Stellenbosch University Choir

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Stellenbosch University Choir
Founded 1936
Genre Varied
Members 80–140
Affiliation Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University Choir (Afrikaans: Stellenbosch Universiteitskoor) is a Choir attached to Stellenbosch University. Founded in 1936, it is the oldest choir in South Africa.[1] The current conductor, André van der Merwe, was appointed at the beginning of 2003.[2] The Stellenbosch University Choir has toured overseas extensively and won critical acclaim for its performances.[3] The choir is viewed as a leading South African choral ensemble.[4][5][6] In October 2016, the choir celebebrated its 80th anniversary with a reunion.[7]


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.[8][9]


The current conductor of the choir is André van der Merwe (since 2003).[10] 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).[11]

Notable Achievements[edit]

Interkultur World Rankings[edit]

Stellenbosch University Choir is currently rated as the top amateur choir in the world by the Interkultur Foundation world ranking system, with a score of 1260 points out of a possible 1272 points.[12][13][14][15] The choir is also placed in the top 10 rankings for various categories, namely ninth in the Children's and Youth Choirs category, first in the Mixed Choirs category, first in the Sacred Music & Music of the Religions category, and first in the Pop, Jazz, Gospel, Spiritual & Barber Shop category.[16]

World Choir Games[edit]

Stellenbosch University Choir first attended the Interkultur World Choir Games in 2004, at the 3rd World Choir Games held in Bremen, Germany.[17]

Category Result Position
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


At the 9th World Choir Games in 2016, the choir was awarded the Hänssler-INTERKULTUR CD Award, as the best choir at the event.[24] The award includes an album deal with the Hänssler Classic record label.[25]