Our Artistic Director : Juan Burgers

Juan Burgers trained as a singer and concert pianist at the University of Pretoria, completing his studies at the University of Cape Town. He has won distinction as a singer, pianist, choral director, conductor, vocal coach and teacher. With the opening of the Pretoria State Theatre, he was employed as baritone, singing in more than 20 operas and musicals.

 

In 1983 he was appointed Conductor of Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School. In Durban he served as the founding Chorus Master of the NAPAC Singers, and in this capacity and that of Director of the Durban Symphonic Choir, he worked on more than 200 productions with the KZN Philharmonic, including operas, musicals and major concert works. A recipient of the Nederburg Opera Prize and the Durban Critics Circle Award, Burgers has appeared both as an accompanist and as a baritone soloist throughout Southern Africa, and the Far East.

 

In 2001 he sang in the first opera in New Delhi since the return of democracy in India. He toured as recitalist throughout India subsequently.

 

He taught Voice at the Durban University of Technology before enlisting as a staff member of the South African College of Music at UCT in 20013, becoming one of its most sought after part time teachers.

 

During the 2004/5 season, on invitation, he worked with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in New York, as intern. In 2005 he served as musical director of Robyn Orlin’s Lawrence Olivier Award-winning ‘When I take off my skin.....’ touring France, Germany, Austria and Spain with the production.

 

In 2007 he returned to Durban where he has worked as a private voice teacher and coach, chorus master, choral workshops and accompanist. His involvement with the South African Choral tradition with its rich vocal and choral potential is his driving passion. Since the inception of the NACMA Awards in 2012, he has been awarded the prize for best accompanist in 2012 and 2013.

 

Apart from being a Vedic astrologer, Juan is also a yoga and meditation teacher. He has completed the Comrades Marathon four times, taking three silver medals, and is a qualified Run-Walk for Life long distance trainer who has trained many Comrades runners.

 

Juan Burgers celebrated his debut as a composer with the world premiere production of 'Ubuntu – The Opera' in November 2015 at the Playhouse in Durban with Kwa Zulu Natal Philharmonic orchestra conducted by Lykele Temmingh to both national and international acclaim.

 

In 2016 Burgers was appointed head coach at Cape Town Opera. Whilst there he also was engaged with their outreach programme. He was instrumental in setting up community choirs in Beaufort West, Laingsburg, Prince Albert and the entire West Coast area.

 

In 2019 he founded the Ubuntu Opera Company in Cape Town.

 

In 2022 he joined Diva Opera as Artistic Director.