On Tuesday Dreyer, 74, was the star attraction as the orchestra played for a packed audience at Artscape Theatre Centre’s lunch hour concert, which featured mostly young musicians playing solo pieces.
Dreyer, who lives in Retreat, was raised in Diep River but his parents were forced out of the area by the spectre of the Group Areas Act in the early 1960s.
“We weren’t forcibly removed but my father decided to leave Diep River before our family were forced out,” said Dreyer.
His whole family were musical, and his father was a pianist.
“I was 90% self-taught. My first teacher was an organist (in the church) and couldn’t help me,” says Dreyer.
Eventually he found a kindred soul in Ivy Parker, a concert pianist, who took him under her wing.
“She took me to David Tidwell, who was a conductor at the Cape Town Orchestra,” said Dreyer.
He auditioned with the Piano Concerto No 23 in A, K488, by Mozart, but due to apartheid, he was dismissed.
On Tuesday, he played the same piece of music for a crowd of admirers.
In the intervening years since his disappointment, he had become a schoolteacher, and on Tuesday many of his former pupils were on hand to congratulate him on his achievement.