ABOUT OUR CONDUCTORS

Gerard’d du Toit – Conductor, Artistic Director

Gerard'd du Toit

Gérard’d du Toit is an International figure in the Choral world who has drawn attention when he conducted the Drakensberg Boys’ choir in Europe in 1988, Namibia and South Africa from 1985-1989.  His involvement with the Drakensberg Boys Choir school led to his post graduate studies at the University of Pretoria specialising in choral conducting and writing a thesis on the formal training of the boys voice when mutating.

It his energetic and spirited leadership with the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir and the University of UKZN Bel Canto Chamber Choir from 1996 that led to examining and adjudicating in Europe such as Estonia (2004, 2007);  presenting a week long choral course on South African Choral music in Ljubljana (Slovenia) under the auspices of the  Ljubljana Madrigalisti (2005), acting as the SA partner of the Choir World Games in Xiamen, China (2006), and on the jury at the prestigious Cecilia Seghizzi International Choir Competition (Gorizia, Italy 2010).

His interest in Folk Song encouraged him to investigate the song festival phenomena in Estonia. His has an instinctive appreciation for Folklore around the world specifically from the Baltic States, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Greece, Russia, Bulgaria, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Japan, China, The Phillipiness and the USA.

As International clinician Gérard’d lectured Conductors on How to prepare a choir for an International competition, Stylistic interpretation of Choral Works, and Conducting techniques from beginner to advanced conducting techniques. Gérard’d conducted the SA National Youth Choir in 1997 and attended Advanced Masterclasses in Conducting (Marktoberdorf 2001) by Prof Volker Hempfling, Jonathan Velasco and Branko Stark (2006) and Robert Sund, Sweden, (1997, 2002, 2006). Awards includes : Outstanding Choral Conductor by the South African Choral Society in 2005 and conductor maestro at the International Antonio Vivaldi Choir Competition in Karpenissi, Greece  2011. In July 2013 the KZN Youth Choir travelled to Florence, Italy to compete in the Florence International Choir Festival where 18 other choirs from around the world took part.  This festival was aimed at professional choirs, so they were extremely honoured to be chosen to take part.  They were awarded the following prizes: Gold in the Chamber Choir Category, Gold for Best Female Soloist (Pearl Khwezi) and Gold for Best Contemporary Arrangement (Gerard’d du Toit for “Sounds of Africa”), Silver in the Sacred Music Category, Fourth in the Popular, Folk and Gospel Category as well as Fourth in the Youth Choir Category.

Following the KZN Youth Choir’s success in the Bydgoszcz Musical Impressions competition & festival in Poland in 2015, Gerard’d was invited to be a member of the jury at the 2016 International BIM Music Festival & Competition in Poland.

Gérard’d du Toit believes that the KZN Youth choir only benefits when working in collaboration with a composer. He is an admirer of the work of Prof Hendrik Hofmeyer (UCT), and the choir has performed works with the permission of the composer.  Other composers include Jüri-Ruut Kangur (Estonia) and the South African born composer,  Enrico Gerber who lives in the UK.

Gérard’d du Toit is married to Hèlène and is the father of three.

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