Stefans Grové was born from a family noted for their musical talents from both the father’s and the mother’s side. (His mother and two uncles on the mother’s side were all practising musicians.) After having received training from his mother and uncle, David Roode, he was tutored by Prof. W.H. Bell at the South African Music College in Cape Town, so that a programme, devoted to his music, could be presented as early as 1946. A recital of his Three Piano Pieces before an international audience in Salzburg (1952) contributed to him being awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 1953, for studies at Harvard University. This event led to him spending 18 years as a USA resident.
On his return to South African, in 1972, he was employed by the University of Pretoria. Grové was versatile in his work, which comprises almost all known music genres. At the time of his death, on 29 May 2014, he had completed the first movement of a concerto for viola and orchestra.
In course of time his musical style, which strongly relates to musical expressionism (with Arnold Schönberg as principal representative) underwent substantial adap- tations – the most recent being a deliberate decision (since 1983), to involve the indigenous musical elements of Southern Africa as a source of inspiration. The composer conjures a theme which he considers rep- resentative of the traits of Africa music and its various ways. Grové’s use of the organ in his three Afrika Hymnus–
compositions represents a unique approach towards the instrument beyond its traditional associ- ation with the church. The timbre possibilities of the instrument are reinforced by the composer’s first-hand knowledge of technical performance and sound com- binations. By choosing the reference of “hymns” he pays homage to the grandeur of the African heritage.
The second Hymnus, for which Grové received the Helgaard Steyn Award, dates back to 1997. The work consists of five movements, with titles which became typical of Grové’s Africa oeuvre: 1. Dancing maidens; 2. Afrika Madonna (after Ernest Mancoba’s sculpture); 3. Vuka! Wake Up! Get moving! 4. Outside my window – the wide, endless night; 5. The Praise Singer. (Grové 2014)