Kristel Birkholtz studied a music degree at WITS University. For her academic performance at WITS was awarded a Scholarship for music as well as a prize for the best string player as well. In her final year, Kristel majored in music performance. During her studies, she performed regularly at the Lunch Hour concerts, the Wits orchestra concerts and for the Wits Baroque Ensemble. After completing her degree, she continued performing with various ensembles and a Celtic rock band.
On the theatre stage, she also performed a solo violin role for many Barnyard Theatre show productions including “Beethoven Rocks Again”, “ Natural Woman”, “Rock Me Amadeus” and “Harvest Moon “. Kristel Birkholtz has since performed in various settings such as concerts, corporate functions and product launches. She has been invited to perform abroad with her original music project titled Cherry Pill.
Kristel Birkholtz also explored performances on-screen. Her highlight was performing in the Subaru car advert. She has made guest appearances for local soapies as a violinist on e-TV’s Backstage (2005) and numerous times on Egoli (2006/7/9) and Binnerlanders (2015).
As a researcher in the field of Musicology, Kristel Birkholtz completed her Masters in Music Degree (MMUS) at the University of the Witwatersrand in 2010. She presented papers on her thesis topic at the SASRIM conference (2007/8) and Moshito Conference (2009).
As a recording artist, Kristel Birkholtz was nominated for a SAMA award in 2010 for the release of her classical video recording of a Grahamstown recital titled “The Sea in Spring”. The video release was combined with a CD recording the same year. Other CD releases include Burning Bridges (2008), an album consisting of solo violin complimented with piano and acoustic guitar accompaniment with renditions of well-known jazz and movie tunes. Her gypsy-jazz tinged album with acoustic-guitarist Rory Gaddin titled ‘Si Tu Savais’ is playlisted on Classic FM and Fine Music Radio.
As a composer/singer-songwriter, she completed a full-length album of original her songs which was released in December 2014 by her band Cherry Pill. The band has been invited to perform at Midem Festival in Cannes and South By South West Festival in Austin. Cherry Pill was featured in a Ford Commercial titled Ford Bands in Transit with her song ‘Silent Movie.
Discography To Date: Burning Bridges (2008) The Sea in Spring (2009) Gloria Volume 1: Christmas Carols for Violin and Guitar (2012) Chocolate Box by Cherry Pill (2014) Si Tu Savais by Cherry Pill (2016). Kristel currently performs regularly at various festivals, corporate functions and private events. She performs in various Speciality Acts acts ranging from aerial performances, Red Carpet Violinist, The Bubble setting and the show collaboration with a beat-boxer titled ‘Beauty and the Beat’.