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Louis van der Watt

By September 15, 2016May 22nd, 2021Uncategorized

Louis van der Watt was appointed at the University of Stellenbosch in 2000 and is currently senior lecturer in violin and viola and head of the strings department. He started his violin tuition at the age of 10 with Jack de Wet and has played in orchestras from a young age. He obtained the BA and BA Hons (Philosophy) degrees at the University of the Free State, both cum laude. During his student years at UFS he was member of the Free State Symphony Orchestra, member and chairperson of the university choir, as well as member of the Students’ Representative Council. He received the Dux Award for highest academic achievement at the university in his honours year.

Louis continued his studies at the University of Stellenbosch, receiving both his BTh degree and Licentiate in Theology cum laude. He furthered his violin studies under Eric Rycroft and passed the UNISA Teacher’s Licentiate and the Royal Schools Performer’s and Teacher’s Licentiates, with distinction. He also passed the UNISA final examination in organ, with distinction. During this time he was member of the US String Ensemble (USSE) and concertmaster of the US Symphony Orchestra (USSO), and performed as soloist with these orchestras. At the same time, he was Vice-chairperson of the university choir, Warden of Majuba Men’s Residence and member of the Theological Students’ Representative Council.

From 1971-1984 he was member of the SA National Youth Symphony Orchestra, followed by a permanent position in the then CAPAB Orchestra. He was an extra player for the Cape Town and NAPAC Symphony Orchestras as well as concertmaster of the Cape Town Chamber Orchestra. He was also member of the Libertas Choir.

Louis was head of the strings department at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre from 1986-1998, during which his pupils won all the major competitions in South Africa. He established the Hugo Lambrechts Strings Orchestra, achieving great results at eisteddfodau and even joining the Libertas Choir in six performances of Handel’s Messiah when the average age of the orchestra members was 13 years. He obtained the degrees BMus at UNISA and BMus (Hons) (cum laude) at Stellenbosch University during this period.

From 1996 to 2018 he was the conductor of Canticum Novum Choir, which was invited to take part in a performance of the Mozart Coronation Mass in Carnegie Hall, New York, in April 2015. He is guest conductor of the USSO and was guest conductor of the string orchestra at the annual South African Youth Orchestra Course for many years. Louis is a former conductor of the Tygerberg Civic Choir and has acted as conductor for Schola Cantorum, the academic choir of the US Music Department.

Thanks to his interest in church music – he has been full-time church organist since 1981 – he completed his MMus in Church Music (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch in 2011. He was awarded his PhD from Stellenbosch University in 2020.

Louis performs regularly as member of the US Camerata and also plays the Baroque violin and Baroque viola as member of the US Baroque Ensemble and as ad hoc member of Camerata Tinta Barocca. He is a UNISA examiner (all instruments) and acts as external examiner at numerous universities across South Africa, as well as at the Windhoek Conservatoire. He regularly serves as adjudicator for various eisteddfodau across the country as well as major national music competitions.

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