A highlight of each year’s Summer School programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is the series of lecture-performances delivered by Dr Barry Smith. VOX Cape Town is delighted to be a regular fixture at these presentations, bringing choral music to a much wider community.

  • In 2019, for a course entitled A Beethoven Bouquet, VOX sang Beethoven’s “Elegischer Gesang” for choir and string quartet, Op. 118.
  • In 2018, VOX sang two of Mozart’s most-loved choral works (“Ave Verum” and “Laudate Dominum”, featuring soprano soloist Lente Louw) as part of a course entitled The Magic of Mozart.
  • VOX Cape Town’s first involvement with the UCT Summer School was in 2017 as part of a programme entitled Three Brilliant Bs: Bach, Brahms and Beethoven, at which VOX sang the “Geistliches Lied” by Brahms.

UCT Summer School is a public education programme that offers a range of short courses to all, regardless of educational qualifications. Summer School seeks to make the academic resources of the university accessible to a wide range of students.

2019: A Beethoven Bouquet


Dr Barry Smith, musicologist and organist

Three concerts on successive nights will pay tribute to the genius and versatility of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) as reflected in his chamber works. The lecture-performances will include the mighty and tragic Pathétique piano sonata, the lyrical Spring Sonata for violin and piano, and a late string quartet. Beethoven’s moving song cycle for tenor, An die ferne Geliebte, will also feature, as will the Elegischer Gesang for choir and string quartet. The choral component will be performed by the acclaimed VOX Cape Town conducted by John Woodland.

The concert on the final evening will consist of the composer’s Trio in B flat for piano, clarinet and cello, Opus 11, and the Septet in E-flat major, Opus 20, with Dr Peter Martens and his fine colleagues. Dr Barry Smith will introduce the pieces, relating them to Beethoven’s life and work, and discussing their unique musical qualities.

2018: The Magic of Mozart


Dr Barry Smith, musicologist and organist

On three successive nights of lecture-performances, Dr Barry Smith and distinguished musician friends will conjure up an exciting selection of the musical treasures of Mozart, some of which are rarely heard live in Cape Town. The first evening will see his first and last string quartet framing a sublime selection of choral and vocal pieces, performed by the acclaimed group VOX Cape Town under the direction of John Woodland. The first string quartet (K80) was written when Mozart was just 14 years old. The final string quartet (K590) in F major was written in honour of the King of Prussia shortly before Mozart¹s death in 1789.

The second evening will feature chamber music, beginning with a popular early sonata for violin and piano K304, his second piano quintet in E-flat major, and the masterly and moving clarinet quintet that Mozart wrote for his clarinettist friend Anton Stadler. The course will conclude with an orchestral programme on the third night, with a performance of Symphony No. 29 in A major and the Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for solo violin, viola and orchestra, in which internationally acclaimed local cellist Peter Martens will play the viola part on the cello.

2017: Three Brilliant Bs


Dr Barry Smith, musicologist, conductor and organist

The great trio of German composers, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, will be celebrated in three evenings of lecture-performances, with a focus on examples of their choral, organ and chamber music.

Although their lives did not overlap, the period of their compositions spanned almost two hundred years of exceptionally rich music in Germany – religious, classical and romantic – to which each contributed his unique creative gifts.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is often regarded as the greatest composer of all time. In its outstanding innovation and variety his work foreshadowed many later developments in music. Bach was an organist of wide renown in his lifetime. The first evening will feature one of his compositions for his favourite instrument, also a choral work and some chamber music.

The second lecture-performance will be devoted to Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) and particularly his chamber music. The performances will include a violin sonata, a cello sonata, and the piano trio Opus 70 (the ‘Ghost’).

The focus of the final evening will be Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and will include a choral work with organ accompaniment, and two of the composer’s best-known chamber works: the piano trio in B major which he revised, and the great G minor piano quartet.