Musical mentor Valerie van Biljon passes on
Valerie was a well known piano lecturer at the former Windhoek Music Conservatoire and later College of the Arts (COTA) since the early 70’s.
She was a much loved piano teacher and also acting headmaster of the College for several years until her official retirement.
Even after formally retiring in 2008 she continued to share her passion for the piano through private lessons at her home studio. She mentored Namibians young and old alike, delivering world-class pianists from the dusty roads of Namibia to the international stage.
Valerie studied music in Bloemfontein, South Africa before moving with her husband, the well-known Namibian choir conductor and voice coach, Ernst van Biljon, to Namibian in 1971 and made Namibia their home for life.
The husband and wife duo established the Cantare Audire Choir in the late 1970’s. A choir that defied the then apartheid-rule and carried the message of unity, hope and reconciliation through song – the musical couple was much loved by all in the music fraternity!
Valerie, affectionately known by her “choir children” as Liebling, was not only the official pianist of the National Choirs, but also a mother and mentor to the Namibian National Youth Choir and Young Singers of Namibia.
Through their love and passion for music they together shaped the future of Namibian classical, piano and choral music as “founding parents” to what it is today.
“We have lost a mother of note, a mentor irreplaceable and a friend like no other, her grand piano now is silent and her space is void. Only our happy memories of times shared and the hope of meeting up again one day is left behind,” said a family member.
Valerie van Biljon is survived by her husband, Ernst; daughter, Heini; son, Neal; grandchildren, Fae, Eden and Aeon; her family and the many musical children that she mentored over the years.
A memorial service is taking place on Friday, 17 July 2015 at 11:00AM at the Evangelische Christuskirche in Windhoek. She will be laid to rest at 12:00 at the Gammams Cemetery (Pioneerspark Cemetery) in Windhoek.