Who is Kristel?
Kristel is an electric contemporary violinist, classical violinist and singer-songwriter from South Africa. She is also a composer and recording artist and researcher. She records for Cherry Pill Music and is affiliated to SAMRO (South African Music Rights Organisation) and RISA (Recording Industry of South Africa).
Kristel is an accomplished musician, having undergone extensive formal training from age 6, which culminated in a BMUS degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, where she majored in performance. During her student years she received numerous awards and prizes. Besides being a highly experienced violinist, she is also proficient in piano, flute and singing. As a performer , Kristel regularly performs as a soloist in a variety of contexts. From classical recitals through to jazz and contemporary works. She does frequent session work for various recording studios and has had the opportunity to perform overseas in Dubai, Botswana and Zambia.
Kristel also performs on screen and on the theatre stage. A screen highlight was performing in the Subaru car advert in 2007. She has made guest appearances for local soapies as a violinist on e-TV’s Backstage (2005) and numerous times on Egoli (2006/7/9). On stage work in musical theatre include playing the lead violin role in various Barnyard Theatre productions including: Beethoven Rocks Again (2003/4), Harvest Moon (2006), Rock Me Amadeus (2006/2008) and Natural Women (2007). Current performances include playing for the curtain raiser to the Lions vs. Lions Rugby Match at Ellis Park (2009) and the National Arts Festival in Grahmstown (2009).
She is a versatile performer that is proficient playing in different musical genres, from classical to jazz, Celtic to rock and dance to local local African styles. Her instruments include acoustic violin, electric violin and a custom-made tin-can electric violin crafted by AfriCan in Cape Town.
Kristel is currently completing her Masters in Music Degree (MMUS) at the University of the Witwatersrand and also finds time to compose her own music. She has released a 3 album, My Revolution (2007), an original set of songs and instrumentals, Burning Bridges (2008), an album consisting of solo violin complimented with piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment with renditions of well known jazz and movie tunes and The Sea in Spring (2009) a classical album which showcases her technical abilities. Her live recording of the ‘Sea in Spring material was nominated for a SAMA Award (South African Music Award) in 2010. Kristel plans to release a new album in 2010 of her original material.
*Other online references of music videos can be found at:
- Subaru AD
- Radio France Interview September 2008
- Performing for Afrikaans singer ‘Herman’ in his song ‘ Honderd Keer’.
- Performing in the string trio for Nicholis Louw in the song ‘To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before
- Performing the ‘Laser Violin’at a Sasol Science function.
- CDBaby.com artist search-Kristel Birkholtz
The exciting news this in March was being nominated at the South African Music Awards nominees event for my live DVD recording in the category of ‘Best instrumental DVD’.So off to the SAMAs in April. The DVD was recorded in Grahamstown by Paul Mills . I had not even met him before I got to the National Arts Festival in July of 2009 . I had booked Paul on a recommendation but had no time to brief him as he was so busy recording many other productions at the festival. I had no idea what to expect of his work and to his credit he produced a top quality recording without a briefing. Thanks Paul! Also huge thanks goes to Gordon Hiles who did a superb job on the post production editing, days and many cups of coffee later did we have a finished product to submit to the SAMA committee.
Another great opportunity was to play for the launch of the new Jaguar X-Type. The venue was the stunning Monaghan’s Farm in Lanseria.
Lots of traveling too this month . A trip to Sishen to play at the Kalahari Country Club for a Golfing event had Rike Coetzer (saxophone) and I on a road trip. We were greeted on this red-earthed spot by the friendliest people you can find in South Africa. Much ‘gees’ in Sishen and the most spectacular trees.
I played at my first ‘Open Street Sessions’ slot for Sandton Central this month. The aim of the initiative is to get art and performances in to the public space. The ‘Open Street Sessions’ place performers in different locations in and around Sandton central to improve the experience of the district. It is a thrilling performing experience as it is very improvised. The public are not expecting to encounter performances during their day to day work routine so the platform creates space for special interactions to occur. I was asked by a hard-hat- wearing construction worker to perform an opera piece , so I played the ‘Habanera’ from Carmen for him , on the curb of a busy street while he waited for his pap and wors to be cooked by a street vendor.