ATKV-Muziq is a classical music competition for young adult musicians and is the ATKV’s (Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging) annual contribution to classical music in South Africa. Cherilee Adams (23) and Dylan Tabisher (23) are known as the US Percussion Duo. They are both master’s degree students and won the 2012 ATKV-Muziq competition. They spoke to Naomi Meyer about the award and their future as classical musicians.
Hi Dylan and Cherilee, congratulations on winning the ATKV-Musiq competition. Let’s start at the very beginning. Please tell any of our readers who are not familiar with the instruments of the orchestra what exactly percussion instruments are? And also: Which of those do you play?
There are more than 500 different percussion instruments. Classical percussion consists of four main categories: multiple percussion (a combination of percussion instruments in one piece); snare drum; mallet instruments (marimba; xylophone; vibraphone; glockenspiel etc); timpani. We are both general percussionists and therefore play all of these instruments.
Why did you choose to play percussion instruments in the first place?
Cherilee: During my primary school career at Kenridge Primary school I was a member of their orff orchestra. I used to love performing with them and my teacher, Mrs Hartshorne, suggested that I do a percussion audition at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre. My audition was successful and I started my percussion tuition with Miss Suzette Brits. My passion for percussion has just grown ever since!
Dylan: I started playing the drum kit at the age of 11. When I entered high school my music teacher also suggested that I start percussion at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre. This is where my love for percussion developed under the tuition of Miss Suzette Brits.
You won the competition as a duo. Do you always play together – and how do you guys get along – always a bed of roses ...?
We are an established duo and have been performing together for six years. Our nickname, “the twins”, speaks for itself. We are good friends and know each other extremely well. This helps for ensemble playing.
Do you have any percussion or other instrumental heroes?
Keiko Abe is a very big inspiration for us. Her marimba compositions are drenched with passion and her love for the marimba. Abe’s deep perspectives on life also motivate us. The other inspiring figure in our lives is our lecturer, Miss Brits. Her passion and insight in music and life inspire us always to do our best. And above all, God who gave us our talent.
Do you both study music – and what do you plan to do after your studies?
Yes, we are both currently master’s degree students at Stellenbosch University. We would both like to perform as soloists, orchestral musicians, as well as the duet. We don’t have any fixed plans as yet, but our hope is to perform as often as possible.
You’ve won this competition: not only did you win money, but this is a prestigious award. Somebody like Ben Schoeman won this award in the past. How do you think winning this competition could impact on your future careers?
Winning this competition gave us a lot of exposure as a duet. This will hopefully open some doors for our future performance careers.