On Friday, 21 March (Human Rights Day), a special performance of Carl Orff’s very popular Carmina Burana will take place at Kirstenbosch, in aid of the national botanical gardens’ exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. The CPO will be conducted by Alex Fokkens and the soloists are Goitsemang Oniccah Lehobye, Riaan Hunter and Willem Bester.

Find the CPO Website HERE.

View Photos of the event HERE.

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
Also on the programme are Prince Igor’s Polovtsian Dances

Conductor: Alexander Fokkens
Goitsemang Lehobye (soprano)Willem Bester (tenor) Riaan Hunter (baritone)
Choir: The Symphony Choir of Cape Town, City of Tygerburg Choir and Rondebosch Preparatory School
Conductor Alex Fokkens: Musical Director of the Symphony Choir and Director of the Free State Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Alex Fokkens: Musical Director of the Symphony Choir and Director of the Free State Symphony Orchestra

Alexander Fokkens received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Double Bass from the University of Cape Town. As a student there, he conducted, to critical acclaim, both the UCT Symphony Orchestra and UCT Opera studio. He then completed a master’s degree in double bass with additional studies in theory and conducting from Texas Christian University. He became an adjunct faculty member and served as assistant conductor for the orchestras, conducting the TCU Symphony on several occasions. From 1999 – 2005 he served as Director of Orchestral Activities and conductor of the Aberdeen University / Civic Symphony in Aberdeen, South Dakota. While there, he built one of the strongest college orchestra programmes in the region, increasing the size, adding a chamber orchestra programme and collaborating on creating an opera season. From 2001 – 2003 he served as the conductor for the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony in Fargo, North Dakota. While in the USA, he wasinvited as a clinician, judge and guest conductor throughout the American Mid-West. He has been a guest conductor with the Black Tie Ensemble, the JMI Orchestra, The Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, Cape Town Opera, the Greater Dallas Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the UCT Symphony Orchestra and Opera Studio and orchestra festivals in South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota and Kansas. His conducting teachers include Omri Hadari, Gerard Korsten and German Gutierrez. He has participated in master classes with Henry Charles Smith, William LaRue Jones, Jorge Mester, JoAnn Falletta, Leslie Dunner and Ron Spiegelman.
In August 2006, he made his European conducting debut, conducting Joplin’s opera  Treemonisha  in La Turbie, France.
He works as a freelance conductor and double bass player based in Cape Town, South Africa, where he is also the music director of the Symphony Choir of Cape Town. He is also Director of the Free State Symphony Orchestra

Tickets are for sale from the Kirstenbosch ticket office and from www.webtickets.co.za.

Goitsemand Lehobye (Photo: Victoria Stevens)

Goitsemand Lehobye (Photo: Victoria Stevens)

Read more about Goitsemang HERE.

Goitsemang started singing at an early  age. She joined The Black Tie Ensemble’s “Incubator” Scheme in February 2005.  As a member of the Incubator Scheme, Goitsemang was also a member of The Black Tie Opera Chorus and did ensemble and solo work with the members of Black Tie Opera and performed as member of the chorus in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and sung in various productions. She is currently studying voice training at the University of Cape Town’s College of Music.

Riaan Hunter (Baritone)

Riaan Hunter (Baritone)

Read more about Riaan Hunter HERE
Riaan Hunter started his studies at the SA College of Music in 2004. After finishing his first year he went into the commercial music industry where he has been very successful for the last seven years. His debut album Net Hier By Jou reached 19th place on Musica’s Top 20 African Sales. Recently Riaan recorded a tribute to “Ge Korsten” with Jannie Moolman that is a great hit all over South Africa.
He starred in his first musical in 2006 at the age of 20,  going on to star in The King and I, The Gondoliers and HMS Pinafore for the Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society.  His performance in The Gondoliers  earned him a special prize at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in England.
He was also nominated for a Cape Amateur Theatre Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his leading role in HMS Pinafore in 2009.
Riaan returned to the Opera school last year to finish his studies and is currently studying with Prof. Virginia Davids. He sang the role of Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and tDapertutto in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Riaan was the winner of the  Schock Singing Competition in 2012.
His most recent success was starring in the title role of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and he sang in the CPO/Wagner and Verdi societies’ celebratory Wagner/Verdi gala concert last November.

Willem Bester

Willem Bester starts his music career as a member and soloist of the Tygerberg Children’s Choir. As boy soprano, he was the winner of a nation-wide contest as “Boy with the Golden Voice”. He also participates in numerous productions, such as Hans Roosenschoon’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? and Bizet’s Carmen. He has also performed as vocal soloist in concert works such as Magnificat and the St Matthew’s Passion by J. S. Bach, Handel’s Messiah, Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Saint-Saens’s Oratorio de Noel.