REVIEW: “ISO’s extended performance film Live at the Two Oceans Aquarium is a gorgeously produced snapshot of After Dark” (Published on Texx and the City on 5 December 2023)

Founding members Richard Brokensha and Franco Schoeman delivered a scintillating show, backed by Darren Petersen (drums), Kyle Petersen (keyboards), Ronald Davey (cello), as well as the angelic voices of the VOX Cape Town choir – offering up a performance which spanned six albums, set against a searingly unique oceanic backdrop.

REVIEW: Timeless Whispers (Published by Albert Combrink on Facebook on 15 October 2023)

As repeat customers will know, an event put on by VOX Cape Town will be a special event and a feast for the senses. Their latest project, Timeless Whispers, a programme devoted to South African music, was no exception.

ARTICLE: “VOX and FMR – Music Among Fine Friends” (Published in Fine Music Radio’s Opus in August 2023)

Fine Music Radio and local choral collective VOX Cape Town have much in common – including four musician-broadcasters who can be heard on both the stage and the air. John Woodland was interested in exploring the musical motifs that bind FMR and VOX together…

PREVIEW: “VOX: Eternal Echoes Guests” (Published in WeekendSpecial on 31 July 2023)

VOX Cape Town’s Eternal Echoes production will be onstage on Saturday 12 August 2023, and they can’t wait to welcome you “on an extraordinary musical pilgrimage that transcends the centuries and conjoins diverse choral cultures”.

REVIEW: “Maynardville reopens with a delightful, Shakespeare-filled programme” (Published in Daily Maverick on 25 January 2023)

The first show that reopens the festival again is Felix Mendelssohn’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, performed by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), conducted by Brandon Phillips with narration by John Woodland. This performance, which ran from 19 to 21 January, is perhaps the perfect way to revive Maynardville ahead of the production of the same play in February, with the breathtaking sounds of the orchestra, the captivating chorus of VOX Cape Town and the drama of Woodland’s narration all weaving together a spectacular performance that pays a fitting tribute to Mendelssohn and Shakespeare both. 

REVIEW: “SCENE IT: CT Philharmonic Orchestra enchants with Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Opus at Maynardville” (Published on Theatre Scene Cape Town on 20 January 2023)

Even if you still believe you know nothing of Mendelssohn’s Op. 61, Conductor Brandon Phillips and the Orchestra have joined forces with FMR presenter John Woodland as narrator to guide the audience, and bring story and opus together, along with the fairy like vocals of the ladies of the choral group, VOX Cape Town, which Woodland also directs. Together they gift the audience an enchanting night of music, fairies and love-inspired mischief under the stars of Cape Town.

PREVIEW: “VOX Cape Town choir to perform ‘Music Across Time’ at Baxter Theatre” (Published on Cape Town ETC on 20 January 2023)

At the Baxter Theatre Centre on 25 January, VOX Cape Town, award-winning composer Grant McLachlan, and other talented performers will present a fabulous concert to celebrate the UCT Summer School 2023.

PREVIEW: “Delight in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Maynardville Open-Air Festival” (Published on Cape Town ETC on 13 January 2023)

Experience a night of music under the stars with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at this year’s Maynardville Open-Air Festival at the Maynardville Park in Wynberg for ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. […] The Shakespearian performance will be narrated by John Woodland, who said, “The four delicate, magical, transformative chords that open Mendelssohn’s score to ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are instantly recognisable and urge us to suspend our disbelief.” […] The women of VOX Cape Town, Woodland’s choir, and sopranos Lauren Pharaoh and Setsoane Jeannette Nseki, who were both chosen because of how well they fit this style of music, will all be performing at the festival.


ARTICLE: “Celebrating Women In Music” (Published in Fine Music Radio’s Opus in August 2022)

August is Women’s Month! Inspired by a request from Vanessa Levenstein, Editor of Fine Music Radio’s Opus Newsletter, we asked our singers the following question: “If I were to choose a favourite piece of music that celebrates women, it would be…”


REVIEWS: Of Barrels and Blosssoms, VOX Cape Town’s fifth album

“Here is another wonderful offering from VOX, the choir which has contributed so much already to the musical life of Cape Town. Under their imaginative and inspiring director, John Woodland, they have explored unusual and interesting repertoire, in unusual and interesting venues, and are obviously attracting growing audiences.” (Richard Cock)

“In an era of little patience and less attention to detail, it is heartening to find this expression of a joy, artistry and fellowship that can only be achieved through concentrated effort, endless rehearsal and unwavering attention to one’s co-performers. VOX Cape Town pull off that great prize of ensemble singing: making months of slog, sweat and tears sound effortless.” (Paul Wise)

ARTICLE: “What is your favourite piece of choral music?” (Published in Fine Music Radio’s Opus in March 2021)

That is the question we put to our singers for the March 2021 edition of Opus, Fine Music Radio’s monthly newsletter. From JS Bach’s motets to choral masterpieces by Ēriks Ešenvalds and Rachmaninov, read the full list of responses from our singers here. How many of these pieces do you recognise? For your listening pleasure, we’ve put together a YouTube playlist of our favourite recordings of these glorious choral works!

INTERVIEW: John Woodland on People of Note with Richard Cock on Classic 1027

In January 2021, founder and director John Woodland was invited to chat to maestro Richard Cock for People of Note on Classic 1027. During the interview, John shared an indulgent selection of his favourite recordings by musicians such as Stephens Layton and Cleobury, Leonard Bernstein, Bryn Terfel, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Richard Brokensha, Jacob Collier and, of course, the singers of VOX Cape Town.


ARTICLE: “Arts in the time of lockdown” (Published in ImagineMag! on 8 May 2020)

ARTICLE: “Recorded alone, but singing together” (Published by UCT News on 5 May 2020)

Performing artists have found themselves in a vacuum without their audiences during the COVID-19-imposed lockdown. But VOX Cape Town, created by the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Dr John Woodland and Kyle Paulssen, got around lockdown by launching its first virtual choral performance for Freedom Day on 27 April.


PREVIEW: VOX Concerts (Published on WeekendSpecial on 27 March 2019)

A new series of VOX concerts will see the choral super-group tackling living composers as well as some seldom-heard compositions. VOX Cape Town’s whizz-duo Dr John Woodland (director) and Kyle Paulssen (manager) have conjured up further intriguing ideas with which to bring interesting and unusual choral works to their ever-widening audience.

BLOG: Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos Collaborates with VOX Cape Town (Published on 19 February 2019)

Described as Cape Town’s most innovative choral collective, VOX Cape Town has fast established itself as a standout on the local music scene. Under the direction of Dr John Woodland, VOX has continually impressed audiences both with its fresh approach to new and interesting repertoire, including commissioning several new works by local composers, and its approach to concert staging including lighting and visual effects. […] On March 25 and April 6, VOX Cape Town will be performing a program of choral and piano works at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Cape Town and the Norval Foundation in Steenberg, respectively. The piano items will be played by Clinton Claasen. Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos is delighted to partner with VOX and provide instruments for both performances.


PREVIEW: “Stabat Mater Three Choirs” (Published on WeekendSpecial on 23 September 2018)

Like an exotic flower, Jenkins gives us a blank canvas and the licence to paint his verses with atmospheric lighting and so immerse our audience in a choral and orchestral journey to solace.

PREVIEW: “Cape Town Baroque Festival 2018” (Published on WeekendSpecial on 16 August 2018)

The second Cape Town Baroque Festival (CTBF) is yet again set to be a highlight on the city’s music calendar. With local and international soloists and ensembles performing, the CTBF will offer audiences a varied programme of top quality baroque music. […] The CTBF 2018 opens on Friday 21 September at 8 pm with Glorious Baroque, a concert featuring Vivaldi’s popular Gloria (RV 589). Sopranos Lynelle Kenned and Elsabé Richter, as well as mezzo-soprano Lusibalwethu Sesanti will be the soloists. VOX Cape Town will be accompanied by CTB under the direction of Erik Dippenaar.

INTERVIEW: “New kids on the block” (Published in The Graham Beck Curator on 12 August 2018)

There’s a relatively young but extremely precocious kid on the choral block in Cape Town and it’s making bold forays into territories that have been hitherto largely avoided by older choirs. Known as VOX (the Latin word for “voice”) and led by 30-year-old singer-scientist-cum-choir-director John Woodland, the group has committed itself to “taking choral music out of the traditional, conservative concert hall and into the world”.

ARTICLE: “Rajna honoured in concert” (Published in the Southern Suburbs Tatler on 9 August 2018)

UCT’s SA College of Music is honouring Dr Thomas Rajna’s approaching 90th birthday with a concert, “Rajna at 90”, at the Baxter Concert Hall on Tuesday August 14 at 7.30 pm. Dr Rajna, who lives in Claremont, was an associate professor of music at the college until his retirement in 1993. The composer himself will contribute a performance of his Capriccio for piano. The programme includes Dr Rajna’s work, which includes Serenade for wind, piano and percussion; Three Hebrew Choruses sung by the Cape Youth Choir directed by Leon Starker, and The Creation – a sermon for chorus with organ, performed by VOX directed by John Woodland.

PREVIEW: “VOX: ViniChoral II” by Sheila Chisholm (Published on WeekendSpecial on 5 February 2018)

In this great wine-producing country it’s (almost) obligatory to sip wine before a concert. One or two people may even munch a chocolate during the performance. However, marrying music, wine, chocolate into a multi-sensory experience in one evening is not normal practice. Yet, this is precisely what John Woodland’s VOX is offering lovers of these “foods for the gods” at their ViniChoral II happening in Groot Constantia’s Wine Cellar on 16 March.


ARTICLE: “Writer’s poem now a ‘unique’ carol” (Published on HeraldLIVE on 8 December 2017)

Port Elizabeth writer Margaret Kollmer has had a poem of hers commissioned as a new Christmas carol in Cape Town. The carol is titled “Christmas in Africa” and it was commissioned by Cape Town’s newest choir, VOX Cape Town, under the direction of John Woodland. The carol, with words by Kollmer and music by Maike Watson of Cape Town, will premiere at two services of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in Cape Town this month. “A recording of the service will also be broadcast on Cape Town’s Fine Music Radio, with an introduction by well-known broadcaster Rodney Trudgeon,” Kollmer said.

REVIEW: “The VOX Baltic Journey” by Rudolph Mare (Published on Untamed Classics on 14 September 2017)

Lovers of choral music responded enthusiastically to VOX Cape Town‘s latest musical adventure. Their delightful programme of music from the Baltic region took on the theme of a musical journey. With this in mind, the pulpit area of the St Andrews Presbyterian Church was decorated with sails and barrels, and to add to the feeling of a cold weather sea voyage, warm Glühwein was served before the concert. Moody lighting and ocean sounds completed the pre-concert ambience before the VOX Baltic journey commenced.

PREVIEW: “VOX: Northern Lights” by Sheila Chisholm (Published on WeekendSpecial on 24 August 2017)

“Northern Lights: A Baltic Voyage” is a heavenly ballet of light dancing and music floating across the night sky.

REVIEW: “And Music To Your Ears…” by Melanie Bruce (Published in the BBC Music Magazine, July 2017)

I recently attended a celebration of contemporary choral music by Cape Town’s latest choir, VOX Cape Town, under the direction of John Woodland. He and his singers created an intimate, sensory experience as they showcased the music of Eric Whitacre, demonstrating what powerful beauty there is in the empty moments, the silence. The evening opened with Whitacre’s “Cloudburst” – such rich, luscious tone clusters, reminiscent of choral chant. The piece took us beyond ourselves with the exotic, unexpected sounds using hands as well as voices.

REVIEW: “VOX and the Great Choral Invigoration” by Rudolph Mare (Published on Untamed Classics, July 2017)

VOX Cape Town, the self-styled successor to Barry Smith’s erstwhile St George’s Singers, is on a mission. Over their relatively short existence they have turned themselves into a choir — or “singing group”, as they refer to themselves — with a unique sound. A unique “voice”, too, in the figurative sense of the word. Under the guidance of their choirmaster John Woodland they aim to “invigorate” classical music in Cape Town. But what does that mean?

ARTICLE: “ViniChoral: Groot Constantia” by Sheila Chisholm (Published on WeekendSpecial on 3 July 2017)

When VOX and Groot Constantia wines blend together, the outcome is ViniChoral. That’s a name coined by John Woodland, VOX’s founder and director, for a choral presentation to be held on 3 August at 7.30 pm for 8 pm in Groot Constantia Wine Cellar. This, however is no ‘common or garden’ glass in one hand with background yodelling. This is a serious wine tasting event with 30 VOX singers singing carefully-chosen music to complement the wines.

INTERVIEW: “From Chorister to Choral Conductor: John Woodland and VOX Cape Town” (Published on ClassicSA on 5 April 2017)

On Friday 21 April at 8 pm, VOX Cape Town under the direction of John Woodland will present “Trust The Silences (Once More)” in the Memorial Chapel at Bishops in Rondebosch. classicsa.co.za spoke to Woodland about his journey from young choral singer to choral conductor and his vision for VOX Cape Town.

PREVIEW: VOX Cape Town Presents “Trust the Silences (Once More)” (Published in ImagineMag! on 30 March 2017)

“Yearning, despair, life, passion, beauty, tension… The hidden clockwork of the universe.” This is how one singer describes the music in VOX Cape Town’s forthcoming performance, Trust the Silences (Once More). […] Fellow singer and judge, Owen Rogers, summed up the performance in this way: “The music is contemplative, ethereal, sometimes magical – you will be transported to another world, if only for an hour.”

REVIEW: VOX’s “Trust the Silences” by Sheila Chisholm (Published on WeekendSpecial on 2 March 2017)

[Hans] Van Heukelum summed up his first “Trust the Silences” experience as, “a mind massage of masterful sound – such delicious clarity of notes that resonated with every fibre of attention. I have never emerged so relaxed from a sound box. John (Woodland) created a sound scene like an opera without intrusions.”