The Nelson Mandela University String Ensemble (NMUSE) is a place where violinists, violists, cellists and double bass players experience the magic of making music as a collective. Founded in 2018 by violin lecturer David Bester and consisting of a dynamic group of student, amateur and professional string players in Gqeberha, NMUSE explores the diversity of string music through regular performances and collaborations. The ensemble serves as a platform for sharing string-related knowledge and empowers members to strive for excellence in string playing.

String Ensemble Director

Award-winning violinist David Bester is active as a soloist, chamber musician and recording artist. He has performed with the Cape Town-, KwaZulu Natal-, Gauteng Philharmonic- and Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestras (ECPO) and regularly plays as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Namur and the Amici Quartet. As the Concertmaster and Artistic Director of the ECPO, David helps develop and showcase music by local composers. David is passionate about discovering new music and exploring the creative ground where styles and genres intersect.

After obtaining his BMus (cum laude) and MMus (cum laude) in music performance from Stellenbosch University under Suzanne Martens, David furthered his studies in Belgium. Here, he obtained a second MMus (cum laude) from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp under the tutelage of Alissa Margulis.

Currently the head of strings at Nelson Mandela University, David was awarded the Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Arts Creative Output Award in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Through the NMUSE group, and regular workshops presented for string teachers, David has invigorated string teaching and playing in the Eastern Cape while creating opportunities for young string players to work closely alongside professional musicians. As a scholar, David’s PhD research focuses on embodiment and how string teachers enact embodied knowledge when they teach.

NMUSE Rehearsal times

Thursdays 17:00 – 20:00 at the South Campus Auditorium.


Please contact David Bester ( to book a slot or arrange an alternative audition time. Auditions are open to violin, viola, cello and double bass players of (at least) grade 5 standard.