André van der Merwe is a conductor and composer from Cape Town, South Africa. He is often invited to perform as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician nationally and internationally.
André initially studied BMus at the University of Cape Town, but after an injury to his hand, he changed course and studied BA Drama (Directing) at Stellenbosch University. From 1990 to 1996, André directed theatre productions for the Grahamstown International Arts Festival and the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn. He received national awards and prizes as actor and director.
Currently André conducts two choirs:
- The Stellenbosch University Choir, which is the oldest choir in South Africa, founded in 1936. The choir is currently ranked number 1 on the Interkultur World Ranking List of the top 1 000 amateur choirs in the world.
- The Stellenberg Girls Choir, which has won numerous first places in national and international choral competitions since its inception. The choir is currently ranked number 12 on the Interkultur World Ranking List of the top 1 000 amateur choirs in the world.
André also established the South African Youth Choir in 2005. He conducted this group until 2012. The choir was a first for South Africa as it comprised high school learners from all over the country and the members reflected the true demographics of South Africa. The choir often performed for parliament and won numerous national and international choral awards.
In 2012, André was selected as the South African representative on the World Choir Council for Interkultur. In the same year, he received a ministerial cultural award from the Western Cape Government for his work with choirs and the youth of South Africa, as well as a civic honorary award from the City of Cape Town for his work with choirs.
In July 2018, André won the award for the best conductor at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales.