Cobi van Tonder is a composer from South Africa interested in ways of achieving abstraction in music. Inspired by artists such as Mark Rothko, she experiments with the reduction of phenomena in order to expose human sensuality. This has led her to work with drone, microtonal music, nature field recordings, mathematical patterns as musical material and spatial audio-physical elements of sound.
The experience of sound and/or vibration in and as space with attention to artificial (or real) acoustics is a prominent part of the material and overall texture. Within this abstract approach echoes a personal political resistance to notions of fabricated realities such as nationality or ownership: similar to not accepting the 12 semi-tones of the equal temperament Western scale, the artist chooses to create unique micro-tonal patterns.
She completed a PhD in Music Composition at the Digital Arts & Humanities Program of Trinity College, Dublin, an MFA Art Practice degree at Stanford, USA; and a BHons in Music in History and Society (Musicology) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Van Tonder has also produced commercially for cinema, television, radio, and mobile media before commencing academic studies.
Her work has been performed and showed in New York, London, San Jose, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Seoul, Stuttgart, Berlin, Ogaki, Toronto, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Dublin and Antarctica.