Musical Theatre expert obtains PhD in Bulgaria

9 November 2018

One of the Tshwane University of Technology’s most colourful staff members and Musical Theatre guru, Rostislava Pashkevitch, has obtained a PhD: Music (Musicology) from the New Bulgarian University.

Dr Rostislava Pashkevitch, lecturer at the Department of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre), has obtained her PhD from the New Bulgarian University.

The title of her dissertation is An Innovative method of teaching Music in the Musical Theatre Programme of Tshwane University of Technology – RSA. It was supervised by Prof Dr Elisaveta Vulchinova-Chendova.

“The study was conducted primarily to empower students from the Musical Theatre Programme with practical knowledge of music through Musical Theatre repertoire,” says Dr Pashkevitch, who is a lecturer at the Faculty of the Arts’ Department of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre).

For her PhD, Dr Pashkevitch specifically researched new methods to establish clear intonation, interval perception, building performance character through analyses of key signature, time signature, motive development and phrasing. The study also aimed at establishing strong discipline and adaptation towards the genre of Musical Theatre. 

“The findings were stunningly successful, including a 100% intonation improvement and in-depth understanding and implementing of the character through the viewpoints of music,” says Dr Pashkevitch.

The New Bulgarian University is a private university based in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Its campus is in the Western district of the city, known for its proximity to the Vitosha nature park.

Asked for advice she has for fellow staff members and students who are either busy with their doctoral studies or contemplating such studies, she says: “No matter how hard the journey is, always believe in yourself!”

Under her directorship, TUT has staged numerous successful Musical Theatre productions the last couple of years.

This year, she ensured that Musical Theatre students strut their stuff at one the country’s most iconic theatres, The Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg, where they staged SHOWTIME 2018. 

Last year, she brought prophet and pioneer of reggae music in Africa, Carlos Djedje, to TUT‘s shores and to much acclaim performed the one-of-a-kind musical loosely based on Djedje’s life, called King inna de Jungle.

From an early age in Russia it was clear that Dr Pashkevitch would follow a career in music. Born to an artistic family (her mom is a Professor of Ballet and her father a Professor of Choreography), she started playing the piano at 5. She later on studied at the National Academy of Music, Pantcho Vladigerov, in Sofia, Bulgaria.

In July 1999, Dr Pashkevitch came to South Africa in search of better job opportunities. She got a job as a performing artist at the Durban orchestra, but when the orchestra disbanded she had to look for greener pastures, this time in Pretoria. “I remember walking down Du Toit Street one day and enquiring at the Arts Campus whether there were any vacancies. The rest is history, as the saying goes.”

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