Prof Francis Petersen

Rector and Vice-Chancellor, University of the Free State

Dr Debasish Mridha’s words, “music can heal the wounds that medicine cannot touch”, have never been so true as at this moment in our lives. Therefore, it is only fitting that we present music concerts as some of our first face-to-face events after almost two years of social distancing.

I look forward to the day that we can fill our theatres on campus without reservation. As a global society, we have a lot of healing to do, and it is such a privilege that the University of the Free State (UFS) can participate in this process by showcasing quality productions.

We are also thrilled to host you in our recently revamped Odeion Theatre building. Most of the renovations happened while access to our Bloemfontein Campus was restricted, so very few people, for instance, had the opportunity to appreciate the new foyer with its reception area. The sound studio has also undergone an overhaul, and we look forward to the way it will enhance our teaching and learning in the Odeion School of Music.

The Odeion School of Music is a prized jewel in our crown. Since my arrival at the UFS, one of my goals has been to enable our staff, students, and the Bloemfontein community to experience the immense musical talent we have to offer. The UFS will continue to create platforms for our music talent to impact audiences. We care about art, and we care about you.

Welcome to our second Vrystaat Classical Sounds. May you find more than just enjoyment – may you be moved by the experience.