Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

Top-class Classical Music

©Eric Miller
Guest conductor Alexander Fokkens conducts the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra at a performance at Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town.
©Eric Miller

South Africa’s premier orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, plays top-class classical music in and around the country, as well as abroad. The rich history of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, spans over many decades. Founded as the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra in 1914 by the Cape Town City Council, the orchestra quickly built a reputation in South Africa, as it performed in the various provinces.

The orchestra also started touring internationally soon after their inception, performing in many countries including Taiwan, the UK, and the United States. The orchestra, has had many name changes since its commencement and is now known as the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, and perform at various traditional Western Cape venues year-round, such as Artscape Opera, Kirstenbosch Gardens and Oude Libertas Amphitheatre.

The orchestra usually accompanies the Cape Town Opera and Cape Town City Ballet performances and collaborates with a range of local musicians for concerts. The orchestra runs various outreach programs that include the Cape Town Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and Cape Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensemble, who are mentored by members of the professional orchestra.

Another outreach program is Masidlale, a project that provides musical training, theory and performances, to disadvantaged children in underprivileged communities. The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra works with various guest conductors, for example; Owain Arwel Hughes, Martin Panteleev, German-born conductor Bernhard Gueller and Alexander Fokkens.

By Carla Lottering