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International acclaim for Dr Robert Fokkens

28 June 2017

Dr Robert Fokkens
Dr Robert Fokkens

Dr Robert Fokkens, Senior Lecturer in Composition at the School of Music, has seen great success with three compositions released in 2017, assembling an array of outstanding reviews.

Most recently, Dr Fokkens’ violin concerto An Eventful Morning near East London was released on a compilation of 21st century violin concerts, performed by Harriet Mackenzie (violin), Kenneth Woods (conductor) and the English Symphony Orchestra.

The title of the piece refers not to the UK, but a ‘cattle-infested stretch of the N2 motorway between East London and Umtata’ in the Dr Fokkens’ native South Africa. Written in 2006, it first premiered at the Southbank Centre in London.

A series of reviews, including The Times and Composition Today, have described it as ‘exquisitely crafted…and thrillingly stratospheric’ (BBC Music Magazine), and ‘truly fascinating…the highlight of this album’ (Art Music Lounge).

April saw the release of Calliope, a debut album by soprano Sarah Dacey and pianist Belinda Jones, featuring Dr Fokkens’ composition Worry/Don’t Worry, which originally premiered at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in 2014.

Five Miniatures, written in 2007, is featured on From My Beloved Country, a collection of contemporary piano music by South African composers, curated and performed by Renee Reznek, a South African-born pianist based in the UK.

Reviewers have described Dr Fokkens’ composition as ‘delicately minimalist’ (Classical Reviewer), and ‘a delightful collection of vignettes’ (Adam Fergler).

In addition to these recent releases, Dr Fokkens’ work has been performed this year in the UK, Germany, South Africa and the US. In July, he will travel to his native South Africa for the world premiere of A Darkness Insinuating at the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival.

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