Refiloe Olifant joined the CPO in the first violin section in 2019. She started violin at the age of 8 at Bochabela Primary School in Mangaung, Bloemfontein, under Isabella Bonnet. In 1999, she became leader of the Bochabela String Orchestra conducted by Peter Guy. She continued her studies with Derek Ochse in Bloemfontein until 2006. Refiloe has participated in several festivals such as the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival, Musica Mundi International Chamber Festival and Stift International Music Festival and been a member of the South African National Youth Orchestra, all with conductors such as Victor Yampolsky, Arjan Tien, Jonas Alber, Daniel Raskin and Evgeny Bushkov. She also toured in Europe as concertmaster of the Miagi Orchestra to mark Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday in 2018.
In 2007, Refiloe was invited by Jan Repko to Chethams School of Music in Manchester for private lessons. She has received master classes and private lessons from a number of eminent musicians such as Daniel Rowland, Evgeny Bushkov, Frank Stadler, and Priya Mitchell. She has given solo performances with the Odeion Symphony Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra, Hugo Lambrecht Concerto Festival, Camerata Tinta Barocca and KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. She was concert master of The Durban City Orchestra and a violin and cello tutor at Reddam House College in Umhlanga. She also teaches violin and viola at the West Coast Music Academy.
Refiloe says that one of her professional highlights was in 2012 when she performed the Bach Concerto for Two Violins with Joshua Bell and the Stellenbosch Camerata.
From 2008 – 2009, she studied violin with Suzanne Martens at Stellenbosch University in the Certificate Programme and the next year joined the Kwa-Zulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. She returned to University of Stellenbosch after her performance with Bell, inspired to take up her studies again in 2013 and, in 2016, graduated Cum Laude in the Diploma in Practical Music. She took lessons with Baroque specialist Antoinette Lohmann in Utrecht and in 2016 participated in the winter course on Historically Informed Performance Practice at UCT. She plays with Tinta Camerata Barocca and as a guest with Baroque 2000 in Durban.
Refiloe is enthusiastic about development and the performance of both classical and jazz in our country and says she is privileged to be part of it. “I wish to share my knowledge and skills with the community where I can teach others the joy and art of making music.”