Johan de Villiers is an Extraordinary Professor of Mathematics at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and has authored two textbooks in Mathematics. His excellence as entrepreneurial choral conductor has earned him wide recognition in South Africa and abroad. During his eight-year tenure as conductor of the Stellenbosch University Choir (1977 – 1984) he, along with the Choir, undertook extensive overseas concert tours to England, Austria, Germany and Israel. Johan researched choral training and conducting techniques at Northwestern University in Evanston, USA and also studied choral conducting under Lorna de Varon at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, USA and under Robert Fountain at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
After conducting several choirs for specific occasions during the years 1985 to 1988, Johan founded the Libertas Choir in 1989 to engender a new spirit of trust in a country with historically divided communities. For his contribution he received a merit award for outstanding cultural service from the Western Cape Government.
In 1995 he served on the Commission responsible for establishing a new South African National Anthem. The new Anthem is a combination of Enoch Sontonga’s well-known “N’kosi Sikeleli Africa” and of the erstwhile Anthem, “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika”. The latter, as a matter of historical interest, was composed by Johan’s grandfather, M.L. de Villiers, in 1920.
Johan has conducted the Libertas Choir, together with various orchestras, in several performances of major oratorios. He regularly acts as adjudicator at choir festivals and Eisteddfods. In 2010 and 2018 he received official recognition from, respectively, the society of alumni of Stellenbosch University, the Convocation, and the club of ex-chairmen of the student council of Stellenbosch University, for his contribution towards the promotion of choral music. In addition, he was a recipient in 2015 of a special medal of honour awarded by die South African Academy for Science and Art.