Choirs 2016

Apollo Choir – Slovakia

Director: Milan Kolena
Categories: ‘B’ (Mixed Choirs) D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual) E (Sacred Music)

Apollo Choir 2016The choir Apollo was established in 1995 and in a short time the choir made considerable strides, achieving notoriety in Slovakia and receiving many awards at festivals and international competitions e.g. in Prague (1998), Český Krumlov (2002), Olomouc (2005). The choir often gives performances at prestigious local and international events. Apollo has toured Italy and other countries performing concerts at festivals in Citta´ di Nuoro, Rome, Fano, Loreto, Olbia; Poznan, Poland; Banja Luka, Bosna Hercegovina; Szeged, Miskolc, Hungary; Munich, Germany; Prague, Olomouc, Brno and Pardubice, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria as well as in many Slovak towns. The choir´s repertoire focuses on current sacred Slovakian works; the choir interprets extensive pieces by outstanding Slovak composer Pavol Krška. The Apollo repertoire also includes sacred choruses from the Gregorian Chant period, as well as Renaissance and Romantic period selections; spirituals, folksongs and carols in choir arrangements. Choir Apollo has recorded a CD of Anton Bruckner works – Moteta in 2003 and made a recording of Pavol Krška´s Rekviem for two choirs, sola and organ in 2012. In 2015 the choir won four 1st prizes and two special prizes (for performance of Renaissance music and the best conductor) at the international competition “Singing World” in St. Petersburg, Russia. Facebook page. Homepage.


Second Polyhymnia Choir – Japan

Director: Suzuyo Tani
Category: D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)

“The Second Polyhymnia” is a new choir formed two years ago consisting of the alumni members of the high school.  During their high school days, the members used to practice singing hard as a part of school activities and used to participate in the big student choral competitions in Japan and won numerous awards.  The high school choir was called “Polyhymnia Choir” after a Goddess of Greek mythology meaning responsible for the anthem and eloquence by the first principal of their high school.  After fifty years of our lives after graduation, they reunited two years ago.  Although each member is at different ages and each has different experiences, their common passion for music, especially singing was still unchanged in their minds.  Hence they named the new choir “The Second Polyhymnia”.  This is so to speak their second adolescence, or renaissance.  Since then the choir has been practicing under the guidance by Suzuyo Tani who is an excellent choral conductor and also is one of the high school graduates.  Together they are trying to sharpen their choir skills by singing Japanese children’s songs, local folk songs and Japanese popular songs based on their lives and the original scenery of Japan.  By singing “The Second Polyhymnia” share the pleasure of their lives and their nostalgia.


Vokalna Skupina Domen – Slovenia

Director: Karmen Banko
Categories: ‘A’ (Equal Voices Choirs) D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)
Vokalna Skupina Domen

Vocal Group Domen was founded in 1994. Their first repertoire included mostly folk songs, later on more choral works from different  composers and styles were added. In the ollowing years they received various awards, including 3 silver plaquettes at the Slovenian choir competition Naša pesem 2001, 2003 and 2007. In 2001 the group was also awarded as The best male choir at the same competition. The group has performed together with Symphonic orchestra RTV Slovenija. The Artistic director of Vocal group Domen is Karmen Banko. She has been leading  children, youth and mixed choirs for over 30 years. Under her leadership the group achieved a prominent place among vocal groups in Slovenija. In 2015 Vokalna Skupina Domen attended at International choir competition ‘Aurora Cantat’ in Croatia and they achived best score in 2 categories (Sacred music, folk songs) Their score ha salso been the highest score of all competitors. Their artistic director Karmen Banko was also awarded for exceptional artistic impression for the performance of the choir. Link to homepage.  Link to Facebook page.


Druskininkai – Lithuania

Director: Inga Vagnoriūtė
Category: ‘B’ (Mixed Voices)
Druskininkai Vocal EnsembleDruskininkai Vocal Ensemble was founded in 2015 at the M.K.Čiurlionis School of Art in Druskininkai, Lithuania, by Inga Vagnoriūtė. Most of the singers are current members of the Druskininkai mixed-voice choir. The ensemble has already performed many successful concerts both in and out of the Lithuania. The group‘s repertoire covers all epochs of choral music, from ancient music to modern choral literature. The Ensemble also seeks creative collaborations with other groups and organisations. In November 2015 some members of this group travelled to represent Lithuanian choral music in Netherlands. Druskininkai Vocal Ensemble has also performed some songs and opuses together with the chamber choir from Alkmaar. Druskininkai Vocal Ensemble is a young singing group but rapidly improving and seeking to have big ambitions in the future.

Vox Caelestis – Hungary

Director: Veleria Szebelled
Categories: ‘B’ (Mixed Choirs) D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)
Vox CaelestisThe Vox Caelestis choir has been operating in its present form since 2009 being established by its managing conductor Valeria Szebelledi. They soon developed an excellent professional reputation that has resulted in numerous concert invitations for festivals, events and composer nights, such as the invitation for the inauguration concert of the 2014 Budapest International Music Education Symposium. They have performed internationally three times, 2012 in Austria, 2014 in Romania and 2015 in Italy. The most prestigious achievement of the choir is the 1 st place obtained in the Mixed Voices Category of the 2012 Budapest International Choir Competition. The choir not only managed to deserve this title but was also awarded the highest points among all competing choirs from all categories. Sacred music has been frequently on the choirs repertoire offering liturgical services and individual sacred concerts as well. The conductor aims to develop a wide repertoire from old to modern music equally by Hungarian and international composers with special attention to contemporary pieces. Link to Facebook page.

 Ruta – Latvia

Director: Maruta Velicko
Category: D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)
RutaThe Ruta Women`s Choir was founded in 1967 in Daugavpils, Latvia. The very first music Director was Terezia Broka, who was replaced by Silvia Yuhnevicha in 2000. Since 2014 the choir is lead by Maruta Velichko. There are 27 members in the group including high school and Daugavpils University students and teachers, who are from 16 to 50 years old. There are plenty of songs in choir`s repertoire, mainly national songs in modern and original orchestrations, as well as international singles of the 20-21 st centuries. The biggest achievements of Ruta Women`s Choir are: 2005 – 1 st place at the Republican Competition of Women`s Choirs; 2007 – 3 rd place at the International Competition “The Field of Music Inspiration”; 2008 – laureates of the sacred music competition “Silver Voices”; 2015 – Highest score at the Regional Choirs Review. The Ruta Women`s Choir takes part in the annual Latvian Song and Dance Festival as well as in other National and International events and celebrations. The members of the choir are active, creative and attractive which helps them easily charm any public.


Pázmány Péter Catholic University Choir of the Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics – Hungary

Director: Ágnes Bércesné Novák
Categories: B’ (Mixed Choirs), D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)
Pázmány Páter Catholic University ChoirThe choir was founded in 2004 by Ágnes Bércesne Novák dr., who conducts the choir. The members are amateur singers: university regulars and PhD students, majoring mainly in informatics and bionics, some of them majoring in juridicial studies. As well as singing at masses and university celebrations, the choir gives at least 4 concerts a year, two of them in Budapest, and two in the somewhere in the country – usually in churches. During these 12 years they have given approximatively 70 concerts (counting also the university diploma and doctoral celebrations it amounts to more than 100 performences). Who sings, prays twice… we believe that musical prayer is an important part of human life, since singing is a bridge between mankind and God, and between people as well. The repertoir is wide: although the choir’s main task is to keep the sacred choral traditions of any type, we also sing secular choir-works, for example movie music as well. Link to Facebook page.

Il Calicanto – Italy

Director: Silvana Noschese
Categories: A (Equal Voices Choirs), D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)
foto calicanto.Founded as a children’s choir in 2000, it consists of singers aged between 14 and 25 years. The choir has participated in various meetings and festivals (Follonica, Teramo, Riccione, Rome, Vittorio Veneto Lignano Sabbiadoro, Marostica, Sassari). In 2011 the choir was invited to participate as one of the eight selected choirs throughout Italy to the National Youth Festival “Cantare è Giovane” in Turin; In the same year the choir attended Elisa’s Ivy tour and performed in Pala Sele in Eboli and at the Teatro Augusteo in Naples. The choir has participated in the last two editions of the Festival “Europa Cantat” (Utrecht 2009, Torino 2012 and Pècs 2015). In the “XXVII International Choir Competition and Festival Prague Cantat” (October-November 2014) the choir received the golden ribbon, as well as the Special Prize for best choreographed song. The choir was also awarded with the first prize at the 5th National Choral Competition A.M.A. Calabria in 2015; and participated in the ”XXXII concorso polifonico nazionale Guido D’Arezzo” in November 2015. In their home town Salerno the choir has performed two works by the most famous Italian composers: ”Gloria” by A. Vivaldi for soloists, chorus, strings and basso continuo, in 2015; ”Stabat Mater” by G.B. Pergolesi for soloists, choirs and instruments, in 2016. The choir regularly attends seminars and studies various vocal and choral styles with Masters of Italian and foreign choirs such as: G.Acciai, J.Busto, A.Cadario, L.Donati, M.Giorgi, S.Kuret, M.Lanaro, L .Leo, Marchetti, M.Mora, R.Paraninfo, Pozzoli, D.Tabbia. It has also attended seminars on vocal technique and psychophony with Silvie Bourel, Rossella Giacchero, Anne Gilbert, and has attended seminars on communication and group dynamics under the leadership of teachers Maria Vittoria Lanzara and Carlo Romano. Facebook page. Homepage.

Szczecin Boy’s Choir Slowiki – Poland

Director: Grzegorz Handke
Categories: ‘A’ (Equal Voices Choirs) C (Youth and Children Choirs)
Szczecin Boy's Choir "Slowiki"

The Szczecin Boy’s Choir „Slowiki” was established in 1960 under the initiative of Professor Jan Szyrocki who conducted the choir for the first 15 years. The group very soon achieved an international level and it has become an excellent cultural ambassador of Szczecin. The “Slowiki” choir has performed in the majority of the European countries, as well as in countries in the continents Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania. The choir has numerously won prestigious international competitions and festivals. The group performs old-time and contemporary music in vocal and as well as instrumental forms. The choir is still in the good shape being awarded in a lot of competitions. Grzegorz Handke, one of the first members of “Slowiki” since the establishment of the group, has been the director and conductor of the Szczecin Boy’s Choir “Slowiki” since 1-st September 2011.  In 2013 they won 2nd place in International Wroclaw Choir Festiwal „Vratislavia Sacra, took part in International Boy Choir Festival in Konakovo (Russia) and also performed in Moscov and Vilnius (Lithuania). In 2014 the choir participated in the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cantonigros and won 4th place in the Children’s Choirs category and in 2015 the choir scored 2 Silver Diplomas in the International Choir Festival “Slovakia Cantat” in Bratislava. Link to homepage.


Paduan Suara Mahasiswa Universitas Gadjah Mada – Indonesia

Director: Alfonsus Andaru
Categories: D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual, E (Sacred Music)
Paduan Suara Mahasiswa Universitas Gadjah MadaPaduan Suara Mahasiswa Universitas Gadjah Mada (Universitas Gadjah Mada Student Choir), abbreviated as PSM UGM, was established in 1971 in order to sing in protocolary events in the Gadjah Mada University, such as graduations, students’ welcoming ceremonies and similar. Based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, PSM UGM recruits singers from students all over the faculties of the university.. In order to be a world-class integrated art performer group, PSM UGM expands its activities by holding concerts and joining regional, national and international events. Every year PSM UGM holds mini concerts and grand concerts and they impress  the audiences singng a various repertoire of many eras and composers, from folksongs to pop songs; William Byrd to Ola Gjeilo and also national composers such as Budi Susanto Yohanes and Ken Steven. PSM UGM also joined and achieved good results in regional, national as well as international competitions. In 2012 and 2014, PSM UGM had consecutive great achievements by getting 3 gold medals from Musica Sacra, Spirituals/Gospels and Folklore category in a national student choir festival for church music, PESPARAWI. 2013 was the most joyful year for PSM UGM by achieving silver medal from Satya Dharma Gita National Choir Festival (SDG NCF) in Semarang, as well as awards in the festival ‘A Voyage of Songs’ in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2015, PSM UGM won 1st place in a regional choir competition held by Ministry of National Defense. Thus, PSM UGM has been a well-known student choir in Yogyakarta and Indonesia. Link to homepage Link to Facebook page.

MPZ Cantus PoPuli – Croatia

Director: Tatjana Merkl
Categories: B’ (Mixed Choirs), D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual), E (Sacred Music)

MPZ Cantus PoPuliIn one sentence Cantus PoPuli could be described as a joyful company of  friends who love singing! The origin of the choir`s name is a witty combination  of two words, originally lat.: people`s song, but it can be interpreteded as „A song throughout Pula “, as the word PoPuli contains the name of the city of Pula. MPZ Cantus PoPuli was founded by music pedagogue and conductor Tatjana Merkl, wishing to promote choral singing in the city of Pula but in a new and fresh way. This group of a capella lovers had their first rehearsal  on 28th October 2014 and already in December  2014,  Cantus PoPuli organized a few  concerts and guest performances. Cantus Populi has performed on various occations like in the international choir festival  „FAKS sings“ that took place in Rovinj, in the festival of Istrian traditional songs „Naš kanat je lip“ in Poreč and also in charity events. On 21st June 2015 Cantus PoPuli celebrated the World music day among  30 performers, with a concert of 30 minute duration that took place on Pula`s Forum, in front of the beautiful ancient edifice  The temple of Augustus. In 2015 the choir participated in the international competition Chorus Inside where they won the category sacred and polyphonic music. The choir celebrated its first birthday with a concert in the beautiful Istrian National Theatre. MPZ Cantus PoPuli’s repertory includes sacral as well as contemporary  works, reproductions of popular and rock music, soundtracks, gospel, and of course Croatian traditional music from Istra, Dalmatia and Međimurje. Homepage. Facebook page.


Mixed Choir of Paks – Hungary

Director: Krisztina Ujházy
Categories: B’ (Mixed Choirs)

Mixed Choir of PaksMixed Choir of Paks – established in 1977 – is a small town’s citizens’ association. Its members are seeking harmony in their everyday-life, singing together makes them happy and they like to grant happy minutes with it to the others.  The power of the community provides stability and the love of music continuity. The choir has 40 active members and on its repertoire beside sacred and classical compositions are pieces of cotemporary Hungarian and foreign composers as well. Since 30 May 2016 Miss Krisztina Ujházy is their conductor and the first public performance together will be in this September in Rimini. The choir’s aims are involving youth in choral singing and the dissemination of Hungarian musical culture. They have had a lot of performances at happenings and programmes in the town of Paks and at choral festivals and competitions in Hungary and abroad. They are proud of their choir festival rankings, the Silver Diploma, which they recieved at a choral competition in Italy and the Pro Urbe Award Paks. The choir has performed in Germany, Slovakia, Spain, Poland, Lithuania and Italy. Every year at a traditional advent concert they thank their town and sponsors for their support. Homepage. Facebook page.


Poznan University Of Medical Sciences Mixed Choir – Poland

Director: Przemysław Pałka
Category: E (Sacred Music)

Poznan University Of Medical Sciences Mixed ChoirThe Choir was established in 1959 by Jerzy Fischbach, doctor and conductor. The choir consists of students and graduates of the Karol Marcinkowski University of Medical Sciences and other universities in Poznan.  The choir, being an important artistic part of the Alma Mater, performs during numerous university ceremonies and actively participates in the cultural life in the city as well as in the country. The choir has received many prominent awards and distinctions in choir competitions and festivals in Poland and in Europe. Here are the latest awards “Primer Premi” – first award at II Festival Intenacional i Concurs Coral “Canco Mediterrania” in category catalan music (2012 Spain); First Prize at Balkan Folk Fest (2013 Bulgaria); II Prize and Award “Tomislav Zografski” at Ohrid Choir Festival (2014 Macedonia); Golden Diplomas in categories Sacral Music, Pop Music and Folk Music at XIX International Competition Chorus Inside Croatia (2015 Croatia). The choir has also performed in the UK, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Germany and Netherlands. The choir has made  recordings for the radio and television in Poland and abroad. The musical output of the choir consists of five albums, the latest of which was recorded in 2015.  Professor Przemysław Pałka is the conductor and artistic director of the choir since 1982.


Vatroslav Lisinski Vocal Ensemble, Renaissance Ensemble – Croatia

Director: Heda Gospodnetić
Category: D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)

Vatroslav Lisinski Vocal EnsembleThe Renaissance Ensemble was founded by Heda Gospodnetić in 1983 as a section  of the Vatroslav Lisinski Vocal Ensemble, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary and Heda Gospodnetić  celebrates her 45th anniversary of artistic work. For 33 years the RE has acted as one of the few Croatian vocal ensembles performing both secular and sacral vocal music by famous European Renaissance composers. With frequent performances at home and abroad,  it actively promotes Croatian musical heritage from the Renaissance and later periods,  as well as folk music.  Along with numerous tours in Croatia and Europe, the Ensemble has successfully participated in seven international competitions, received prestigious awards (two silver awards at Adria cantat International Folkloristic Music Choir Competition) and recorded five albums. The specificity of the Ensemble is their stage performances with the singers  singing madrigals and dancing Renaissance dances. Homepage. Facebook page.


Insieme Vocale Vox Cordis – Italy

Director: Benedetta Nofri
Categories: ‘A’ (Equal Voices Choirs) D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual) E (Sacred Music)
Formed in 1996 Vox Cordis Vocal Ensemble has performed concerts in Italy and abroad (France, Georgia, Greece, Malta, Netherlands, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain). They have participated in international music festivals winning several second and third prizes from 1998 up to 2014. The choir has recorded discs of Gregorian chants and of ancient and contemporary music and they have also collaborated with many Italian cultural institutions and international artists (J. Busto, R. Fabbriciani, D. Fasolis, R. Gabbiani, G. Graden, S. Kuret , C. Høgset, E. Mei, V. Myskinis, P. Neumann, K. Suttner, P. White). Since its creation, the Association has developed a wide cultural activity that tends to promote singing and music in all its characteristics and at all levels, from children’s choir Children Vox, to the coro giovanile (youth choir), from the Schola gregoriana to the project All Can Vox that wants to give the opportunity of singing to those who have no experience. In addition, the Association realizes various cultural activities such as: the musical season Diventinventi now in its sixth year, the courses of singing, composition and choral conduction for beginners, but also large national events such as Festa della Voce  and Concorso Nazionale per direttori di coro. The male section  of the Esemble Vocale Vox Cordis has made a concert tour in Georgia and realized various productions of ancient music such as the Passio Secundum Johannem by Francesco Corteccia and Passio Secundum Johannem by Paolo del Bivi also known as Paolo Aretino. The choir has also performed some more concerts in Italy making first performances of contemporary music. The male choir Ensemble Vox Cordis Association is directed by Benedetta Nofri. HomepageFacebook page.

Coro Clara Voce – Italy

Director: Federico Liguori
Category: C (Youth and Children Choirs)

Coro Clara VoceThe youth choir “Clara Voce” was founded in January 2013 by Director Federico Liguori, a music student at the Conservatory of Cagliari, who at the time was attending the last year of High School. The choir, initially formed exclusively by girls, began to prepare polyphonic pieces such as “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and the famous “Some Nights” by Fun. In less than a month from its creation the choir has achieved great success and was invited to sing as a school orientation in different malls in the city of Quartu Sant’Elena. After this experience, small but important, the organizer of the “Chocolate Festival” having witnessed a performance of the choir and noticing qualities in them, invited the choir to sponsor the Festival. The repertoire has been enriched considerably by presenting polyphonic versions of songs like “Your Song” by Elton John and the famous Carmina Burana “O Fortuna”, sung by 5 voices. After that, the choir was invited to sing in the city’s schools to spread the passion for music and it was a huge success. Thanks to the efforts of the singers a concert was held in Quartu Sant’Elena where the choir presented songs for 6 polyphonic voices such as “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap and 8 voices such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Throughout the summer, the choir has continued to try and implement new songs to increase the repertoire, enhancing the difficulty of the pieces and entering male voices previously missing. Recently they have been invited to sing for the “Student 5 Players Football World Cup” which this year will be held in the city of Cagliari. In 2015 they won the first prize at the regional competition “Kellarious” organized by the municipality of Selargius. Facebook page.


University of Latvia Chamber Choir DeCoro – Latvia

Director: Peteris Vaickovskis
Categories: B’ (Mixed Choirs), D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual)

DeCoroDeCoro chamber choir of Latvian University was founded in 2007. Its conductors are Kristiana and Pēteris Vackovski and chorus master Māra Vaickovska and Patriks Stepe. Most of their choir members are students and graduates of the University of Latvia and other universities. The choir DeCoro has participated in international choral festivals and contests in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic and Sweden. The main achievments of the choir are the Grand Prix in the national choir competition, and since then ranks among the best Latvian Chamber Choirs (2016), gold diplomas in the categories folklore and mixed choral groups as well as a special award for the best choreography at International Choir Competition Praga Cantat (2013) and 2nd place in the mixed choir category at the International Choir a cappella singing contest in Warsaw, Poland (2012). Homepage. Facebook page.


 Dekliški Pevski Zbor Pueri Cantores Tolmin – Slovenia

Director: Barbara Kovačič
Category: ‘A’ (Equal Voices Choirs)
Dekliški Pevski Zbor Pueri Cantores TolminDPZ Pueri Cantores Girls Choir Tolmin is the Slovene representative of the global Catholic church organization Pueri Cantores. The choir has been active for 31 years under the leadership of the conductor Barbara Kovačič. The choir has participated in various international competitions through these years and has performed many solo and tematic concerts. Each year the choir attends singing competitions where they reach high awards and special prizes. Mrs. Barbara Kovačič has studied organ at School for Organists and graduated at the Faculty of Education in Ljubljana. She takes active part in master classes and seminars with recognized specialists of vocal music and constantly deepens her knowledge in the conducting field. She often organizes musical workshops with numerous conductors, instrumentalists and other musical specialists. She is currently employed at Primary school Franceta Bevka Tolmin, where she is the leader of four children choirs and a youth choir with more than 140 singers. Her highly systematical work reflects in several prizes from national and international competitions as well as numerous concerts and different projects. Besides her school choirs Mrs. Barbara Kovačič has directed the Girls choir Pueri Cantores for 30 years. Through her work with the choirs Barbara encourages composing and enables first performances of vocal works, both profane and sacral character. She cooperates with established composers, conductors, vocalists, instrumentalists and orchestras. Facebook page.

APZ Tone Tomšič University of Ljubljana – Slovenia

Director: Jerica Gregorc Bukovec
Categories: B’ (Mixed Choirs), D (Folk or Gospel/Spiritual), E (Sacred Music)

APZ Tone Tomšič University of LjubljanaThe choir Akademski pevski zbor Tone Tomšič Univerze v Ljubljani unites students of all faculties of the University of Ljubljana who share a great love of singing and a desire to create art at the highest level. The choir carries on the tradition of the Akademski pevski zbor, founded in 1926 by France Marolt as a male singing group. The choir has always been led by renowned conductors, with Jerica Gregorc Bukovec taking over in October 2015. Since its formation, APZ Tone Tomšič has been at the forefront of choral singing in Slovenia. Its repertoire is comprised of pieces from all periods in musical history, while paying special attention to modern choral music. The choir has displayed its quality countless times with notable performances at festivals and competitions both in Slovenia and abroad. The biggest successes achieved by APZ Tone Tomšič were the victories at the prestigious European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (the GPE). The choir took part in this competition eight times, winning the Grand Prix twice: in Arezzo (Italy) in 2002, under Stojan Kuret and in Debrecen (Hungary) in 2008, led by Urša Lah. For its accomplishments at the state level, APZ Tone Tomšič received the highest state award, the Zlati častni znak svobode Republike Slovenije in 1996. In 2000, the choir was awarded the Plaketa glavnega mesta Ljubljana award and in 2003, the Zlati znak Javnega sklada RS za kulturne dejavnosti prize. Homepage. Facebook page.