Cape Town Orchestra

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Founding and early history

The Cape Town Orchestra was formed by the Cape Town Council in 1914 under the conductorship of Theo Wendt with a strength of 30 players.

The opening concert took place in the City Hall, Cape Town, on February 28, 1914, and marked the dawn of a new era in music in South Africa.

This potent influence on music was felt not only in Cape Town but all over South Africa as the public had the opportunity of listening to the orchestral works of the great composers for the first time.


Aims and function

Tours were undertaken in 1914, 1919, 1921 and 1923 by the Cape Town Orchestra as a means of spreading the love of good music.

During its travels, the Cape Town Orchestra met with great enthusiasm and approval from the music-loving public.

From March 1921, the Orchestra was under the management of the Cape Peninsula Publicity Association whose first decision after assuming control was to increase the personnel from 32 to 38 players, in order to enable the Orchestra to extend its repertoire.

It was thought the repertoire might well be the envy of the orchestras of many larger European towns as it represented every school and every period of music, from Bach, Handel, etc., to R Strauss and Stravinsky.

It also included, apart from a great amount of light music, about 100 symphonies and symphonic works, 70 suites, 70 overtures and 100 miscellaneous concert works.

The most important of the Orchestra's Concerts in Cape Town were their famous Thursday Evening Subscriptions Concerts and Saturday Evening Popular Concerts.

Concerts of every description were held regularly in Sea Point, Muizenberg, the Pier, the suburban halls, Stellenbosch, etc.


Sources

Roger Bridger theatre programme, 1923.

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