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​A Decade of Chorale Beauty: The University of Johannesburg Choir

Putting the Johannesburg city on international stages, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Choir has blossomed into a musical hybrid that reflects the diversified cultures of the unique South African flavour.

The Choir was formed at the beginning of 2005 out of the former RAU Choir and Chorale. Boasting a body of singers who study in a variety of fields from 8 of the academic faculties at the University (none of which offers studies in music), the Choir has accumulated a number of significant accolades over the years.

During November and December 2006, the UJ Choir toured Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Belgium and the Netherlands to promote the UJ abroad, where they won a Gold Award at the 16th International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music, including a special jury prize for Multicultural Achievement.

In 2007 the UJ Choir performed The Armed Man - A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins in the Johannesburg City Hall with four other choirs and Jenkins conducting.

The Choir was the only South African choir to perform at the 8th World Choral Symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark and also won the category for Traditional Music at two international choir competitions in 2008.

In 2010 UJ Choir performed Karl Jenkins' Stabat Mater with Jenkins conducting. This electric performance resulted in them being invited to perform this work again at New York in the famous Carnegie Hall four months later.

Since the Choir's birth in 2005, it has managed to release 7 CDs and tour places such as Namibia (2011), Cape Town (2012), KwaZulu-Natal (2013) and Mpumalanga (2014).

This year, the UJ Choir has been on tour to Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria – taking part in various festivals and competitions. They received two Gold Awards and Overall Grand Prix recognition at the Slovakia Folk competition held in Bratislava.

On 12 February 2016, the Choir met once more for a 'UJ Alumni Choir Celebration', whereby Alumni were invited to sing together once more. This concert was a gesture dedicated to all those who have in one way or another contributed to the growth and evolution of the Choir over the past 11 years and beyond.

Click here to read full 'UJ Alumni Choir Celebration' Concert article, or watch short performance video at:



Ms Renette Bouwer: UJ Choir Master

Renette Bouwer graduated from the University of Pretoria with a B.Mus. degree, with organ and piano as her major instruments, specialising in Composition. She received her B.Mus. (Hons.) degree from UNISA in 1990 and her M.Mus. degree in Conducting through the University of Stellenbosch in 2009.

Under her baton the RAU and UJ Choir won numerous awards and performed at the 8th World Choral Symposium in Denmark in 2008. Her work as conductor of the UJ Choir where she works with voices from different cultural backgrounds proves the flexibility of the voice and adaptability of young singers to different styles of music.

Apart from her involvement with choirs, she has performed as soloist in numerous oratoria locally and abroad (Luxembourg, St. Petersburg).  Her choral arrangements are sung all over the world. She has released more than 16 CD's with choirs, ensembles and as soloist.

Renette is highly regarded as adjudicator and has been on the panel of adjudicators for ATKV Applous Finals for more nearly two decades. Some of her achievements include being part of the jury at the World Choir Games in Cincinnati in 2012 as well as in 2014 in Riga, Latvia – while being the recipient of a special award from the ATKV for her outstanding contribution to choral music in South Africa in 2012.