Anton Hartman

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Anton Hartman (1918-1982). [1]. Conductor and translator.


Anton Carlisle Hartman was born on 26 October 1918 in Geduld, Springs. He attended the Turffontein Primary School and matriculated from Monument High School in Krugersdorp.

In 1944 he married the singer Jossie Boshoff.


Though he first registered for BSc at Wits, he soon changed to music, qualifying Cum Laude with a BMus degree in 1939. In the same year he completed the UNISA Performer’s Licentiate in piano. In 1944 he completed his BMus Honours with distinction. In 1946 he completed his MMus dissertation titled “Musiek in Suid-Afrika”.

He studied under Felix Prohaska at the State University in Vienna between March 1950 and August 1951.


Harman first joined the SABC music library as a programmer.

He returned to the SABC in Johannesburg as programmer on 15 November 1951.

In 1955 he became chairperson of the music committee of the Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK).

On 1 September 1960 Hartman was appointed Head of Music for the SABC. Hartman personally requested to be appointed as the only conductor of the SABC Orchestra on 1 February 1964, and relinquished his post as Head of Music, though he later returned to the role.

He retired from the SABC in 1977 and was appointed Professor of Music and Head of Department at the University of the Witwatersrand the following year.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

First conductor of the Krugersdorp Municipal Theatrical and Orchestral Society (KMTOS) which had been formed by the incorporation of the West-Rand Symphony Orchestra into the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society (KMDOS).

Co-founder of the Opera Society of South Africa in 1956.

He was a champion of opera performance in Afrikaans and did translations of Donizetti’s Rita, Menotti’s The Medium and Amelia goes to the Ball, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and some of University of Cape Town JS Bach’s Cantatas. With co-translators, Fritz Stegmann and Bosman de Kock, he did Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte, Gounod’s Faust, Puccini’s La bohème and Gianni Schicchi, Die Fledermaus by Strauss Jr, and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel.

Hartman also translated John Joubert's opera, In the Drought, into Afrikaans and it was subsequently performed as In die Droogte and staged by the South African Opera Federation in Johannesburg in 1958.

Operas conducted by Hartman include:

1958 – Asterion for the SABC

1960 – Madama Butterfly for Pretoria Opera Group

1963 - The Marriage of Figaro for PACT Opera.

1967 – Madama Butterfly for PACT


(See Du Toit, 1988) [JH]

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow[2]. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.[3]

Tucker, 1997.

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