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About the Founding Director

Avril Kinsey completed guitar and piano studies at the University of Cape Town in 1978. She was awarded a scholarship to further her classical guitar studies in Spain at the Universitario Internacional de Música Española with Josè Tomas (former student of Andrès Segovia), where she obtained a Performer’s Diploma in 1979. She completed guitar master classes with Alice Artzt, Ernesto Bitetti (Spain), Carlos Bonell (Royal College of Music), Narciso Yepes, and later in the USA with Christopher Parkening.

Avril was awarded the Jules Kramer Fine Arts and Music Scholarship, the KW Johnstone Research Bursary as well as the Senior Entrance Merit Scholarship by the University of Cape Town for her MMus research entitled ‘Music for the Classical Guitar by South African Composers’. The degree was awarded with distinction in 2009.

Earlier in her performing career she made her orchestral debut with the National Symphony Orchestra performing Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez under the baton of Garcia Asensio. In 1990 she formed and conducted South Africa’s first 21-one piece guitar orchestra. Performing with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in 1996, she accompanied Luciano Pavarotti during the Cape Town visit of his world tour. Avril’s performing career has taken her to Singapore, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, England, Scotland, North America and Greece, which led to live radio and television broadcasts for SABC and the BBC. She has given international master classes, been on competition juries and lectured internationally, including performing and lecturing at the Royal Academy of Music, London in 2010.

As a composer she has written over 25 works for, and including, the classical guitar. She has been commissioned by The Creative Arts Foundation and the South African Music Rights Organisation. Most of her compositions have been published by Art Music Editions and many recorded on the Art Music label. Several have been featured in SABC television documentaries as well as on radio and television programs for Radio Austria and KPFK and Classical Guitar Alive in the USA. She is the author of two music books ‘Guitar Music from Africa’ and ‘Guitar on Safari’ and the performer on 5 CDs. She has written articles for magazines and journals including Classical Guitar UK. In 2007she was awarded the prestigious Astris Award for having ‘excelled in her field of expertise over many years’

Avril Kinsey is the first person in South Africa to commission a classical guitar composition from a Black South African composer. Mokale Koapeng completed the commission in 2010

The first Avril Kinsey Classical Guitar Competition in Cape Town was launched in 1998, and in 2000 she founded the Cape Town Academy of Music where she is currently Director and lecturer.

Director CTAM, Chairperson FCTAM