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Symphony Choir of Johannesburg

In 1980, Richard Cock reformed the SABC choir into the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, which he still directs. 

The choir normally sings three major choral works each year. In the last few years, it has sung all kinds of music both alone and with other choirs and conductors, though no one is really in any doubt that this is Richard’s choir and will always be so while he is around. Other conductors who have worked with the choir include Sir David Willcocks, Simon Preston, John Rutter, Louis Lane, Victor Yampolsky, Yoshimi Takeda and Jun Markel.

2001 started excitingly with Rachmaninov's atmospheric unaccompanied Vespers and was rounded off by Mendelssohn’s Elijah in November. For 2002, the program included Mozart's Requiem and Beethoven's Mass in C. In August, John Rutter once again travelled to South Africa to lead the Symphony Choir in the African premiere of his compilation of American spirituals, Feel the Spirit. The choir also went on tour to Botswana, to sing Orff’s Carmina Burana in Gaborone. During 2003, the first highlight was Bach’s St John Passion on Good Friday, under the baton of the distinguished English conductor Simon Preston, with a packed auditorium and people even sitting in the aisles. The next highlight was Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis performed in July. On a lighter note, the choir broke new ground by presenting a concert performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, given a South African flavour by narrator Alan Swerdlow. 


Handel’s Messiah has become an annual event and with Richard’s love of choral music, the choir has extended their repertoire to also include African Sanctus by David Fanshawe and accompanied by the Ballet Theatre Afrikan, Gounod’s St Cecelia Mass, Brahm’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Haydn’s Creation, John Rutter’s Feel the Spirit, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Durufle's Requiem, Rutter's Requiem, Magnificat and Gloria and many more choral works. The choir has featured in Songs of Praise, Starlight Classics, Last Night of the Proms and Pavarotti’s Farewell Concert.

The choir does regular tours to Cape Town, has toured Southern Africa extensively, and has toured internationally to Spain. This year, they will collaborate with the Dresden SingAkademie for concerts in Dresden and Leipzig, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

For further information and event information please phone Debbie 082 853 9709.