News: 2015

Cape Town Opera Premiere

As part of FOUR:30 in collaboration with UCT Opera School, I will be writing a short opera - The Application - which will have five performances in Cape Town this November. The libretto is by Laurence Allan and receive its premiere at Artscape, Cape Town on Saturday 21 November. Directed by Geoffrey Hyland.

Scenario: Mrs Makeleni needs a passport. Her grandson was born and raised in the UK after her son emigrated, and she has never met him – indeed, she has never left South Africa. Now she wants to travel to his wedding, and must apply to Home Affairs for her first ever passport – a process which proves rather more troublesome than expected.

21 Nov - Premiere
25 Nov - Second Performance
26 Nov - Third Performance
27 Nov - Fourth Performance
28 Nov - Fifth Performance

Event Site

'Lioness' in The Lighthouse

The lighthouse at Cromwell Point at Valentia Island, just off the coast of Ireland, sees a performance of Lioness and Cub from Mammals of Southern Africa. Performed by Darragh Morgan (violin) and Mary Dullea (piano). 

"This early morning concert takes its inspiration from the big events of last summer and will cover a range of music and instrumental soundscapes that will transport the audience to another planet."

16 August 2015, 11:00

The Lighthouse, Cromwell Point, Ireland

Ji Hye Jung plays Divisions

Robert's piece Divisions for marimba and vibraphone will be performed by the fantastic Ji Hye Jung at a recital given in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

23 September 2015, 20:00 local time (UTC-06:00)

Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, 2400 Blakemore Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212

More information here

Mammals on Resonance FM

Robert's piece Mammals of Southern Africa was featured recently on the Resonance FM show, Beethoven Was Wrong. The episode was based at Cardiff University and can be listened to here.

Renee Reznek - Five Miniatures

The pianist Renée Reznek will be performing my Five Miniatures in a lunchtime recital.

Programme: Seven Gnossiennes by Erik Satie Five Miniatures by Robert Fokkens PMB Impromptu by Kevin Volans 

7 December 2015, 13:00

St Lawrence Jewry, Gresham Street, London EC2V 5AA

Free Admission

Retorica - Orange in Iffley

Iffley Music Society present Retorica violin Duo (Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo) performing music by Telemann, Wieniaweski, Mozart, Fokkens, Bach, Prokofiev, and Handel. St Mary's Church, Iffley

27 September 2015 14:30

St Mary's Church, Iffley

Project Instrumental - New Commission

The new music ensemble, Project Instrumental, performs works inspired by the Passacaglia form including a new work that Robert has written to receive its Welsh premiere this evening. 

    Project Instrumental make their Cardiff debut exploring a 400 year-old form defined by variations against a repeating pattern. They connect three works written in the last 50 years in a Passacaglia-inspired programme that becomes the material for a live electronic set, itself a Passacaglia of the present. They perform Pärt’s mesmeric work in its version for two violins, Shostakovich’s powerful Chamber Symphony op.118a and Robert Fokkens’ neo concerto grosso-like work for string trio and string orchestra following hot off its world premiere in London. Sound artist, producer and DJ, Tpongle, concludes with a live set in response.     

8 December 2015, 19:00

Cardiff University Concert Hall

Ukuhamba Kukufunda (To Travel is to Learn) - Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra

The Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra's end of semester programme this year includes Robert's orchestral piece, Ukuhamba Kukufunda (To Travel is to Learn). The orchestra recorded the work earlier this year for a CD to be released.
They are conducted by Mark Eager, and the programme also includes Fauré's Requiem and Sibelius's Finlandia in this mid-afternoon Concert. 

29 Nov 2015, 15:00

St David's Hall, Cardiff


MusicWeb International (Leon Bosch) - Read full review

His voice is in any event a mature and distinctive one, which deserves to be more widely heard ... The compositions presented here are structurally compact, technically assured, with firm intellectual underpinning and possess a compelling communicative power. Members of the Fidelio Piano Trio provide the backbone to this excellent disc, and are joined by the soprano Patricia Rozario and the bass flute of Carla Rees; all of whom contribute committed performances throughout.
I look forward to hearing recordings of larger scale compositions from Robert Fokkens.

Review: Mzantsi Nights at the Juilliard School, Paul Recital Hall

New Music South Africa Bulletin (Lukas Ligeti)

Opening the second half of the concert, Robert Fokkens’ Mzantsi Nights, also written for this concert, was perhaps the most intriguing piece on the programme. Inspired by a wide range of music across the spectrum from classical to popular and Western to African, Fokkens has evolved a personal vocabulary that includes a quarter-tone-based tuning derived from Xhosa bow music and strongly original approaches to ensemble writing. In Mzantsi Nights, the musicians are instructed not only to play, but also to shout brief syllables; while such theatricality might seem contrived, it blends very well here with the interlocking, hocketing instrumental parts. This is a highly individual work, perhaps a tad brief considering the wealth of ideas presented, but highly successful in the way it walks the tightrope between African and Western soundworlds.