Described as “mature beyond his age” and a “… bright and shining star in the firmament of the South African music scene,” by newspaper Beeld, Willem de Beer is quickly becoming one of the foremost South African concert pianists.
Willem de Beer was the winner of various competitions, including the largest classical music competition in South Africa, ATKV’s Muziq (2014); the Wakkerstroom Music Festival Bursary Competition (2015); the Philip H. Moore Competition (2013); UNISA Music Scholarship Competition (2012), where Willem also received the special prizes for the best rendering of a South African and Romantic work; the First Atterbury National Piano Competition (2011), during which Willem also received the prizes for the best rendition of a Classical and South African work; and the Arts Trust National Piano Competition (2009), where the special prizes were awarded for Willem’s rendering of a concert etude as well as concerto. Willem was also a main prize winner and the joint winner of the Piano Category at UNISA’s 120th Anniversary Bursary Concert (2014) and the runner-up at the 5th UNISA National Piano Competition (2015). He was also a finalist in the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival Bursary Competition (2015). During 2016, Willem competed in the 13th UNISA International Piano Competition.
Willem has performed with various orchestras: In 2009, Willem performed with both the Free State Symphony Orchestra (conductor Christopher Dowdeswell [RSA]) and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Arjan Tien [NED]). During 2011, he performed with the UNISA Music Foundation Orchestra under the baton of Jonas Alber (GER), and during 2013, Willem performed with the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor Nicolas Nicolaides [RSA]) and the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra (conductor Prof E. Rycroft [RSA]). Throughout 2014, Willem has performed with the Gauteng Philharmonic (Alexander Fokkens [RSA]) and Pretoria Symphony Orchestra (Gerben Grooten [NED]) as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Lykele Temmingh. During 2015, he again performed with the PSO (Schalk van der Merwe [RSA]) and CPO, working with Daniel Boico [USA].
Willem has attended master classes with various celebrated international artists in South Africa and abroad. These artists include Jerome Lowenthal, Ramsi Yassa, Marian Rybicki, Petronel Malan, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi. During 2014, Willem received his BMus cum laude under the guidance of renowned pedagogue Joseph Stanford. He graduated as one of the best students in the whole of the Humanities Faculty. Willem is also a member of the esteemed Golden Key Honour Society for excellence in academics.
Willem has been featured on several television programs in South Africa and recordings of his playing are often broadcast on radio by stations RSG and ClassicFm. Willem has also performed for various dignitaries, most notably the King of Lesotho. Willem is married to Reneé de Beer.
2016 Olga Kern International Piano Competition Aspiration Foundation Award-Winner.