Ralf Schmitt is a South African musician, conductor, composer and producer. He started his musical career as a chorister in the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir. After completing his schooling at Kearsney College, he commenced his music studies at the University of Pretoria and obtained a BMus degree specialising in Jazz Vocals.
Ralf is renowned as a specialist of African choral music, and his arrangements and compositions are regularly broadcasted and performed both locally and abroad. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup Ralf worked with Shakira on the vocal arrangements of the official World Cup song, ‘Waka Waka’.
Ralf has a passion for the preservation and promotion of indigenous South African folk music. His fieldwork, transcriptions, and arrangements have resulted in the publication of two traditional music songbooks.
Ralf is currently the conductor and co founder of the Ndlovu Youth Choir. He is best known for leading the Ndlovu Youth Choir to the final of Americas Got Talent, Season 14. The choir’s debut album co-produced by Ralf debuted at number on the South African iTunes chart. The choir’s performance of his arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ won the 2019 Hollywood Music and Media Award.
Ralf has acted as adjudicator at various national and international music competitions, most notably at the Aarhus Vocal Festival, which was hosted by the Danish Royal Academy of Music. He has presented lively interactive workshops on South African music at schools, universities and festivals in Argentina, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Tanzania, Singapore and the United States of America.
His arrangements and compositions have featured in international productions including the FIFA World Cup Final (Johannesburg) IYCF (Royal Albert Hall, London) Toronto National Exhibition (Canada) Americas Got Talent (Los Angeles) Celtic Festival (Guildhall, London) the New Orleans Jazz Festival (USA). He has also worked on international productions for Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and Celtic Women.