School of Arts

Kathryn Olsen

Kathryn Olsen

Academic Advisor, Lecturer, Postgraduate Programme (Music) Coordinator


Contact Number031-260-1348

CampusHoward College Campus

Office AddressFrancis Stock Building, 2nd Floor, Room 007

Degrees Held

  • 2009: Doctor of Philosophy (Music) University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • 2001: Master of Arts (cum laude) University of Natal
  • 1998: Bachelor of Arts Honours (cum laude) University of Natal
  • 1997: Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) University of South Africa
  • 1992: Teacher’s Diploma Trinity College of Music (London) (LTCL)
  • 1988: Teacher’s Diploma Trinity College of Music (London) (ATCL)

Research Interests

  • Maskanda music
  • Music, cosmology/religion and the marketplace
  • Music, identity, politics and power

Teaching Interests

  • Musicology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Popular Music Studies
  • Music Research


Teaching Expertise

  • Developing critical thinking through the study of a range of different musics – from hip hop to Rachmaninoff
  • Exposing students to varied research methodologies, particularly ethnography and constructivist grounded theory

Student Supervision

  • I have supervised a variety of Honours, Masters and PhD projects. The topics of these projects include Electronic Dance music, Life Stories of members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Analysis of radio playlists and the local/ global debate in popular music, Music and Disability, An Harmonic Perspective of Rhythm, the Analysis of South African Jazz characteristics, Popular music and Christian ideology. I have also co-supervised Performance Masters in Jazz, and Opera and Composition