Symphony Choir of Cape Town

Symphony Choir of Cape Town

Symphony Choir of Cape Town was founded in 1972 as an adjunct to the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, performing major choral works each year under the baton of well-known guest conductors.

Since 1992 the Choir has been an independent body and has promoted and managed its own concerts.While singing major choral works remains its main objective, the Choir also performs smaller scale works as well. For many years now the SCCT has participated in the “Last Night of the Proms” community concerts organised by Rotary. Choirs from the Greater Cape Town area are invited to collaborate with the SCCT in some concerts as part of a policy to support such choirs.

The SCCT aims to put on an average of 4 concerts per year. It consists of between 40 and 50 members from all walks of life with a common love of choral music and new members are always welcome.
Rehearsals happen on a weekly basis in Rondebosch, Cape Town and perform in a variety of venues such as the Cape Town City Hall, Bishops Chapel, Artscape Theatre Centre and St George’s Catherdral. The choir is directed by Alex Fokkens and run by a committee headed by a chairman and made up of choir members. The SCCT is a non-profit organisation and, as such, works hard to gain sponsorship and funding from corporates and private individuals.

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.

Apart from the annual celebratory appearance with the Rotary Last Night of the Proms, the Choir has performed at a variety of community concerts such as the Caltex/Cape Argus Massed Choirs Festival and Symphonic Carols concerts.

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 last major concerts presented by the Choir have been Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Dominica and Coronation Mass in June 2009, Mendelssohn’s Elijah in October 2008, Haydn’s Creation in June 2008 and Faure’s Requiem in Oct 2007. In the two October performances the Choir was joined by the Comart Choristers, a community organisation based in Elsies River and trained by Professor Virginia Davids.

Other recent performances of the choir have included, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore and Coronation Mass and Haydn’s Harmoniemesse and Stabat Mater. Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem has been a favourite work of the Choir and it has performed it on numerous occasions. Most recently in May 2010, the choir performed the Brahms’ Liebesliederwalze.

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. Alexander Fokkens is also resident conductor of the Cape Youth Orchestra and is concerned to bring music to the townships of Cape Town and further afield. 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.

The number of singers in the Choir currently stands at just over 40.

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.

Published 13 March 2012

Contact Person:
Gwyneth Phillips
Cape Town
Postal Address:
Symphony Choir of Cape Town,
P.O. Box 770,
+27 (0) 83 709 6726.
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