Refiloe Olifant on baroque violin
Refiloe Olifant on baroque violin

The Cape Town Baroque Festival (CTBF) will for the first time be presented over seven days, expanding its reach to more venues across Cape Town with an even more diverse programme of Baroque music.

The annual festival will be held from Wednesday, 18 September to Tuesday, 24 September 2019. Themed “Diversity in Early Music”, the 2019 showcase celebrates the variety of styles and genres of music from the Baroque period, the range of performance approaches of different schools of playing, and the diversity of performers of Early Music in South Africa and internationally.

“Since we’ve started the festival in 2017, it has grown exponentially. We have therefore extended it from three to seven days. I am very glad about the support we receive from Cape Town audiences, and it really makes us feel that the work we are doing is appreciated,” says Erik Dippenaar, harpsichordist and festival director.

This year’s event boasts two more firsts. It will be the first time that concerts will be held in the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in the Waterfront precinct and the Youngblood Gallery in Bree Street. Also, it is the first time that a newly composed work will be performed – a reimagining of JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 by local composer Hans Roosenschoon.

Recorder player Erik Bosgraaf appears at the Cape Town Baroque Festival
Recorder player Erik Bosgraaf appears at the Cape Town Baroque Festival

Baroque specialists

The festival’s premier concert is Big Bach Bonanza!, in which the diverse output of JS Bach is explored. This concert on Friday, 20 September at 8pm in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Strand Street, includes a variety of compositional genres that Bach utilised, highlighting the diversity of styles and affects within his oeuvre.

This concert brings together a large group of baroque specialists, directed by Dippenaar, performing  some of Bach’s greatest works, such as the cantata for soprano “Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen” BWV 51, the Concerto for Recorder in G major BWV 215, as well as the motets “Jesu, meine Freude” BWV 227 and “Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden” BWV 230 by the Cape Town Soloists Choir and Cape Consort.

It features soloists Erik Bosgraaf (recorder) and Raphael Pouget (natural trumpet), who will also perform in Chamber Baroque on Saturday, 21 September at 7.30pm at the Baxter Concert Hall. For the Chamber Baroque concert Anna Stoddard will present a pre-concert talk about this unique programme of 18th century chamber music at 6.30pm in the concert hall.

Another unique performance on this year’s Cape Town Baroque Festival programme is a demonstration of the carillon in the Cape Town City Hall tower by Alexios Vicatos.

Three guest ensembles will present diverse programmes. The Flat Mountain Project, a team of musicians who collaborate on projects that showcase modern and experimental classical music, can be heard in Four Seasons Recomposed.

The ensemble Here Be Dragons, led by instrumentalist and composer Jan-Hendrik Harley, explores folk music performed in and around the main cultural centres in Europe during the 15th and 16th century in the concert Folk101.

The Lutesong Duo – Lente Louw (mezzosoprano) and Uwe Grosser (theorbo, lute, baroque guitar) – teams up with fellow musicians for Musica Rustica, a programme of light vocal music from Renaissance Italy that will be paired with Neapolitan-inspired canapés at the 6 Spin Street Restaurant.

Since its inception, the CTBF has invested in upcoming local players of baroque music, and this year young recorder players and learners from the Ronnie Samaai Music Education Project will receive master classes from Bosgraaf.

Tune in to Fine Music Radio 

Over the past three years, the festival has attracted some of South Africa’s foremost singers and instruments. Soprano Lynelle Kenned, who has been part of the CTBF since its inception, says she is delighted to witness the expansion of and interest in the festival over the past few years.

“Erik Dippenaar and the Camerata Tinta Barocca’s dedication to their craft to stylistically recreate the essence of the historically rich period of the Baroque, creates an incredible experience for artists and audience members alike,” says Kenned.

Violinist Refiloe Olifant, who has also been part of the previous two festivals, says: “The CTBF means the world to me, because I look forward to performing with artists of a high calibre, while also learning from my colleagues”.

Tune in to Fine Music Radio 101.3 at 07:15 on Tuesday mornings from 27 August to 17 September for four pre-festival episodes of  Anna’s Baroque Bon-Bons on the works and composers featured at this year’s CTBF.

For Cape Town Baroque Festival tickets book here, at any PnP supermarket or cash at the door. Festival passes are R580 each. Email

What: Cape Town Baroque Festival
When: 18 – 24 September 2019
Where: Baxter, Zeitz MOCAA, Youngblood Gallery – Cape Town