The Nelson Mandela University String Ensemble (NMUSE) is a dynamic group of string players consisting of student-, amateur- and professional musicians in Port Elizabeth. Founded in 2018 by violin lecturer David Bester, NMUSE performs music of all style periods and strives for excellence in string playing across a wide variety of genres. The ensemble is a place where violinists, violists, cellists and double bass players come together to refine their technique, develop listening skills and experience the magic of making music as a group.

String Ensemble Director

David Bester, senior lecturer in violin and viola at Nelson Mandela University, is a performer with a passion for research in string pedagogy. As soloist, he has performed with the Stellenbosch Camerata, the Cape Town-, KwaZulu Natal-, and Gauteng Philharmonic- and Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestras and plays regularly as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Namur and the Amici Quartet. David is the concertmaster for the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, and has been guest concertmaster for the Free State Symphony and the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestras.

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.

David was awarded the Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Arts Creative Output Award in 2018 and 2019.

NMUSE Rehearsal times

Mondays 17:00 – 19:30 in the Music Building, South Campus (most likely Room 117).


Monday, 3 February 2020 in Room 117, Music Building, South Campus.

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.

Concerts (this is all tentative for now):

  • 16 April 2020 (PE Music Society)
  • 21 April 2020 (Pizzicato Pizzazz @ Summerwood Primary)
  • 15 September 2020 (NMUSE concert @ Birdstreet? Art Gallery? Church?)