Home   Alpabetical list of all authors   Your feedback

Mother Church
Mother Church
Photo by Willem Malherbe
- click for enlargement and information

Philip McLachlan

1916 - 1983

Philip McLachlan with the University Choir
Philip McLachlan with the University Choir
The girl on the right is his daughter, Helen

Author of science textbooks for schools and books on music

"Father of Choir Music in South Africa" - Conductor of the Stellenbosch University Choir and Head of the Department of School Music for 21 years

Philip McLachlan was born on 24 March 1916 in Joubertina, the eldest son of a music loving family. His father was headmaster of the school and his mother music teacher and organist. Philip grew up in this village of the Langkloof, sang in his father's school choir and matriculated there.
He studied Zoology, Chemistry and Music (piano, organ, singing and harmony) at the University of Stellenbosch (BSc 1936, B.Ed. 1938 and MSc. in Zoology 1942 - all cum laude - and received Diplomas for organ and singing).
1936: Founding member and first secretary of the University Choir
1939: First position as teacher in Villiersdorp. Philip founded the school choir, which became known for its high standard.
1942: Teacher at Paul Roos School, and founder of the boys choir.
1945 -1954: Lecturer in Science and School Music at the Teacher's College in Graaff-Reinet. Organist at the Nuwekerk.
1946: Diploma in Composition at UNISA
1947: obtained a Carnegie bursary to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he studied Musical Education and obtained a Diploma. Title of thesis: Voice Culture and Class Singing
1954: Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education, University of Stellenbosch - lecturing in Nature Studies and Class Music
1956 - 1976: Conductor of the University choir.
1957: Member of the F.A.K. - Music Comission.
1962: Three months in USA on a "Leader Exchange"
1965: Under Philip McLachlan's supervision the Department of School Music was created - the first such department at a South African University.
In 1973 and in 1976 the University choir was invited to take part in choir festivals at Coimbra, Portugal and Montreux, Switzerland and toured Europe with much acclaim.
1974: Professor of School Music at the University of Stellenbosch, where he remained until his retirement in November 1980.

Philip McLachlan was married to Helen Radloff, in 1944. They had three daughters and one son. Philip died on 22 February 1983 in Stellenbosch.

Philip and Helen

Click to enlarge


1947: Carnegy bursary to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London
1966: Cape Tercentenary Award
1972: Medal for Musical Achievements: SA Academy for Arts and Science
The South African Choir Association introduced yearly workshops and, in honour of the great choir master, named them The Philip McLachlan Choir Workshops.


Nuwe Algemene Wetenskap vir standerts 6, 7 en 8 (co-author), 1965
Algemene Wetenskap vir standerts 2, 3, 4 en 5 (co-author), 1965
Sing en Speel - Musiek vir die Klaskamer, 1968
Notepret - Handleiding vir die lees van musieknotasies, 5 volumes
(practical textbooks for school music), HAUM, 1971
Sangfees - Translation of 25 children's songs, 1971
Klasonderrig in Musiek - 'n handleiding vir onderwysers, Nasou Beperk, 1975
Koorsang en koorleiding, Nasou Beperk, 1983
Slechte mensen zingen niet - Herinneringe van 'n koorleier, Tafelberg, 1983

Philip McLachlan was a co-compiler of the FAK-sangbundel.

"In die ou dae het ons gebrek aan kore oënskynlik die stelling dat ons Afrikaners nie 'n singende volk is nie, onderskryf. Vandag is dit hoegenaamd nie die geval nie soos blyk uit die koorkompetisies wat gereeld gebeeldsaai word. Dit was juis Philip McLachlan wat die blywende tradisie van koorsang in ons land gevestig het. Philip McLachlan word allerweë as die vader van koormusiek in Suid- Afrika beskou."
Frits Stegmann, 1983

Webmasterwww.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer

     Publisher of special editions Books