Stefans Grové was born on 23 July 1922 in Bethlehem (South Africa). His mother worked as a music teacher, his uncle the well-known composer D. J. Roode and so he learned to play the piano, organ and flute from an early age. In 1945 Stefans Grové began to study music at the South African College of Music in Cape Town with William Henry Bell and Erik Chisholm. Later he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship as the first South African ever and so completed his master's degree at the Harvard University under Thurston Dart and Walter Piston. He also attended Aaron Copland's composition class at the Tanglewood Summer School and studied flute at the Longy School of Music.
After his studies Stefans Grové worked as a teacher first at the Bard College and then at the Peabody Institute. He returned permantly to South Africa in 1972 and was appointed lecturer at the University of Pretoria. There he remained until his death on 29 May 2014.
Stefans Grové is one of the most significant and important composers in the history of South Africa. Together with Arnold van Wyk and Hubert du Plessis he is considered as "the fathers of South African art music". He also was the first white composer to include African musical language into his compositions and forming a hybrid of "white Western" and "black South African" styles. Stefans Grové composed msuic for all genres: symphonies, ballets, concertos, operas, chamber music, songs and choral works.
In my possession is the autograph manuscript of the String quartet in C major which was composed in 1945, just at the beginning of Stefans Grové's music studies in Cape Town and it is one of his earliest compositions. In its first sketches it was planned as a wind quartet for flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, but later edited to a string quartet. The work received a first performance in 1945 in Charlie Weich's "Oranjeclub", but was never performed again. The Stellenbosch University owns the original manuscript of the first draft, my manuscript is the fair copy and shows a few little differences to the working score.
The sound snippet below is a computer realisation of the beginning of the work.