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News > ODs in the News > Getting to Know the Maestro - Richard Cock (1966O)

Getting to Know the Maestro - Richard Cock (1966O)


Taken from an in debth interview by Theatre Lives:  

"Richard Cock has a voice as warm and as comforting as the music he plays Known affectionately as SA’s Mr. Classical Music it is hard to assimilate the breadth of his gentle footprint across the land. For decades he has taken music into concert halls and into the bush, baronial halls and dorps, townships and school halls. He schemes and plans and organises. He analyses. What might people like? Big events with fireworks, a day stalking birds and elephants ending with wine, the ring of cicadas and the strains of Mozart. Blessed is the town he adds to his itinerary. Blessed are we having him as our own.

Oddly, Richard wanted to be a farmer. It was not to be; the gods had already chosen his destiny and thrust him into the school choir, the church organ, UCT’s College of Music, the Royal College of Church Music, Chichester Cathedral. The SABC grabbed him by the collar and brought him home to start their own orchestra and their choir. From there he never stopped starting things… the Chanticleer Singers, the Orchestra from Scratch, Apollo Music, an outreach programme. The list goes on and on. He has conducted orchestras for names like Joshua Bell, Julian Lloyd Webber, Florian Uhlig and many others. He has raised money for innumerable charities.

The breadth of his footprint… is immearsuarble."
 


We asked Richard himself about his love affair with music and how it all began.....you guessed it! (At Bishops of course!)


It was at Bishops that I was hooked on music by Claude Browne and later by John Badminton. I studied at the College of Music at UCT and then went on scholarship to the Royal School of Church Music in Croydon, UK. Church music was my thing after singing daily in the chapel at Bishops.
 
I spent 8 years in the UK ending up as assistant organist at Chichester Cathedral, and with a Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists, and  later with a Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music.
 
After my return to South Africa in 1980 I became involved in choirs and the orchestra at the SABC and ended up as Director of the National Symphony Orchestra which I ran for 8 years before going freelance, in order to stimulate music activities throughout South Africa, which I now still do. I am involved in many development programmes and through the Apollo Music Trust I support many students in their studies. All of this was prompted by the opportunities I was given as a student at Bishops and UCT where I myself was supported by Bursaries and Trusts. I could not have survived without that support.
 
Next year (2020) will be the 40th anniversary of both the choirs which I formed on my return to South Africa: The Chanticleer Singers and the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg, both of which still flourish.
 
For many years now I have been doing the Christmas concerts at Bishops in support of the ODU Bursary Fund, and I hope to do this for many years yet!!

 

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