Alex Fokkens

Alexander Fokkens’ extensive experience, both local and international, his professionalism, and his  intense passion for music led him to become one of the most sought-after conductors in South Africa.

Committed to ensuring that performances under his baton are of the very highest calibre  and level of musicality,  Alexander’s artistic integrity , personality and energy on the podium , and his excellent rapport with musicians and singers alike, have made him popular with performers and audiences everywhere .

After returning to South Africa from the USA in 2005, Alexander was involved in many different areas of classical music in South Africa , holding a variety of posts .

In 2011,  he was appointed Artistic Director and CEO of the Free State Symphony Orchestra as well as Conductor of the Free State Youth Symphony Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Symphony Choir of Cape Town between 2005 and 2021 and also held the positions of General Music Director of the Swakopmund Musikwoche in Namibia and Musical Advisor to the Namibian National Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander is committed to the education of young musicians and one of his undeniable strengths is that of  discovering, inspiring, mentoring and developing  young musical talent. Under his expert guidance, students in youth orchestras such as the Fargo Moorhead Area Youth Symphony in the USA (2001-2003), Aberdeen University/Civic Symphony (1999-2005) and Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (2006-2012) excelled , and these orchestras rose to new levels of performance.

He was involved for many years  with the University of Cape Town Orchestras , both before and after his initial time in the USA. He held positions of Music Director and Conductor of the University of Cape Town String Ensemble  and Symphonic Band, and Resident Conductor of the University of Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. 

His vision and unwavering dedication to the delivery of memorable performances have seen Alexander  become an acclaimed  guest conductor, both in South Africa and in the USA. Amongst others, he has conducted the Latien Weed Honours Orchestra in South Dakota, The Grinnell Symphony Orchestra in Iowa, The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Opera, JMI Orchestra, the Black Tie Opera Company, Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, South African National Youth Concert Orchestra, Free State Symphony Orchestra and Youth Orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa.  He made his European debut in 2006, conducting Joplin’s Treemonisha in La Turbie, France.

Many soloists  have enjoyed appearing with Alexander , and some of those  who have played or sung under his baton include John Owings, Curt Thompson, Pretty Yende, Koos Kombuis, Tumi Molekane, Leslie Howard, Anmari van der Westhuisen and Samson Diamond, to name  but a few.

Graduating  from the University of Cape Town in 1998 with a BMus in Orchestral Studies (Double Bass), Alexander then went to America and furthered his studies at Texas Christian University,  where he obtained his Masters in Double Bass performance and completed 3 years of Additional Studies in Theory and Conducting.  He has studied with world- renowned conductors such as Omri Hadari, Gerard Korsten and German Gutierrez, and has participated in Master Classes with Henry Charles Smith, William LaRue Jones, Jorge Mester, Joann Falletta, Leslie B Dunner and Ron Spiegelman.

In the middle of 2021, Alex left South Africa to take up the position as Head of Music at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in the USA.