University of Johannesburg Choirmaster, Renette Bouwer is the recipient of a 2012 Afrikaans Taal en Kultuur Verenging (ATKV) award for her contribution as a respected choral expert promoting choral singing locally and internationally.
“With a musician as talented as Renette Bouwer, it is almost impossible to determine the impact of her work on people as well as the genres in which she specialises, especially in the field of choral work. She still plays an outstanding role to promote the performing arts in this area and the process, she contributes to making the world around her a better place,” said Gouws. He added, “It is therefore a privilege for the ATKV to honour Renette Bouwer for her contribution as respected choral expert promoting choral singing locally and internationally. In this way, through the performing arts, she delivers an invaluable contribution to the ATKV vision aimed at building a successful South Africa.”
Bouwer graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BMus degree, with organ and piano as her major instruments, specializing in composition. She received her BMus (Honours) from UNISA in 1990 and her Master’s Degree in Conducting through the University of Stellenbosch in 2009. She has worked with many choirs. Under her baton the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) Choir won the Eleventh International Choir Competition for Advent and Christmas Music in Prague in 2001. They not only won the category for Large Choirs but also beat 43 other choirs for the overall prize. In 2006 the University of Johannesburg Choir won a golden award at the same competition and was also awarded a special jury prize for multicultural achievement. In 2008 UJ Choir was the only South African choir invited to sing at the 8th World Symposium for Choral Music in Copenhagen, Denmark. On their way to the symposium, they won the category for Traditional music in Pardubice, Czech Republic and also won second prize (gold) for “Sacred Music” – a category exclusive for Western music. In Miltenberg, Germany, they won the category for Traditional, Spiritual and Gospel music.
Having worked closely with the ATKV over many years as adjudicator and workshop facilitator Bouwer feels their impact on the development of choral music in South Africa is immeasurable. “To be recognised by the ATKV with such a prestigious award is a great honour,” she says. “My dream is to inspire young singers from all walks of life and culture groups, to set their differences aside and unite in creating vocal music – in tune, in style and from the heart,” she adds.
Currently Bouwer works with voices from different cultural backgrounds, proving the flexibility of the voice and adaptability of young singers to different styles of music. In addition to her involvement with choirs, she has performed as soloist in numerous oratoria locally and abroad and has been involved in creating sound tracks for television documentaries. She has also released several CD’s with choirs, ensembles and as soloist.