Sjoerd Alkema is conductor of the Con Spirito Philharmonic, President of the Crescendo Summer Institute South Africa, adjudicator for UNISA and various Eisteddfods, and together with his wife, Anna-Marie Alkema, owner of the unique music distributor, Allmusic.
He holds a BMus (UCT), UPLM, UTLM, MMus (UCT), and PhD (UCT).
Since completing his conducting degree at the Salzburg Mozarteum, where he had the opportunity to attend masterclasses of Herbert von Karajan, he conducted the Windhoek Symphony and Youth orchestras, the Free State Symphony and Youth Symphony orchestras, the CPO, and various ad-hoc orchestras. In Bloemfontein he prepared theatre productions such as Il barbiere di Siviglia, Aida, La traviata, Fidelio, La bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor and Nabucco as chorus master and repetiteur.
Alkema conducted performances of Fledermaus, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Camelot, Sound of Music, Gizelle, Evita. He was the musical director for many oratorios which include Mozart, Rutter and Fauré’s Requiems, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and St John’s Passion as well as Vivaldi’s Gloria. The opera extravaganza, A Night at the Opera was a particular highlight.
As pianist and accompanist he did recordings and concerts with instrumentalists and renowned singers such as Deon van der Walt, André Howard, De Wet van Rooyen, René Rakin and Isabella van Zyl. Among these were Schubert’s song cycles Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, and Dichterliebe, and Lieder by Wolff, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Dvorak, Lawrence Fall, and Arnold van Wyk.
A summary of his PhD thesis on conductors of the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra between 1914 and 1965 was included in the CPO’s centenary exhibition, A Century of Symphony.