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18 September 2018 Photo Hanno Otto
Consecutive international win for OSM Camerata
The OSM Camerata is once again a winner, sharing the first prize in the Ictus International Music Competition with the Oklahoma State University.

If Einstein’s string theory had a musical undertone, one would think it is because of the sweet melodies of the Odeion School of Music Cameratas’ (OSMC) violins and cellos. It should therefore come as no surprise that OSMC won the 2018 International Ictus Music Competition, again. The ensemble has been paving the way to numerous successes since its inception in 2012.

This year, however, the OSMC is sharing the first prize with the Oklahoma State University Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr Thomas Dickey. The OSMC’s competition recital for 2018 was conducted by principle conductor, Xavier Cloete. Acclaimed violist Elsabé Raath, joined the OSMC artistic team in 2017 as string clinician.

OSMC the jewel in crown

The OSMC is based at the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State UFS) and was strategically founded as the OSM’s flagship ensemble with the main objective, creating a catalyst for excellence. “From a pedagogical perspective, it serves as a feasible incubator to nurture fully-rounded musicians who are thoroughly prepared for the demands of their trade as orchestral musicians, soloists and conductors,” said Marius Coetzee founder of the OSMC.

“Ms Raath also made her debut as conductor during the 2018 Ictus Music Competition where she conducted O Sacrum Convivium by Olivier Messiaen,” said Coetzee, founder of the OSMC. Elsabé was also conductor during the 2018 Ictus Music competition.

The OSMC’s concert programme for Ictus 2018 also consisted of works by Jacobus Gallus/Lance Phillip, Béla Bartók, Peteris Vasks/Keith Moss, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach.

Ictus an ideal platform


The Ictus International Music Competition is an online music competition for wind bands, orchestras and solo trumpet. It has been described by David Bilger of the Philadelphia Orchestra as “democratising music competitions”. Ictus was founded to make international music competitions more accessible though eliminating prohibitive travel costs, conference fees and visa issues. This was made possible through having the application and adjudication take place online only. 

You can listen to OMSC Ictus submissions here:

Duo Seraphim Jabobus Gallus/Lance Phillip
Romanian Folk Dances/ Román népi táncok Béla Bartók
Kekatu Dziesma (Carnival Song) Peteris Vasks/Keith Moss

News Archive

Lithium-ion batteries research set to improve ordinary lives
2016-02-11

Description: Dr Lehlohonolo Koao  Tags: Dr Lehlohonolo Koao

Dr Koao is making a much-needed contribution in improving lives of ordinary people through his research on lithium-ion batteries.

The future of relevant and top-notch scientific research at the Qwaqwa Campus is in good hands. Dr Lehlohonolo Koao is one of the five members of the Vice-Chancellor’s Prestige Scholars Programme (PSP) on the Qwaqwa Campus.

The need to improve the efficiency of heating mechanisms in his immediate community in Qwaqwa, and the support he receives from the PSP, have become catalysts for his current research project on lithium-ion batteries. According to Dr Koao, the study will focus on producing batteries that last longer, store more energy, are cheaper to manufacture, and are environmentally friendly when being disposed of. These are key factors in solar energy.

‘’The majority of households in my neighbourhood have benefited from the government’s project of providing households with solar panels to help with lighting, cooking, and heating without worrying about the ever-increasing electricity costs,’’ said Dr Koao.

‘’Since my arrival in the area, I have realized that the heat absorption rate of the batteries used by solar panels is not enough. As a result, these batteries also lack enough power to sustain the supply throughout the day, especially on a cloudy day,’’ he said.

His research project focuses on improving the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries that are now commonly used in portable electronics, such as cell phones and laptops. This kind of battery is rapidly replacing the usual lead-acid batteries. Dr Koao’s determination to contribute towards a safer and more efficient heating absorption system has made him move away completely from his PhD study on lighting material.

‘’My previous study was on reducing the power usage on domestic and industrial lights as they use more electricity. This study, on the other hand, will enhance power retention in the batteries for improved daily life since cell phones, solar panels, and laptops, to mention only a few, are now a way of life,’’ he added.

Dr Koao is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics, where he specializes in solid state materials.

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