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André van der Merwe receives Chancellor’s award

André van der Merwe – the conductor of the internationally celebrated Stellenbosch University for the past 17 years – will be honoured with a Chancellor’s Award.

The prestigious Chancellor’s Award gives recognition to Stellenbosch University staff whose careers attest to sustained excellence in research, innovation, learning and teaching, social impact and professional services.

Achievements of the SU Choir under André’s directorship include the following:

  •  At the World Choir Games in Riga, Latvia, in 2014, the choir won all three of their competition categories, achieving the highest mark in the history of the competition with 99%.
  • At the World Choir Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2016, the choir once again won all three of their competition categories.
  • At the 2018 Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales, the choir competed in the categories for Open, Youth, and Mixed Choirs and won all three categories. André won the award for Best Conductor.

The SU Choir is ranked number one on the Interkultur World Ranking List of the top 1000 amateur international choirs, a position they have held for the past 6 years.

Van der Merwe is elated about the award: “The Chancellor’s Award is a wonderful surprise in a difficult year. It is actually an award for teamwork. The choir is managed by the Toyota SU Woordfees. And they do it with so much integrity. The Woordfees team and the broader Stellenbosch University create a space for the choir to spread its wings.

I dedicate this award to each and every member of the choir who travelled this road with me in the past 17 years. I believe the SU Choir is an instrument of hope and nation-building.”

Saartjie Botha, Director of the Toyota SU Woordfees and WOW, shares André’s joy: “Nobody listens to the SU Choir without being moved. André van der Merwe elevated the proud choir tradition of Stellenbosch University to the international stage. Where the choir performs, bridges are built. A choir, however, is only as good as its conductor. We salute André for the profound impact he has made and for his extraordinary talent.”

Van der Merwe will receive the award at a graduation ceremony on 14 December 2020. There are fourteen other recipients of the Chancellor’s Award this year.

Click here to read more about Andre’s career..

For more information or to arrange an interview with André van der Merwe, contact Corné Kruger at: sing@sun.ac.za

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