- Mary Rörich and George Kok pass away

- Mary Rörich and George Kok pass away

Two well-known personalities in South Africa’s classical music world sadly passed away recently.

Professor Mary Rörich (photo) passed away in the early hours of Saturday 27 February after a lengthy battle with cancer. Professor Rörich was a member of the Wits Music department for many years and past Head of Music. A formidable presence and personality in the South African music world, Mary was an accomplished pianist, a public critic and radio presenter (at most recently ClassicFM 102.7, which she co-founded), and a dynamic teacher with an unrivalled knowledge of the musical worlds she inhabited.

Mary was a mentor and friend to many. A memorial service will be held on Friday 5 March at 2.30pm at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Braamfontein.

On Saturday 20 February, leading South African opera singer and director George Kok died at the age of 66. Kok was very closely associated with South African opera companies run by former provincial arts council in the Transvaal (now Gauteng) and the Western Cape, as well as operas staged by the Pro Musica theatre organisation in Johannesburg.

He started his career as opera singer in 1968 and resigned as artistic director of the State Theatre Opera Company in 1996. During his career he performed around 150 roles in operas, operettas and musical and performed opposite many leading South African opera singers such as Marita Napier, Nellie du Toit, Gert Potgieter, Virginia Davids, Evelyn Dalberg and Gé Korsten.

He particularly excelled in 20th century works and received high praise for singing the roles of Bob Boles and Peter Grimes in Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, the role of Steva in Janacek’s opera Jenufa and the role of Ashenbach in Death in Venice, also a Britten opera.

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