News: 2009

South African National Youth Orchestra performs Strobe

As part of the Konservatorium Concert Series, the South African National Youth Orchestra (SA NYO) returns to the Cape after a long absence for a one-night-only, not-to-be-missed concert at the Endler Hall at the University of Stellenbosch, at 20:00 on Wednesday 9 December.

A scintillating programme of South African works by Mokale Koapeng (Isijabane, 2009), Robert Fokkens (Strobe, 1999)and Peter Klatzow (Peach Blossoms, 2005)  as well as the Russian masterpiece, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, will showcase the talent of the top youth orchestra in the country as they share their love for South African music with the audience.

The orchestra will be conducted by the young Swedish sensation, Fredrik Burstedt, who makes his debut in South Africa. As concertmaster and principal player, he has worked closely with renowned conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Gustavo Dudamel and Daniel Harding, and he brings vitality and energy to the podium.

The Endler Hall, Stellenbosch Konservatorium, Stellenbosch

Wednesday 9 December 2009 at 8.00pm

For more information, please visit


Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews-Owen in Cheltenham

Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) perform a recital of 20th- and 21st-century song for the Cheltenham Contemporary Concerts series. Alongside music by Britten, Knussen, Hodinott, Arelene Sierra and Philip Cashian, they present the third performance of Robert’s setting of David Diop’s visionary poem Africa .

Monday 7 December at 8.00pm

Cheltenham Town Hall, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1QA

Tickets £17.50 and £15


Review: Cardiff University Concert Series, Concert Hall

Africa (text by David Diop)
Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano)

Guardian 3.12.2009

Claire Booth is one of the most satisfying sopranos of her generation, with a creamy, evenly balanced tone, and an intelligence that makes her the most perceptive of interpreters in everything from baroque to contemporary. It would be hard to have too much of her lovely voice…In the last work, Robert Fokkens’s Afrika, Booth…judged perfectly the progress from deceptively minimalistic opening to the powerful emotional thrust of poet David Diop’s final words, the bitter, bitter taste of freedom

Strobe date and venue finalised

The SA NYO performance of my 1999 orchestral work Strobe will take place on 9 December 2009 at the Endler Hall in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Strobe will be performed alongside music by Mokale Koapeng, Peter Klatzow and Rimsky-Korsakov. The orchestra is conducted by dynamic Swedish conductor Frederik Burstedt.

Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews-Owen in Cardiff

Alun Hoddinott - One must always have Love
Robert Fokkens - Africa (world premère)
Oliver Knussen - Whitman Settings
Philip Cashian - New work (world première)
Arlene Sierra - New work (world première)
Benjamin Britten - On this Island

This recital is truly a labour of love. The outstanding performers have a personal connection to nearly every piece in their programme- Rob Fokken’s new work was especially written for the duo, as too are Arlene Sierra and Philip Cashian’s works which will be premiered tonight.  Sierra teaches in the School of Music and Cashian is a former undergraduate.  Claire Booth has established a long standing collaboration with Oliver Knussen and here she performs his Whitman Settings while Andrew Matthews-Owen has championed the work of his compatriot Alun Hoddinott for a number of years. Completing the evening is Benjamin Britten’s landmark collaboration with W H Auden- On this Island

University Concert Hall, Cardiff University

Tuesday 1 December 2009 at 7.30pm

Austrian Cultural Forum’s Soundings 2010 Festival

I’ve been invited to take part in the 7th edition of the ACF’s Soundings Festival next year. With a line-up of great performers and excellent composers, the concerts in May should be very exciting. Check back soon for final details of concerts, performers and pieces.

Strobe returns to Cape Town with the South African National Youth Orchestra

The National Youth Orchestra will perform my first orchestral piece (Strobe, written in 1999 and previously performed by both the University of Cape Town and Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestras) in Cape Town in early December. Dates are currently being finalised - check back soon.

South West Essex Choir Mozart project

The South West Essex Choir have commissioned Robert to write a seting of the Gloria text to be performed alongside Robert Levin’s completion of the Mozart C minor Mass at the first concert of their 2009-2010 season. SWEC will perform with the Bartholdy Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Ben Palmer.

Saturday 28 November 2009 at 7.30pm

All Saints Church, Woodford Wells, Inmans Row, Woodford Green, Essex, IG8 0NH

Claire Booth and Andrew Matthews-Owen in Hull

Claire Booth (soprano) and Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) perform a recital of 20th- and 21st-century song for the University of Hull’s concert series. Alongside music by Crane, Knussen, Hoddinott, Arlene Sierra and Philip Cashian, they present the third performance of Robert’s setting of David Diop’s visionary poem Africa

Friday 27 November

University of Hull

Clariphonics at Croydon Chamber Music Series

Wonderful clarinet quartet Clariphonics presents a recital for the Croydon Chamber Music Series including the second performance of  Glimpses of a Half-Forgotten Future, commissioned for their Purcell Room debut in January 2009.

Clariphonics is a clarinet quartet committed to promoting and expanding the repertoire for clarinet quartet to new audiences. The programme includes Piazzolla’s Histoire du tango, Jim Pywell’s 3 Beginnings, the four bass clarinet piece Four to the Floor by Anna Meredith and Clariphonic’s commission Glimpses of a half-forgotten Future by Robert Fokkens.

Saturday 7 November at 6.00pm

Croydon Parish Church, Church Street, Croydon