In its present form the Symphony Choir [SCCT] has existed since 1993, when it was established as an independent body. Before that, it was attached to the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and performed choral works when required. This began when Benito Moni asked Dr Barry Smith in 1972 to hold auditions for a choir which could perform regularly with the CTSO. The Choir’s debut early in 1973 was a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony conducted by Louis Frémaux.
Under Barry Smith, who was organist at St Georges Cathedral, the Choir went from strength to strength as an adjunct to the orchestra performing five major choral works every year under the baton of distinguished international guest conductors, including Reinhold Schwartz, Walter Susskind, Enrique Garcia Asensio and Erich Bergel. In 1996, the Choir performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra which was visiting Cape Town, and in 1997 it participated in the opening gala concert of the new Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997 it combined forces with the Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town and the Bach Choir of London in a monumental performance of Verdi’s Requiem under Sir David Willcocks. More recent collaborative concerts have been Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” with the Comart Choir and Verdi’s Requiem with the Philharmonia Choir in 2010, under the baton of Victor Yampolksy.
From 1996 we had a long association with Richard Cock’s Songs of Praise, performed annually in the City Hall especially with sponsorship from SABC, but which sadly fell away. We continue to be part of the popular annual “Last Night of the Proms” with Richard Cock.
The Choir has always sought to support choirs from less privileged communities, which on occasion sing with us, and to promote young up and coming soloists and provide them with a platform to perform in large choral works.
The choir has put on two very successful performances of Carmina Burana in the last couple of years, the first, conducted by Alexander Fokkens, being to a capacity audience at the Baxter Theatre and the second, conducted by Richard Cock, held at the beautiful Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch.
Other recent performances of the choir have included Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, Dvorak’s Mass in D Major and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony under the baton of Bernhard Gueller. Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem has been a favourite work of the Choir and it has performed it on numerous occasions, the most recent being a very successful collaboration with the City of Tygerberg Choir in October 2013.
For a comprehensive listing of the choir’s repertoire, follow the “concerts – past concerts” link.
In May 2005 the Choir was fortunate to obtain the services of Alexander Fokkens as music director, and subsequently those of his wife Margaret Foxcroft as accompanist. Under his guidance and single-minded striving for musical quality, the Choir has consolidated and regained its reputation as one of the leading choirs in Cape Town. Alexander’s biography is available on this website.
Alexander’s involvement with the University of Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and Wind Band have made it possible for the choir to perform with these orchestras on many occasion. We are extremely privileged to be able to work with such talented young musicians.
The number of singers in the Choir currently stands at just under 70 which is more than double the number that it stood at when Alexander took over.
The Constitution of the Choir provides under the heading :
MAIN OBJECT OF THE SYMPHONY CHOIR OF CAPE TOWN:
The SCCT is intended to comprise an amateur choral body open to and representative of the broad Cape community. As such the SCCT rejects discrimination based on race, creed, gender, sexuality, physical disability or marital status. The main objects for which the SCCT is established are:
To initiate, participate in or be associated with any activities aimed at the positive and purposeful advancement of choral music through participation in and/or organisation of public concerts at which choral music will be performed.