Stellenbosch University Choir


Stellenbosch University Choir
DirectorAndré van der Merwe (2003–)
AffiliationStellenbosch University

The Stellenbosch University Choir (Afrikaans: Stellenbosch Universiteitskoor) is a Choir affiliated with Stellenbosch University. Founded in 1936, it is the oldest choir in South Africa.[1] The choir is viewed as a leading South African choral ensemble and has toured overseas extensively where it has won critical acclaim for its performances.[2][3][4][5] The current conductor, André van der Merwe, was appointed at the beginning of 2003.[6]


The choir was founded in 1936 by William Morris and has established itself as one of the best choirs in South Africa and the world.[7][8]


The current conductor of the choir is André van der Merwe (since 2003).[9] Previous conductors include William Morris (1936-1939), who founded the choir in 1936, Gawie Cillie (1939-1955), Prof. Philip McLachlan (1956-1975), Prof. Johan de Villiers (1976-1984), Acama Fick (1985-1992), the first woman to conduct the choir, and Sonja van der Walt (1993-2002).[10]

Notable Achievements

Interkultur World Rankings

As of 2020, the Stellenbosch University Choir is rated as the top amateur choir in the world by the Interkultur Foundation world ranking system, with a maximum possible score of 1272 points, a position the choir has held since October 2012[11][12][13][14] The choir is also placed in the top 10 rankings for various categories, namely, first in the Mixed Choirs category (1272 points), first in the Sacred Music & Music of the Religions category (1233 points), and first in the Pop, Jazz, Gospel, Spiritual & Barber Shop category (1234 points).[15]

World Choir Games

The choir first attended the Interkultur World Choir Games in 2004, at the 3rd World Choir Games held in Bremen, Germany.[16]

Because of their conductor, André van der Merwe, being appointed as the chairperson of the National Artistic Committee for the 2018 World Choir Games held in Tshwane, South Africa, the choir did not participate in the competition. The choir did however perform as a demonstration- and show choir during the event.[17]

Category Points Result
3rd World Choir Games, Bremen, Germany (2004)[18]
Mixed Youth Choirs 93.13 (Gold) Category winner
Folklore A Cappella 85.75 (Gold) 4th Place
5th World Choir Games, Graz, Austria (2008)[19]
Mixed Youth Choirs 85.25 (Gold) 4th Place
Musica Sacra (Open) 92.13 (Gold) Category winner
Gospel & Spiritual (Open) 92.13 (Gold) Runner-up
6th World Choir Games, Shaoxing, China (2010)[20]
Mixed Choirs 95.75 (Gold) Category winner
Musica Contemporanea 90.88 (Gold) Category winner
7th World Choir Games, Cincinnati, Ohio (2012)[21]
Mixed Choirs 93.50 (Gold) Category winner
Musica Sacra 96.88 (Gold) * Category winner
Popular Choral Music 91.25 (Gold) Runner-up
8th World Choir Games, Riga, Latvia (2014)[22]
Mixed Choirs 99.00 (Gold) * Category winner
Musica Sacra with Accompaniment 95.63 (Gold) Category winner
Spiritual 98.38 (Gold) * Category winner
9th World Choir Games, Sochi, Russia (2016)[23]
Musica Sacra A Cappella 92.75 (Gold) Category winner
Musica Contemporanea 98.25 (Gold) Category winner
Spiritual 96.88 (Gold) Category winner

* World Choir Games record

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

The choir's first attendance of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, in Llangollen, Wales was in 2018 where they won all three categories they competed in. The choir was also invited to perform in the coveted International Celebration Concert at the event. [24]

Category Points Result
A2 Youth Choirs 95.70 Category winner
A1 Mixed Choirs 92.00 Category winner
A5 Open Choirs 95.30 Category winner


At the 9th World Choir Games in 2016, the choir was awarded the Hänssler-INTERKULTUR CD Award, as the best choir at the event.[26] The award includes an album deal with the Hänssler Classic record label.[27]


  1. ^ "Stellenbosch University Choir". Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  2. ^ "Stellenbosch University Choir". Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  3. ^ "WCG 2016 Champions".
  4. ^ "South Africa - land of singing".
  5. ^ "Stellenbosch University Department of Music".
  6. ^ "USK Conductor".
  7. ^ "USK History".
  8. ^ "USK Today". Archived from the original on 7 December 2011.
  9. ^ "USK History".
  10. ^ "The choir yesterday". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  11. ^ "A list of the world's best amateur choirs". Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Interkultur World Rankings".
  13. ^ "WCG 2016 Champions".
  14. ^ "South Africa - land of singing".
  15. ^ "INTERKULTUR World Rankings: INTERKULTUR". Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  16. ^ "World Choir Games Results".
  17. ^ "Meet the World in Africa".
  18. ^ "3rd World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  19. ^ "5th World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  20. ^ "6th World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  21. ^ "7th World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  22. ^ "8th World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  23. ^ "9th World Choir Games Results" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Stellenbosch University Choir wins big in Wales".
  25. ^ "2018 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Results".
  26. ^ "WCG 2016 Champions".
  27. ^ "Hänssler-Interkultur CD Award 2016".