Hilton Schilder is a son of the Cape whose sensibilities are steeped in the traditions of Ghoema and Kaapse Klopse. Well poised to preserve that which has made him, he as a composer and multi-instrumentalist has carried the sound of his forebearers throughout his long-spanning and eventful career.
In 2010, Hilton Schilder won a battle against cancer but lost a kidney in the process. While in hospital, he heard what would become his signature long-form piano composition “Rebirth” during a lucid dream. Waking up bedridden and without access to an instrument, he memorised what he could recall of the piece by moving his fingers over an imaginary keyboard on the ceiling. “Rebirth” is a spiritual masterwork by a seasoned musician at the height of his powers.
“when you’re diagnosed with something like cancer, you go ‘oh my God the big C’. I got the news in 2010, and because of my positive attitude and my music, especially the instrument I was playing at the time which is the mouth bow I made it through the rough first few months” – Hilton Schilder
“I’m totally into music as a composer. It’s my whole life. It’s my philosophy. It’s my religion. I started composing very young and the compositions have grown until now. Actually, it’s all just one long composition.” – Hilton Schilder
Brenda Sisane spoke to Hilton Schilder on The Art Of Sunday.