Schalk van der Merwe
Schalk van der Merwe started his undergraduate music studies in 2011 at the University of Pretoria, majoring in orchestral conducting under Dutch conductor Gerben Grooten. Besides orchestral conducting, his BMus studies also included violin, voice, composition, theory, and choral conducting.
In 2019 he won the 4th Len van Zyl Conductor’s competition and was awarded with an internship at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the United States and the opportunity to study with Russian Conductor Victor Yampolsky at the Northwestern University in Chicago, USA.
Schalk has been active as conductor since 2011 and currently holds the positions of principal conductor of the Capital Chamber Orchestra, principal conductor of the Symphony Chorus of Pretoria, and artistic director of the Sempre Opera Company. He has also served as the interim conductor for the University of Pretoria Symphony Orchestra and associate conductor of the Pretoria Symphony Orchestra. Schalk has conducted orchestras such as the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cape Town Philharmonic, and the South African National Youth Orchestra in concert.
In 2015 he had the privilege to act as Maestro Gérard Korsten’s assistant, a task he recently continued in Austria where he worked with the maestro and the Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra in Bregenz and toured with the orchestra. He also worked with conductor Enrico Delamboye in Koblenz, Germany.
Schalk is a passionate educator and teaches violin, piano and voice. He believes that investing in young people from an early age cultivates an appreciation for the arts and contributes to a balanced, educated society. In 2016 he launched his own production company, Mustro Productions, which assembles orchestras and ensembles, stages operas and other classical music concerts in order to provide job opportunities for young South African musicians.