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AuthorCromhout, Johan
SubjectOdeion School of Music
AbstractAlthough I did not know Arnold Bosman (1957-2005) personally, I was compelled to undertake a biographical study of him. The story of his life and the fact that he, as a highly talented South African musician, had to establish himself in a foreign country amongst a strange culture resulted in the writing of this thesis. Bosmanâs exceptional musical talent was evident since his childhood. During his teens he achieved outstanding results. Eisteddfod-certificates, examination results, as well as performances with various orchestras are proof of his dedication from a very young age. His musicianship manifested from this time on in a somewhat idiosyncratical personality. Bosman showed certain likes and dislikes from a relatively young age and was rather outspoken regarding certain topics of current interest. The political situation in South Africa, in particular the âapartheidâ regime was but one topic, which Bosman strongly opposed. These viewpoints obviously caused tension between Bosman and his parents, as his father was a fervent Nationalist and served in the diplomatic service of the South African government. This presumed complex relationship with his parents perhaps also influenced other aspects of his life. According to arguments presented in this study, certain life-changing decisions could have been influenced by this complex relationship. Certain events during his life as a teenager would have had a significant influence in his life, and most probably contributed to some of the most important decisions that guided his life. Bosmanâs complexity had a far-reaching influence on his life. His search of a âplaceâ where he could feel at home, as well as his own âidentityâ were expressed in various poems as early as his high school years. Conspicuously he never really experienced the âhome-comingâ, not even during his adult life â except in his music where he associated himself with âplaceâ and âtimeâ in a significant manner. Initially it was his search for a suitable university where he could further his studies that forced him to make directive decisions. As Bosman expressed the desire to study to become a conductor at a time when there was no university in South Africa offering studies of this nature, he started investigating the possibility of studying abroadwith the assistance from his parents. The decision to undertake his undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town presented him with numerous problems. The possibility of financial assistance from the University of Cape Town to further his studies abroad made it more of a reality. This period in Bosmanâs life also proved to be problematic. After a short period of study in both England and Holland, he eventually decided to go to Italy where he studied at various music schools. Bosman settled in Italy in the early 1980s and for a long period made a living as a freelance musician. During this time many piano recitals and appearances as accompanist for singers and instrumentalists, as well as his work as an assistant-conductor, provided Bosman with a reasonable income. During this time, Bosmanâs yearning to become a full-time conductor became increasingly apparent. His longing for a career as full-time conductor also became evident in some of his letters to his parents. According to documents available for this research, it became clear that he started working regularly as an assistant conductor and sometimes appeared as conductor himself. To establish himself as a conductor in Italy, Bosman was forced to live the disruptive life of a commuter for the majority of his life. In the early 1990s, Bosman was introduced to the specialist ensemble Musica Rara. His appointment as musical director and conductor of this ensemble finally offered Bosman the opportunity to fulfil his dream. His involvement with this ensemble to perform the more rare and unknown compositions of the masters in an authentic manner, gave the main themes of his life, namely that of âplaceâ and âtimeâ, significant meaning. The position he held with Musica Rara gave Bosman an artistic âplaceâ (âroleâ/âidentityâ) where he metaphorically could âbelongâ and where he as musician could flourish. Apart from his complex relationship with his parents, his strained relationship with South Africa lasted until his death. Although Bosman enjoyed significant success in Italy, he regularly investigated the possibility of performing in South Africa â as pianist, but more so as conductor â in a temporary but also in a more permanent capacity. However, he was never offered a permanent position, and there were but a few appearances during the last couple of years of his life. Because of these reasons, I found it necessary to document and to put in perspective, the life and contribution of this important and internationally famed South African artist.
PublisherUniversity of the Free State