Althea Steynberg


THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN NOTES ARE LIKE THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN PEOPLE, a complex net of pathways of where they have been, who they have been in contact with, and where they are going.  Only through understanding emotion, we can start to see the intricacies and understand the nuances.

Through spending time with people, an environment, landscape, culture, my aim is to capture their humanity in melodies, rhythms, and harmonic and form structures.  The most amazing feeling is to hear music come alive through the craft of sharing music with others through performance.  



for female vocal ensemble

Astrak is a work based on poems by Ingrid Jonker – Waatlemoen (watermelon) & NP van Wyk Low – Wrede Landskap (cruel landscape)

Astrak explores the importance of balance.  The sun is a life-sustaining gift that is essential to our survival, but without water – it brings destruction.  70% of Southern Africa’s population depends on the agricultural industry for their livelihood.  With climate change, we are seeing drastic changes in weather patterns, destroying farm land & the hope of millions.

Astrak was composed by Althea Steynberg, performed by Jillian Carelli & Rose Hegele, and mastered by Matt Ho. 


for Flute, Violin, Mbira and two Marimbas

Combining her African heritage with her Western classical training, Althea explores the rich African history of polyrhythms and syncopations through Western melodic and harmonic structures.  Through the merging of not only compositional styles, but also instruments from Western Africa with Western traditions, Rhythm of Africa was premiered at the Gala Concert of the South African Society of Music Teachers, where it received great acclaim.


The Lost Voices of Namibia

Sesriem – The Savanna at Dusk

After a scorching day, a single star rises over the Savanna.  Soon after, thousands follow it on its path across the night sky.  In the patterns of the stars, the stories of old are told; the warrior, the fish, the scorpion.  But the most important, the southern cross hangs in the sky showing the way to tomorrow, guiding our ancestors from generations past.

Swakkopmund – The Skeleton Coast at the Dead of Night

On the horizon, dark clouds swallow up the starry night.  The wind picks up and foam laps at the shore.  Howling around the hulls of the ship wrecks, the wind cries for all the lost voices of the sailors buried deep below.  The lightning blitzes over the sea, illuminating the force of nature for a split second, before darkness descends once again.


for Recorder & Piano

In the gentle light on the first day of spring, a pink peach blossom opens its first petal, braving beauty after a long cold winter.  Through gentle melodies guiding the listener, Morning Ballads invites you to move in courage and see the beauty of the world around them, even after a harsh winter. 


for Concert Orchestra

Elf king & Mountain Troll

In the dream world of Elves and Trolls, heroes are born. Mythological Heroes explores the interaction between vastly different beings through drawing parallels between social interaction and the interaction between melodies. Mythological Heroes was originally written for an interactive game with built-in transitions and overlap.


Love & Let Go

for String Orchestra, Harp & Alto Flute

Love & Let Go explores the wise words of Kahlil Gibrain, “If you love someone, let them go, for if they return the were always yours.  If they don’t, they never were.” Throughout live, it is often the almosts, the what ifs, the maybes, that we remember and ponder.  If you could sing of your love, what would it sound like?

Symphony No.1, Movement 4

for Full Symphonic Orchestra

African Awakening exemplifies the optimism and potential of the continent – creativity, industry and innovation ready to break free.  Combining African rhythms with the Western classical orchestral style, African Awakening seeks to bring the best of both worlds into the concert hall. Symphony No. 1, was premiered in July 2018 with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra with Althea on the podium. 


Fugue in Ab major

 for Small Orchestra

Notes are like people, they have past, present and future relationships, with other notes which effects how they evolve and are perceived. Fugue in Ab major returns to the early baroque style and structure and seeks to gain better understanding how complex voices intertwine. Perhaps if we can start to understand how 4 voices flow together in harmony, we can start to see how the 8 billion’s lives can integrate and flow together towards a more harmonious future.

Calculated Deterioration

for Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello & Piano

Behind a delapidated cabin stands a forgotten old piano, weeds growing in and around it, dandelion seeds dancing in the breeze.

Calculated Deterioration explores the beauty of the disintegration of society through parallels in dodecaphony harmony and our international political state.  The work starts out with the 12 tones organized into deliberate modulations, drawing on the Russian art of modulation to form a somewhat tonal-sounding soundscape. Gradually through time, the structures degrade and give way to actuality, exposing the instruments’ true qualities and embracing conflict of movement between the lines.  Caclulated Deterioration seeks to confront pretension and expose the hurt in everyday life.


The connection between artist and audience brings life and heals emotional wounds. It engages with the audience and makes them feel as if their emotions are understood, as if they are understood, and that they are part of a greater whole of people who experience the world in the same way as they do. Performance for me means that I can bring people together and help them reconnect and express their true self.


Chaminade Concertino – Final Round of YMCA

The Chaminade Concerto is regarded as one of the top classical flute masterpieces that require both technical virtuosity and authentic musicality to master.  This performance features Althea as a soloist with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at the Final Round of the National Youth Music Competition of South Africa as one of the top 6 young classical musicians in South Africa. Later that year she performed at the Rodean Yamaha Competition where she walked away with the first prize. 

Vivaldi, Concerto in C major,  RV444 – Guest Artist at the Jan Ciliers primary school

Vivaldi Concertos form the core of Althea’s recorder expertise. She studied with the top lecturers in the field of Baroque music in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and The Netherlands, including renowned performers such as Eric Bosgraaf, Danielle Caminiti, Marco Postinghel & David Bellugi.  In 2018 she was chosen as one of 12 students to study with Maurice Steger at the Gstaad Baroque Academy and perform in the Hotel Ermitage, Saanen, CH.  This performance was recorded at the Jan Cilliers concert with Mandy Low and the Baroque orchestra where she was invited to perform as a guest. 

Telemann 12 Fantasias No. 11 & 12

Telemann Fantasias are for solo recorder, exposing the performer’s technical abilities and breath control to the scrutiny of the audience. After receiving a masterclass from Stefan Temmingh and Karen van Heerden, a lecturer at the Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz, she competed in the University of South Africa’s bursary competition with this work and won the Du Toit-van Tonder prize for excellence in music performance.

Mercadante Concerto in e minor, Rondo Russo

The Mercadante Concerto in e minor, Rondo Russo, forms part of the diploma repertoire of the University of South Africa.  After masterclasses with Helen Vosloo and Raffaele Trevisani, Althea performed this piece as a soloist with both the Johannesburg and Randburg Symphony Orchestras in the prestigious Linder Auditorium at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

JS Bach, Sonata in E major – Solo Concert at Nelson Mandela Square 

Originally for traverse flute, this work returns to the early baroque ideas and requires the player to consider period-relevant performance techniques. Althea studied traverse flute with Wendy Rolfe, 1st flutist of the Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Althea performed this work at the Nelson Mandela Square Theater as a part of her solo concert in 2016.  Later on, she performed it as part of her final performance program for her ABRSM Diploma.

Popp, Kleines Fluitkonzert – Il Vento Woodwind Competition

Der Kleines Fluitkonzert is a newly discovered work by Wilhelm Popp.  In 2013, Althea was chosen to appear in a masterclass with Lady and Sir James Galway in their tour to the University of Cape Town.  Following the masterclass series, she continued to the Il Vento National Woodwind Competition, South Africa, where she won both the Junior and Senior sections in 2014 and 2016 respectively. 


The combination of technology and musical expression has the potential to disrupt the entertainment industry – to change how we view the role of music in our daily lives. Through technological advances, we can create a new level of involvement with the audience in musical expression. They can now interact, affect and express with the musicians, and become actively involved with the outcome of the performance.



Launched in 2016 by Berklee College of Music in collaboration with MIT, Open Music is a consortium of over 300 leading music, media and technology companies, creators and entrepreneurs.  RAIDAR was built from this collaboration, realizing the ideals of transparency, interoperability & creating sustainable careers for artists.  In 2019, Aletta founded the RAIDAR student team building a system of pedagogy that now ranges across both Berklee campuses.  The RAIDAR student team involves undergraduate and graduate students to lead the marketing, legal, and business development of RAIDAR.  Aletta has succeeded in creating a community where upcoming artists shape the future of the industry.  Each week students meet with leading experts in blockchain, AI and lawyers in the music industry to brainstorm, and collaborate to make the dream of how we would like the industry to look come true.  Aletta has talked at leading industry conferences and events sharing about student inclusivity and the importance of collaborating with the next generation to create a future-proof music industry that they will soon run.   




ArrivalVR is the first nationally co-created storytelling project presenting curated immigration/ migration stories of Americans in virtual reality (VR).  As the VR Coordinator of the Public VR Lab at Brookline Interactive Group, Aletta leads a team curating stories & building Virtual Reality environments. The experience transports the audience, into the room with the storyteller & encourages interaction with the environment.  Aletta’s research on audience attention direction in VR has greatly contributed to the player experience of ArrivalVR. In VR, the most pressing problem is to be able to guide player attention to specific elements in the scene.  RIAS (Reverse Interactive Audio Systems) uses spatialized, natural audio cues to guide the player in through the storyline.  In 2020, her paper Using reverse interactive audio systems (RIAS) to direct attention in virtual reality narrative practices: A case study, was published by Springer, and she was asked to present her demo at the International Conference of Interactive Digital Storytelling, Bournemouth. 


The Dream Machine is a journey through a music-driven adventure game where players interact with Objects, Dreamers, and Dream Makers to solve puzzles and discover the story. 

The game features recorded dialogue combined with interactive programmed and real-time performance elements that enable you to complete your journey and experience the Dream Machine. Dream Machine was created by the Berklee EPD department in collaboration with Nona Hendryx and Chagall van den Berg. On this project, we had teams of students responsible for the different features of the game. Aletta Steynberg was in charge of the audio integrations team. Her team was given the audio assets from the Music, Sound Effects, and Dialogue teams. Aletta built the Wwise project, set up file structures, designed interaction parameters, and set the attenuation settings for each audio source. The other students had no previous game audio experience. Aletta shared her knowledge with the other students through zoom sessions, documents, and tutorial videos to enable students to contribute to the Wwise session by uploading music files, creating files structures, and associating containers with events. A crucial part of the game was to direct the players in real-time via prerecorded phrases such as “Come here” and “follow me” by the live player performers. For these phrases to be useful, audience players needed to be able to identify the direction of the audio sources. Aletta was able to create attenuation mapping that enabled this function able to be successful. Check out The Dream Machine website here for more information:


“Feel the music in your hands”

VRSO is a Virtual Reality Symphony Orchestra that allows players of all technical levels to experience that magic of conducting a full symphonic orchestra from their home.  This eliminates barriers between people listening to music and the people creating it, giving everyone the opportunity for all to interact with music and create unique experiences.  VRSO was developed out of the Reality Virtually Hackathon, MIT – where it walked away with a prize.  VRSO is built by Virtuo Studios, founded by Berklee Grad, Shirly Gurten.  Aletta Steynberg joined the team in 2020 as the Audio Developer and now assists in the everyday run of Virtuo Studios as Co-Founder.  She designed the audio structures within Elias to enable players to individually control more than 40 musical entrances in each level, each responding to the player’s actions.  This is crucial to the gameplay of VRSO providing players with real-time feedback on their conducting skills which ensures player engagement.  VRSO will be released later this year. For more information check out Virtuo Studios’ website: