Albert Coates

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Albert Coates (1882-1953)). Conductor, composer.


Albert Coates was born in St Peterburg, Russia, on 23 April 1882. In 1902 he entered the Leipzig Conservatory where he studied piano and cello. Coates made his conducting debut in 1904 with Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Leipzig Opera. He was appointed as conductor of the opera house at Elberfeld in 1906 and held this position until 1908. He then conducted in Dresden and Mannheim, Germany, and the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, the last-mentioned for five years until 1918. His London debut was in 1910 with the London Symphony Orchestra after which regular invitations followed. His American debut followed in 1920 where he was the musical director of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, New York, from 1923 to 1935.

In 1946 he moved to South Africa and became conductor of the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra a year later. He married the opera singer, Vera de Villiers.

Coates died in Milnerton, Cape Town, on 11 December 1953.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Coates founded the South African Opera and Ballet Company, and presented various opera productions: Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (1947), Wagner’s Die Walküre (1948), and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel (1951).

He composed the Afrikaans opera, Tafelberg se Kleed, performed by the UCT Opera Company in the Cape Town City Hall in 1952.


Sjoerd Alkema. 2012. "Conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra, 1914-1965: a historical perspective". University of Cape Town. Unpublished PhD thesis.

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities C

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to Main Page