Home   Alpabetical list of all authors

Old Conservatoire
Old Conservatoire
designed by Jannasch

Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch


Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch

Church musician and music teacher
Director and founding member of the Conservatorium, 1905 - 1921

Moravian Church, Christiansfeld
Moravian Church,
Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch was born on 15 October 1853 on the Moravian Mission station Mamre in the Western Cape where his father served as a missionary. As was the custom in those days in the Moravian Mission, Friedrich Wilhelm was sent to Germany as a young child where he attended school in the Moravian community of Christiansfeld in what was then North Schleswig (since 1920 South Jutland part of Denmark). He soon showed great talent in music and, especially, organ playing. When he was 15 years old, the then famous Swedish organist Gustav Mankell took him to Stockholm where Jannasch studied for two years at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. After another two years of study in Berlin and Breslau, he accepted a teaching post in the Moravian community of Gnadenfrei in Silesia (1872-1882).
In 1883 he accepted an invitation from Prof. N.J. Hofmeyr of the Stellenbosch Theological Seminary to come to Stellenbosch for the musical education of the young people in this developing educational centre. Here he built up a considerable practice as a music teacher, choirmaster, orchestral conductor and band master. In 1905 he and four other music teachers (two South Africans, Miss Nancy de Villiers and her sister Mrs. Elizabeth von Willich, Mr Hans Endler from Austria and Mr Armin Schniter from Switzerland) joined forces and established the South Africa Conservatorium of Music, the first institution for tertiary music education in South Africa. In May 1906 they moved into their own building in Van Riebeeck Street, designed by Jannasch. As was customary in those days, Jannasch and Endler styled themselves “Professor”. Jannasch was director of the Conservatorium from 1905 until 1921 when he was succeeded by Endler.
Apart from his work as music teacher, Jannasch was also organist and choir master of the Dutch Reformed Moederkerk from 1887 until his death on 19 April 1930. He composed a number of organ compositions and choral works, as well as smaller pieces for voice, piano and other instruments.
As a church musician he published: Onze Kerkmuziek, Stellenbosch [1913]
26 Psalme in Afrikaans, Cape Town 1923; co-author with J.D. du Toit (Totius)
He also published a number of articles in De Unie, Die Volkstem, De Kerkbode, and De Goede Hoop.

Text by Reino Otterman, March 2003

Webmasterwww.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer

     Publisher of special editions Books