|Richard Cock - Artistic Director|
Richard Cock was born in Port Elizabeth and educated at Woodridge Preparatory School and the Diocesan College, Cape Town. He pursued his musical studies at the Cape Town College of Music, from which he graduated in 1971. In 1972, Richard Cock won a scholarship to the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), where he was awarded several prizes and diplomas. In 1978 he became Director of Music at the Cathedral Choir School and assistant organist at Chichester Cathedral. During his years in England he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.
After his return to South Africa in 1980, Richard Cock, as Music Director from 1991, breathed new life into the National Symphony Orchestra. His innovative spirit saw the orchestra expand its horizons with open-air events, such as the successful Emmarentia Gardens Winter Series, Musical Fireworks and Pops concerts, music in the zoo and tours from Cape Town to Cairo.
As conductor, he is in much demand countrywide for the popular Last Night of the Proms concerts and Songs of Praise; new milestones in recent years were conducting his first full-length opera, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, for PACOFS in Bloemfontein, and conducting the Julian Lloyd-Webber South Africa tour. !n 2001, he conducted the Joshua Bell tour of South Africa and that of Lynn Harrell, and he regularly conducts Starlight Classics for Rand Merchant Bank.
However, it is as a choral trainer and conductor that Richard Cock is best known. He was organist and director of music at St Mary’s Cathedral for 12 years and was elected a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music for his services to Church Music in South Africa. He founded the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and the internationally recognized Chanticleer Singers 28 years ago. Both are recognized as leaders in their respective fields.
He is chairman of the Apollo Music Trust, and until recently he was one of the Musical Directors of the Nation-Building Massed Choirs Festival. He is on the Board of Trustees of Business Arts South Africa, and of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.
In 1999 he left the NSO to pursue a freelance career and to stimulate music activities throughout South Africa, which he has done with marked success. In May 2000, he received an Honorary Doctorate in music from Rhodes University.
Since then he has not only conducted symphony, choral and many major concerts in Johannesburg, but also throughout Southern Africa, plus Songs of Praise and light classical concerts titled Bach to Broadway, Flights of Fantasy and Lloyd Webber and Friends, as well as giving concerts for children and senior citizens. He is also involved a number of successful outreach projects in Soweto, Eldorado Park, Limpopo Province and Kimberley.