John Roger Walton
Music Arranger, Composer, Conductor, Administrator, Producer & Educator
John Walton is a hugely-respected, independent arranger, composer, conductor, music administrator, producer and educator working between Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, specialising in arranging popular music for full symphony orchestra.
John is au fait with a wide range of music genres: from Mahler to Maher Zain; Cole Porter to Nat King Cole; Abdullah Ibrahim to Ronan Keating; and Bach to Broadway. He has written for individual Eurovision song contest winners; national and international rock, pop, jazz and crossover artists; bands, ensembles and orchestras.
He founded the KFM Symphonic Pops series in 1996 which premiered at the Spier Arts Festival and is a founding member of the Cape Town Pops Orchestra. John has been Musical Director on an array of productions featuring top South African stars, often with international guests. Of special mention are the 2008 South African Loerie Awards; the 2012 Heineken All Stars (involving collaborations between DJ's and orchestra) and the Heineken Symphonic Rocks concerts. John has arranged the music and conducted the orchestra for the Gideon Du Plessis Charity Day held every year at Fancourt in the Southern Cape, and in recent years has been intimately involved in the production of the annual First National Bank Starlight Pop Opera concerts with the KZN Philharmonic and wrote and produced the KZN orchestra's Philharmonic Rock concerts. He composed an Overture to commemorate the gala opening of the Denis Hurley Centre in Durban in 2014 performed by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra and guests.
Until March 2013 John was Head of Music at the South African College Schools (SACS) and was subsequently appointed Manager of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra until August 2018. He has been writing orchestral music for many years and has an impressive list of clients and credits, and he has a large library of music available for hire including the full body of orchestral arrangements and compositions of the late Gerry Bosman.
1995: MD for the BMW 740i launch at the BMW/Imax Pavilion
1996/7: co-wrote and co-produced the Radio KFM Symphonic Pops concerts for the Spier Summer Festival (two sold out performances) - artists: Kim Kallie & Zayn Adam. CPO conducted by George Michie
1997/8: co-wrote and co-produced the Radio KFM Symphonic Pops concerts for the Spier Summer Festival (three sold out performances) - artists: Judith Sephuma & Leslie Kleinsmith. CPO conducted by George Michie
1999 (Jan): co-wrote and co-produced the Radio KFM Symphonic Pops concerts at the Velodrome - played to 18 000 fans at three performances. Artists: Judith Sephuma, Sue Pienaar & Cliff Benton. CTPO conducted by George Michie
1999 (June): MD's, conducted and wrote modern version of The Pirates of Penzance which ran at the Baxter Theatre for three weeks to critical acclaim
1999 (Dec): co-wrote and co-produced the KFM Symphonic Pops concerts at the Velodrome - played to 18 000 screaming fans at three performances. Artists: Judith Sephuma, Sue Pienaar, Denay Willie, Neville Diedricks, T J Simon & Cliff Benton. CTPO conducted by Bernhard Gueller
2000: Founded the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra with Bernhard Gueller (now musical director of the Symphony Novia Scotia and Hallifax as well as the Nurnberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany).
2000: Conceptualized and produced the Planets Symphonic Spectacular (similar to Disney's "Fantasia") together with Bernhard Gueller and Rene Hermans (Catapult Advertising Studios) which played to critical acclaim at Ratanga Junction with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra 2002: wrote, produced and conducted Radio KFM's "Best Hits & Memories" show for the Hermanus Whale Festival
2002: co-produced Abdullah Ibrahim in concert with the CTSO performing his African Suite under the baton of Bernhard Gueller
2002: produced the grand finale to the Spier Summer Festival - The Ellington Sacred Concerts
2001-2003: wrote and arranged light music concerts in which I conducted the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra together with various soloists
2004: wrote and produced the KZNPO's Philharmonic Rock concerts at the Playhouse in Durban.
1996 - present: commissioned to write arrangements internationally for artists working in a variety of settings from cruise liner cabaret shows to every conceivable local production ranging from a "Rave" for the Stuyvesandt brand to full orchestral productions (eg: Yvonne Chaka Chaka at Kirstenbosch); worked as a pianist (e.g.: played for the Australian World Tour Production of Les Miseables and was the Late Gerry Bosman's pianist and worked in the function band: Razzmatazz), conductor, writer and producer....
Here is a clip of Amy Walton singing John's arrangement of "My Baby Just Cares For Me" at Fancourt in November 2015 accompanied by the Cape Town Pops Orchestra.