|Renette Bouwer, choral director of the University of Johannesburg Choir (UJ), was selected by Musical Movements, to represent Africa as one of their esteemed international advisors and adjudicators.
Musical Movements, an international company initiating choral festivals across the world for more than 20 years, is introducing competitions as part of their projects. Choirs will compete in Europe, South America, Washington DC and South Africa, for prizes that include both monetary and trophy awards. The overall best choir will win a newly commissioned work in honour of them. Musical Movements’ South African choral festival, Ihlombe, is taking place from 11- 21 July 2013.
Bouwer joins other advisors that include prominent conductors such as Philip Brunelle (North America), Simon Carrington (Europe), Oscar Escalada (South America), Vitautis Miskinis (Europe), Aida Swenson (Asia) and Andrew Wailes (Australia). In 2012, Bouwer was honoured by the Afrikaans Taal en Kultuur Vereniging (ATKV) for her contribution towards choral singing in South Africa. She is a regular adjudicator at choral competitions in South Africa and abroad. Under her baton many choirs have excelled locally and internationally.
Bouwer graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BMus degree, with organ and piano as her major instruments, specialising 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.
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 UJ Choir won a golden award at the same competition as well as a special jury prize for multicultural achievement. In 2008, the 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 exclusively for Western music. In Miltenberg, Germany, they won the category for Traditional, Spiritual and Gospel music.
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 CDs with choirs, ensembles and as a soloist.