Music Staff


Director of Music: Diederick Basson (Music Theory and Church Organ)
Diederick Basson studied with Danie Smit, Wim Viljoen, Boudewijn Scholten and Pieter de Lange at the DF Malan High School in Bellville and the Universities of Pretoria, Stellenbosch and South Africa. He obtained his BMus, BMus Honours (cum laude) and MMus degrees and holds licentiates in Performance, Teaching and Church Music (organ) all obtained cum laude. He has also passed UNISA’s Grade 8 Music Theory examination successfully. In 1997 he furthered his studies with the late Ewald Kooiman, then professor of organ at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) in Amsterdam, specialising in the interpretation and performance of French and German Baroque organ music. In May 2016 he received his PhD from the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus).

Previously, Diederick was Head of Music at Stellenberg High School in Durbanville. He regularly performs as a soloist and accompanist, and lectures on a part-time basis at Stellenbosch University. He is the former editor of the journal Vir die Musiekleier, former Chairman of the Stellenbosch Eisteddfod and member of the South African Academy of Science and Arts. In 2013 Diederick co-authored three school textbooks published by Oxford University Press. He also presents the programme Sunday Concert on Fine Music Radio 101.3.

Simon Chapman (Music History, Saxophone and Clarinet, and Senior School Jazz Band)
Simon Chapman obtained a BMus degree (University of Natal) and a Higher Diploma in Education (University of Cape Town). He started teaching music at Plumstead High and was Director of Music at Herschel Girls’ School for 11 years. He came to Somerset College in 2002 as the second Director of Music. Simon is currently a practical music examiner for the IEB.

Patrick Cordery (Trumpet, Senior Choir Choir Master and Chaplain)
Patrick Cordery studied Music at Exeter University and was awarded a choral scholarship to Exeter Cathedral, where he sang the daily services for three years. After graduating, he taught Music in a secondary school in Reading, was a deputy Lay Clerk at Winchester and Southwark Cathedrals, and sang with the Chorus of the Academy of St Martin-in- the-Fields.  After arriving in Cape Town, he co-founded True Voices (an a cappella vocal ensemble) in 2000 and starting teaching music at Somerset College in 2002.



Eileen Putterill (Piano and Class Music)
Eileen Putterill studied violin at Stellenbosch University under Lona Antoniadis and Professor Jack de Wet, and piano under Simone Kirsch. She was awarded a bursary with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and worked for them for a number of years, as well as the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra.  She was also a member of the Cape Town Baroque Ensemble. Eileen has taught at Springfield Convent, Rustenberg Junior School and the Hugo Lamprechts Music School, before moving to the UK, where she taught privately and at St Peters. She was also a member of the Sussex Symphony Orchestra. She started at Somerset College in 2008 in a part-time capacity, and full time since 2013, teaching class music and individual piano lessons.

Laurika Steenkamp (Class Music and Prep School String Ensemble)
Laurika Steenkamp graduated in 1992 with a BMusHons degree (Music Education) from the University of Stellenbosch under Prof Jack de Wet.

She was the Youth Development and Education Manager for the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, building their programme to a standard of excellence and managing their youth orchestras. She was head of the Music Department at Rondebosch Boys Preparatory School, where the province acknowledged her abilities by presenting her with an award for Excellence in Primary School teaching. She was the CEO of Music@Work Recording Studio (and launched a record label for young artists). Music@Work was nominated for a BASA award for Cool Classic Kidz (a programme on Fine Music Radio 101.3) and Laurika was a finalist in CEO magazine’s “Most Influential Women in Government and Business” for arts and culture. In 2014, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (Western Cape) acknowledged her work with its Contribution to Performing Arts: Music in the Western Cape award. She also worked with the Correctional Services Military Band as chief musician (saxophone) and trainer (theory, musical form, accompanist and preparation for examinations) as well as Physical Training Instructor (first female) at the Correctional Services Training College in Kroonstad. Laurika received her First Dan Black Belt (JKA) and was nominated as Sports person of the year in 1998 in Kroonstad.

She is married to saxophonist and sound engineer Henk Steenkamp and they have a son


Jeané Combe (Prep and Senior School: Drum Kit and Marimba)
Jeané Combe matriculated from Parel Vallei High School, achieving 98% for Subject Music, majoring in both Piano and Drums as first instruments. She also passed the Grade 8 ABRSM piano examination. Since 2008 she has been teaching drums at Somerset Montessori and Oak Tree Montessori schools and since 2012 at Somerset College. She has extensive experience as a drum facilitator for the Western Cape Education Department and as corporate team builder, working closely with companies such as Tri Active Events in Grabouw, FNB, Capitec, Woolworths and Pep Stores.

Jeané’s performing career has featured her in many shows: Rodrigues’s Sugarman 2009 S.A. Tour, Guitar Legends, Tribute to the Shadows, and the musicals Footloose, Slick, Fame and Grease.

Lindsay de Kock (Senior School: Flute and Recorder)
Lindsay is a music teacher of many years’ standing. While she had a young family, she interrupted her full-time music teaching to run a nursery school from home, moving into more formalised Pre-primary and Junior Primary education for many years. Having a passion for athletics and swimming, she coached both, as well as hockey (and rugby) for years.

Lindsay has returned to formal music teaching for more than 15 years and loves the personal relationships that develop with individual teaching. She still has contact with most of the pupils she has taught through the years.

She is an avid reader and an ice water swimmer; in addition, she has run the Comrades ultramarathon and also completed several Argus cycle races.

Kobie du Plessis (Prep and Senior School: Harp and Piano)
Kobie du Plessis majored in harp at the University of Pretoria and was awarded scholarships for outstanding performance. She continued her studies with Ventura Rosenthal and Kathleen Alister and took master classes in Europe with international harp virtuosi including Edward Witsenburg, Susanna Mildonian and Daphne Boden.

Kobie has performed with most of the major symphony orchestras of South Africa, as well as making solo and duo recordings for the SABC, included on her previous CD (En Bateau – music for flute and harp, with flautist Corvin Matei). She also has extensive experience as a soloist and in chamber groups in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Catalonia, Spain. She played in the orchestras that accompanied Luciano Pavarotti (Stellenbosch, SA) and José Carreras (Segovia, Spain), and performed with Dutch harpist Edward Witsenburg, in Barcelona.

Apart from her family, Kobie’s main passions are performing and teaching on her different harps and arranging folk music from around the world for harp. She also enjoys reading, creative writing and nature.

Melissa-Jane Grace (Prep and Senior School: Recorder, Clarinet and Saxophone)
Melissa-Jane Grace completed her Masters in Musicology from the University of Stellenbosch in 2012. In 2008 she was awarded an Honours degree in Chamber Music from the same institution, after graduating cum laude with a BMus in clarinet performance under the tutelage of Maria du Toit. Melissa-Jane enjoys an active and varied career in both performance and education. In her capacity as ad hoc clarinet player and bass clarinettist with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Melissa-Jane toured Mauritius and the USA during 2008 and 2010 respectively. She has featured on the CPO’s two commercial recordings with conductor Orwain Arwel-Hughes and has also performed in their numerous theatre productions and musicals, most recently in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard at the Artscape Theatre. Melissa-Jane is also passionate about contemporary music compositions and has performed with the University of Stellenbosch’s KOMPOS productions since 2012. She is also a member of the Cape Town Goema Orchestra and the newly formed Darling Chamber Orchestra. Melissa-Jane held the post of clarinet and saxophone teacher at the Hugo Lambrecht’s Music Centre from 2008 to 2011. From 2012, she taught at various schools around the Southern suburbs. Her students have enjoyed much success with two matric pupils finishing in the top 10 in the Western Cape in 2010 and 2014. Melissa-Jane has worked in several outreach programmes, most recently in Hout Bay.

Nick Kuiper (Prep and Senior School: Guitar and Bass Guitar)
Nick Kuiper has been teaching guitar and bass guitar for 14 years and at Somerset College since 2007. He has Grade 8 qualifications in both Classical Guitar (Trinity College) and Electric Guitar (Rockschool). Nick is also an active performer and session musician for many local bands and is also an experienced live sound engineer.

Koos le Grange (Prep and Senior School: Piano)
Koos le Grange matriculated from Hottentots Holland High School and graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BMus degree (Performers). He obtained his Teacher’s licentiate in Piano from UNISA in 1990. He was Head of Music at Calvinia High School from 1983-1984, and Head of Music at Franschhoek High School from 1985-1996. In 1997 he started a framing business, but returned to teaching music when he joined Somerset College in 2004.

Sarah le Roux (Prep and Senior School: Brass instruments and Piano; Prep School Jazz Band)
Sarah le Roux (née Calver) is the Principal Trombone player of the South African Army Band, Western Cape. She graduated from UCT with a Performance Diploma in 2008, and in the same year acquired her ATCL, which she passed with distinction. After qualifying as a military musician by successfully graduating from her basic military training, she went on to work on her LTCL, which she successfully obtained in 2013. Sarah has had an ear for music since an early age – at age 3, she would be listening to theme tunes of movies and playing them in her own medley on the piano.

Whilst studying at UCT, Sarah taught at numerous institutions, namely Bishops Diocesan College, Sans Souci Girls’ High, and Frank Pietersen Music Centre, where she had the opportunity to conduct the wind ensemble and the junior and senior brass ensembles. Sarah has also played numerous times with the Stellenbosch University Orchestra and ensembles, as well as UCT’s Orchestra and Wind Ensembles. She has attended numerous International Chamber Music Festivals held in Stellenbosch. Sarah has also had the opportunity to have lessons under Weston Sprott, the sub-principal trombonist of the New Metropolitan Orchestra, and successfully organised a masterclass in 2012 with Jorgen van Rijen, the principal trombonist and well-known trombone soloist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Christelle Leuvennink (Prep School: Singing and Choir Master)
Christelle Leuvennink matriculated from Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof in 2009 and graduated with a B.Ed degree from Stellenbosch University. During this time she completed her UNISA singing examinations under Vanessa Tait-Jones and sang in the Stellenbosch University Choir under André van der Merwe. She has been employed at Laerskool Eikestad since graduating. In 2016 she achieved her Modern Dance teaching certificate from the Association of International Dance Teachers. Besides teaching song and dance, she is also a photographer and graphic designer.

Steph Nortjé (Senior School: Drum Kit and Djembe; Drumline)
Steph Nortjé has been playing drums for the past 20 years. He has more than 15 years’ teaching experience and his passion for music education has landed him teaching positions at some of the country’s top private schools as drum teacher. These include Somerset College, Bridge House School (Franschhoek) and St Mary’s School (Johannesburg). He obtained his BMus (Hons) at first class level through the University of Chichester (UK), facilitated by COPA Johannesburg, with his thesis rooted in music education. He received the Victor Ludorum award for academic achievement after completing his studies in 2013. In 2014 Steph accepted the post as Drum kit and general music subject lecturer at COPA Johannesburg where he taught at graduate level. Furthermore, Steph specialises in drum kit recording and live performances, and has recorded and toured South Africa with many recognised artists.

Steph currently plays for some of the country’s top blues/rock outfits: Raoul & Black Friday and Dan Patlansky. 2015 saw him accompany Dan Patlansky on three international tours to the UK, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Pieter Rooi (Senior School: Piano)
Pieter is a concert artist whose performances continue to receive great acclaim. He studied piano performance at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, as well as at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music in London, where he also obtained a Teacher’s Licentiate in piano. He is a past winner of the Lionel Bowman Beethoven Competition and the Laura Searle Concerto Competition. Mr Rooi is in popular demand as a chamber musician and accompanist. He has been on the music staff at Somerset College since 2009.

Pieter-Adriaan Stofberg (Prep and Senior School: Cello;  Senior School String Ensemble)
Pieter-Adriaan graduated with a BMus performance degree at the University of Cape Town under Marian Lewin in 2013. In 2012 and 2013 he received the Stephanie Grannet Memorial prize from the South African College of Music (UCT). In June of 2014 he passed the Licentiate of the Trinity College London (LTCL) and finished his Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. In March 2017 he received his MMus in teaching methodology at Stellenbosch University under Dr Anzél Gerber.

Mariëtte Schumann (Prep and Senior School: Flute and Violin)
Mariëtte was born in Cape Town and matriculated from Bloemhof Girls’ High School in Stellenbosch. She continued her violin and flute studies at Stellenbosch University with Eric Rycroft and Eva Tamassy where she received her Licentiate in Music Performance for both instruments. Working at what is now known as Artscape, she was a member of the CAPAB Orchestra for eleven years, including the amalgamated Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, where she had further lessons with Thomas Moore and Jurgen Schwietering. From 1990 till 1992 she was an English teacher at the Berlitz Language School in Vienna, Austria. She started teaching at Eikestad Primary in 2008 and is now the organiser of the Eikestad Orchestra, teaching violin, viola and flute. She enjoys chamber music, plays as an ad hoc member in orchestras, and has two sons aged 14 and 16.

Helga van der Merwe (Prep School: Violin)
Helga began with piano and violin lessons at the age of 9 and 10 respectively, but violin soon became a firm favourite. While still at school, she appeared twice on the UNISA Roll of Honour for Outstanding Achievement in Violin. From an early age, she played in ensemble groups and joined the USSO (University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra) at the age of 13.

She studied under Professor Jack de Wet and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Music at the University of Stellenbosch, majoring in Orchestral Studies and Chamber Music. During her time as a student, she was an ad hoc member of the National Chamber Orchestra. Helga was the principal violinist of Asylum Letters String Quintet and later joined the Afro-Jazz Band TRACE, gaining experience in the freedom and creativeness that the jazz medium has to offer. She also regularly plays at weddings and corporate functions.

A keen violin, ensemble and string orchestra teacher, Helga started her teaching career at Herschel Girls’ School in Cape Town, where she taught from 2000 to 2007. Between 2004 and 2007 she also taught part-time at both Eikestad Primary and the Kayamandi Trust Centre in Stellenbosch, as well as privately. Since 2008 she has been teaching at the Johnman School of Music in Stellenbosch. She joined Somerset College in 2016.

Alida van der Walt (Senior School: Singing)
Alida van der Walt was born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia. She received musical tuition in piano, electronic keyboard and music theory from a young age. After completing the Trinity College Grade 8 (Electronic Keyboard) and UNISA Grade 7 (Piano) and Grade 5 (Music Theory) in her Grade 11 year (2012), she decided to study music, with piano as main instrument. University requirements at the time stipulated that candidates had to have a first and second instrument in order to study for the BMus programme, and despite never having sung before, Alida immediately took up classical voice lessons with Windhoek-based South African soprano Gretel Coetzee. At a master class with well-known South African mezzo-soprano Minette du Toit-Pearce in June 2013, Du Toit-Pearce noted that she has a rare voice type and recommended that she considers taking up voice as first instrument. After having matriculated from Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool in 2013, Alida started her music studies at Stellenbosch University in 2014, with voice as first instrument under Minette du Toit-Pearce and piano as second instrument under Bennie van Eeden. Alida will graduate with BMus​ at the end of 2018 (specialisation: Performance).

Being a so-called “late bloomer” has led Alida to have a special interest in and unique understanding of the training of young voices. Her pedagogical approach is based on the establishment of healthy vocal habits in singers of all ages and levels. Furthermore, she has a special interest in remedial singing as therapy for vocal faults and injuries. Alida has a great passion for teaching, but also believes that the greatest musicians are a perfectly balanced synthesis of a teacher, performer and academic. She therefore performs regularly as classical vocal soloist and ensemble singer, and plans on taking up part-time postgraduate studies in 2019.

Zelna van Zyl (Prep School: Piano and Recorder; Recorder Ensemble)
Zelna joined the Somerset College Preparatory team in 2004. With over 25 years of experience as a music teacher, she has developed a great passion for musical education and child development as she teaches piano, recorder and theory to students on a one-on- one level. Zelna holds an Advanced Diploma in Intermediate Phase Teaching and obtained her Teacher’s Licentiate in Music (Recorder) through UNISA in 1988. She enjoys performing and still participates in eisteddfods to challenge herself personally. She loves children and her teaching style is revered by teachers and parents alike.

Gerda von Mollendorff (Senior School: Keyboard)
Gerda was born in the Eastern Cape and matriculated from Framesby High School in Port Elizabeth. She received piano lessons from Angelina Scholtz while at school. She studied piano under David Muller and organ under Pieter van der Westhuizen at Stellenbosch University and obtained a BMus Ed and HLMP.

Previously, she taught piano, keyboard and singing at Worcester High School, Hottentots Holland High School and Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof. During her tenure at Bloemhof, she conducted the choir and they won the National ATKV Applous competition, as well as an international competition in Katwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. Since 1992 she has taught piano, keyboard, singing, music theory and arts and culture at Parel Vallei High School. She has also directed various musicals and productions, including Footloose, Salute Broadway, Dudes and Divas, Back to the Eighties and Beatles. Gerda has been married for 36 years and she has two married children and one grandchild.