were completed at the Conservatory of Geneva in Switzerland with Daniel Grosgurin and the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, with Amit Peled. Other mentors include Janos Starker, Mtislav Rostropovich, Heidi Litchauer, Antonio Ménéses, Carter Brey, Richard Aaron and Burton Kaplan.
Highlights of recent appearances include the Brahms Double Concerto with Tessa Petersen (violin) and Simone Over (conductor), with the Southern Sinfonia Orchestra in NZ, the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Cape Philharmonic under Martin Pateleev, a double concerto for violin and cello by New Zealand composer Anthony Ritchie, with violinist Tessa Petersen and the Hawkes Bay Symphony Orchestra, a concert tour with the Musaion trio in South Africa, with Zanta Hofmeyr (violin) and Malcolm Nay (piano), recitals in the Marama Hall, Dunedin, the Arts Festival of Otago, trio concerts with the newly formed TriOtago. Other solo performances include concertos with the Prince William Symphony Orchestra and the Nova Manassas Symphony Orchestra in Virginia, USA.
The Otago Daily Times commented that “Du Plessis possesses a relaxed, unpretentious delivery with an engaging stage presence, compelling her audience to become immersed in her music-making, …the pathways of constant instrumental dialogue were concise and intuitive.”