Cape Town Youth Choir

Cape Town Youth Choir

The Cape Town Youth Choir (formerly known as the Pro Cantu Youth Choir) is proud to provide an opportunity to young South Africans to sing in a choir of the highest international standards whilst delivering a moving musical experience to its audiences.

Since it was founded in 1997 the choir has proven itself both in South Africa and on the international stage. In 2002 they were awarded the title “Choir of the World” at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales.

In June 2006 the choir won a gold medal and was placed second in the Mixed Youth Choir category at the 4th World Choir Games (formerly known as the Choir Olympics) in Xiamen, China.

In January 2008 the youth choir took take part in a performance of “The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace” by composer Karl Jenkins in Carnegie Hall, New York. Later that year, in July, they participated in the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria. At this competition they were awarded two gold medals. Together with other category winners they also received the title “World Choir Games Champion” on winning the Musica Sacra category.

A European concert tour in June 2011 ended with the choir being awarded two gold medals at the Second Grand Prix of Choral Music in Graz.

The repertoire of the choir represents three hundred years of choral singing – from the greatest Renaissance works to folk songs from all over the world and challenging 20th century choir music. The choir has been stretching the boundaries of choral music in the country by performing the South African premieres of Arvo Pärt’s complete St Johns Passion and the first Afrikaans translation of Rachmaninoff’s Verspers.

In addition, the choir has also been constantly promoting the work of numerous South African composers such as Péter Louis van Dijk, Mzilikazi Khumalo, Hendrik Hofmeyr, Sidumo Jacobs, Peter Klatzow, Mokoale Koapeng, Hans Roosenschoon and Roelof Temmingh.

Leon Starker has been the musical director since the end of 2003 when he succeeded Andre van der Merwe as conductor.

Up until 2009, roughly two thirds of the choir members were still in high school. In recent years the choir’s demographic composition has shifted so that currently the majority of choristers are from the city centre region and southern suburbs. This prompted a move from the northern suburbs to the city centre.

At the same time the choir changed its age restriction policy to be more in line with international conventions. Currently the choir accepts members between the ages of sixteen and thirty. Over the past 15 years “Pro Cantu” had grown into a beloved, strong and internationally recognised brand. However, the name had certain limitations as it could be perceived as highly esoteric and even exclusive. Not only are there other European choirs with the same name, but also similar sounding names. 

Changing its name to the Cape Town Youth Choir was a logical next step in the history of the choir.  Not only has the choir become truly representative of the inhabitants of Cape Town, it also reflects the city’s commitment to excellence.

Says Leon Starker: ‘We are now operating under the name Cape Town Youth Choir – there is and can be only one choir with that name. We know that we deliver the same musical experience that we did under the previous name. Finally, we have retained “Pro Cantu” as our motto. It means “for singing” – and it is through singing that the choir makes new friends and each chorister is empowered to find his or her own voice.”

Published 13 September 2012

Contact Person:
Leon Starker
Cape Town
Postal Address:
PO Box 12232
Mill Street
Cape Town

+27 (0)86 6018699

+27 (0)82 571 4263
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