Dr Erik Dippenaar

Organ and Harpsichord

In 2003 Erik Dippenaar obtained the degree BMus (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University, and was awarded a MMus (with distinction) by the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London in 2007, studying under Margaret Phillips (organ) and Robert Woolley (harpsichord). The following year he completed an Artist Diploma in Performance at the RCM under Jane Chapman (harpsichord) and Geoffrey Govier (fortepiano).  

As a student in South Africa, Erik won most of the important music competitions, including the ABSA National Youth Music Competition (2000), UNISA National Organ Competition (2001), Mabel Quick Bursary Competition (2001), ATKV Musiq Competition (2002), the organ category of Distell Music Competition (2002) and the Unisa Overseas Bursary competition (2003).

From 2005 to 2011 Erik was based in London, where he played in various important early music festivals such as the Greenwich Early Music Festival, the London Handel Festival, the Brighton Early Music Festival and the Trigonale Festival der Alten Musik. His primary activity was chamber music and he has performed regularly with Florilegium, The London Handel Players, l’Avventura London, Amaranthos and Spirituoso. He also worked with the English Touring Opera, the Little Baroque Company and Ensemble Serse on a regular basis.

While in Londen, Erik gave regular solo recitals, which included a recital for the British Harpsichord Society, as well as regular broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. In 2010, with Florilegium, he made his debut in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Erik was one of the official accompanists for the annual London Handel Singing Competition, and in March 2008 he was awarded the competition’s Accompanist’s Prize. He won the RCM Early Music Competition twice, and was a member of the group Musici Infaticabili, who won the Broadwood Early Keyboard Ensemble Competition in Fenton House in May 2008. During 2008/2009 Erik was appointed as Mills/Williams Junior Fellow at the RCM, and he taught harpsichord at the Centre for Young Musicians in London.

Erik is currently Artistic Director of the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra (www.ctbaroque.co.za), Artistic Director of the annual Cape Town Baroque Festival, and a part-time lecturer in Western music history and historical performance practice at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Erik’s conducting highlights include the first South African period performance of Handel’s Messiah in 2013 (a reconstruction of the 1742 Dublin performance), as well as Cape Town Opera’s first production to use a period instrument orchestra: Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo in 2016.

Erik has recently been awarded a PhD in music by UCT, with a dissertation focussing on the role historical domestic keyboard instruments played in the colonisation process in Southern Africa.