It’s all about the music

Rowan Bakker shares his journey of being a musical director. Photo: Supplied

Winner of the 2015 Naledi Awards for best musical director for his work on Sister Act, Rowan Bakker is a man on a theatrical mission to make you fall in love with words that sound better sung.

A lover of the theatre since he was seven years old, Bakker always knew he wanted to be a musical director.

“My inspirations are Billy Joel and Elton John who are both incredible pianists and performers,” said Bakker.

The role of a musical director, as he explained, is to oversee all the music aspects of a show, from teaching vocals to the cast and conducting a performance. “In a musical it says what the dialogue can longer sufficiently say.”

His thoughts on the culture of theatre in our country are that we are a lot more conservative than those overseas, which sometimes limits what shows can be brought here. Bakker does however feel there is remarkable talent in South Africa which makes it able to create some amazing new works. “One can never be sure of where the industry is headed, the theatre industry is an ever evolving one.”

His biggest reward has been seeing the growth of performers he has been lucky to work with over the past few years. “Seeing them succeed makes me very happy. Though it might be easy to get into the industry if you have talent, sustaining a career in the industry is not. To aspiring musical directors, never stop learning.”

Some of his highlight productions he has been part of are We Will Rock You, Mamma Mia, Jersey Boys, Sister Act and Sweeney Todd. “Each [show] brings it’s own wonderful, unique memorable elements.”

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Neo Phashe

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