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Sjoerd Alkema (BMus. MMus. UPLM: UCT College of Music) completed his conducting degree (called diploma) at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1982.
He worked as senior lecturer at the Windhoek Conservatoire for seven years where conducted the Windhoek Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra and was freelance repetiteur and choirmaster for the South West Africa (Namibia) Arts Council.
In 1990 he was appointed choirmaster, assistant conductor and repetiteur at PACOFS in Bloemfontein. Some of the memorable productions here include Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Aïda, La traviata, Fidelio; La boheme, Lucia di Lammermoor, Nabucco, Showboat, and he conducted Die Fledermaus, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Camelot, Sound of Music and Evita.
With the Bloemfontein Philharmonic Choir he produced and conducted among others the Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Rutter’s Gloria and Requiem, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Faure’s Requiem.
As HOD of the Free State Musicon (1995 -2008) he furthered his activities as pianist, accompanist, conductor, educator and adjudicator. Apart from teaching, he was manager and conductor of the Free State Youth Symphony Orchestra for 11 years, touring the country annually and presenting various very successful concerts and productions, notably 15 performances of Evita. He was appointed as music examiner for UNISA in 2007.
As accompanist he has worked with well-known artists such as Douglas Masek, Deon van der Walt, Jeanette Harris, André Howard, De Wet van Rooyen, René Rakin, Isabella van Zyl, and various others.
Song cycles in his repertoire include Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Dichterliebe by Schubert and works by Wolff, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Dvorak, Lawrence Fall, and Arnold van Wyk.
Since the family moved to Cape Town in 2008, Sjoerd completed a PhD at UCT on the Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective, works as a freelance conductor, teacher, educator, adjudicator and is a partner at Allmusic, a specialist music shop for all musicians, educators and learners.
All four his children are involved in music activities, two of whom completed BMus degrees at UCT.
Sjoerd founded the Winelands Symphony Orchestra (previously Heydeburg Symphony Orchestra) to fulfill in the need of a permanent symphony orchestra of a professional standard for Cape Town’s northern suburbs and surrounding winelands districts.
He is married to well-known fellow music practioner, Anna-Marie, and they have four children, all of whom excel in the musical field, two having completed BMus degrees at the University of Cape Town.
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First published 12 July 2012 / Updated 13 October 2014