18 November 2009
Sydney Chamber Choir wins two prizes at Tolosa Festival in Spain
Sydney Chamber Choir has been ranked third out of a field of ten top choirs from around the world in its first appearance in an international choral competition. The Choir took out 3rd prize in two mixed-voice categories (polyphony and folklore), in the 41st Tolosa International Choral Festival in Spain. Other prize-winners in the mixed choirs competition were the Via Nova Choir from Germany and the Yuuka Chamber Choir from Japan.
The Tolosa festival brings together, by invitation only, some of the finest chamber choirs, small vocal ensembles and youth choirs from around the world to perform and compete before an international judging panel. Sydney Chamber Choir is the first Australian choir to participate in the festival.
'It's a great honour for us to be recognised in this way at our first ever international festival, competing against international-level choirs with extensive experience on the competition circuit', says Paul Stanhope, composer and Sydney Chamber Choir's musical director since 2006.
The Tolosa competition is part of a circuit of six such festivals in Europe, and winners from each are invited to take part in the European Grand Prix of choral contests the following year. The 2010 Grand Prix will be held in Bulgaria.
During their visit, Sydney Chamber Choir gave a series of concerts throughout the Basque region of northern Spain, performing polyphonic works of the Spanish Renaissance and works by contemporary Australian composers Ross Edwards (Mountain Chant), Elliott Gyger (arrangement of Waltzing Matilda) and Nigel Butterley (Exultate Domino), and music in the Basque language. The inclusion of Basque folk songs in arrangements by Basque composers, as well as works in folk and popular idioms from each choir's own country, is a requirement of the competition.
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