South African College of Music

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South African College of Music (SACM) was founded by a group of musicians led by Madame Apolline Niay-Darroll, opened in 1910 in Strand Street, Cape Town, with six students. In 1912 Mr William Henry Bell was appointed Principal and, in 1914, the SACM moved to larger premises in Stal Plein (at the former Stal Plein Hotel).

Bell was later succeeded by Erik Chisholm.

The SACM was incorporated into the University of Cape Town in 1923 and Professor Bell became Dean of the Faculty of Music. In 1999 the Faculty of Music was absorbed into the Faculty of Humanities.

SACM offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree and diploma programmes specialising in African and World Music, Jazz Studies, Composition, Classical Music, Opera, Music Technology and Musicology.


From 1929, the South African College of Music regularly presented operas, doing so under its own banner and, from 1951, as the University of Cape Town Opera Company.

Productions included:

1929: Il barbiere di Siviglia

1933: Il matrimonio segreto

1934: Hatsuyuki

1935: The Wandering Scholar, The Pillow of Kantan


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 Unpublished PhD thesis.

“South African College of Music”. University of Cape Town.

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