Forum for choral music: 22-25 September 2011
Press release by Martin Fischer, Deutscher Chorverband
The significance of singing for culture, society and education is becoming more and more noticeable. The landscape of choral music in the 21st century defines itself by musical focus points and is highly specialized. Alongside 2.4 million active singers there are over 25,000 choir conductors in Germany. A large number of those, namely about 700,000 active singers, are members of the German Choral Association (Deutscher Chorverband or DCV). It is part of the varied brief of the DCV to provide its members with two kinds of activities: on the one hand fundamental tasks like singing with and for parents, the promotion of singing in nursery schools and music education in children’s and youth choirs, and on the other specialized ones like congresses for choir directors or advanced training for singers and conductors. One new aspect of our work is the creation of a new platform: chor.com; a structure is being created that did not exist before.
In cooperation with the five other choral associations who belong to the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Chorverbände (ADC – Working Group of German Choral Associations ) the DCV brings all the protagonists of the choral music scene together and builds up networks: conductors and singers, teacher, professors, lecturers, composers, music publishers, music journalists, concert promoters, institutions and choral music enthusiasts – all those will find a platform to communicate, to learn from each other and to share knowledge. Chor.com is a trade fair, a festival, it presents workshops and reading sessions, it is a show ground for publishers, a congress, a networking forum, a symposium, and it’s going to take place from 22-25 September 2011 in Dortmund, Germany.
In the first instance, Chor.com is intended for conductors – the lynchpins of the choral music scene: not only do they conduct their choirs, but they often also act as managers, dramatic advisors and artistic directors at the same time. They found new ensembles and often represent the choir in public. In children’s and youth choirs, they train the next generation of choral singers for broadcasting services and opera houses as well as future soloists who will eventually sing music ranging from the classical repertoire to jazz and popular music. With its workshops and symposia chor.com provides an eclectic offering in particular for conductors. They have the opportunity for further education – chor.com is an approved event for advanced training for choir conductors. Professional choirs can bid for new members as well as for new audiences, and amateur choirs can present themselves. It is a forum for discussing current topics concerning musical practice and musicology, cultural and educational and social policy. Chor.com workshops will serve the many different interests of choir directors and singers: topics range from sacred choral music of the 17th century and contemporary composers, choral intonation and instruction on how to sing barbershop songs properly via singing with senior citizens and adolescents to the publishing of sheet music and how to deal with laws and music rights. Simon Halsey, principal conductor of the Berlin Radio Choir and artist in residence of chor.com, will present a workshop on Brahms’s “Ein deutsches Requiem” as a sing-along concert open to all.
Harald Jers will present experiments on choral intonation with his chamber choir Consono, Jens Johansen from Denmark is offering a workshop on conducting pop ensembles with his Vocal Line. Volker Hempfling will run workshops on folk songs for mixed choir and on sacred choral music. Workshops for choral improvisation or choir management can also be found in the programme, and choral pop music star Eric Whitacre will be on the chor.com staff. The central element of chor.com: Frieder Bernius will lead the chor.com masterclass for young conductors.
The symposia and round tables will offer professional as well as non professional experts the chance to exchange ideas and opinions. The formation of sustainable and standardized projects supporting the youngest singers is a pressing concern; an essential part of chor.com will be the symposium dealing with different programmes and initiatives for singing in nursery and primary schools. In the symposium “Choir in Focus” scientists from all over Europe (Sweden, Norway, Germany, Denmark and the UK) will discuss questions on international choir research.
Chor.com takes account of the founding of many new jazz ensembles by setting up a composition contest for new jazz, rock and pop literature for choirs. Composers of all ages can submit their works to the DCV office in Berlin by 31 March 2011;, further information is available there, too. The competition is meant to create new and innovative material and to motivate young people to sing their favourite songs in a choir. The awards for the winning composers will consist in publication of their songs and money prizes.
The Choir of West German Radio Cologne, the Berlin Radio Choir and the vocal jazz ensemble Maybebop will perform – like all the other workshop choirs – in the chor.com festival. In six venues in the centre of Dortmund concerts can be heard, not only by the chor.com participants but also by the Dortmund citizens. Regional and international choirs, professional and amateur choirs will give concerts, among them Voice Choice, Fabulous Fridays, the Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble and the German Youth Chamber Choir. Programmes range from medieval music to world premières. The chor.com trade fair is the exhibition forum for publishers of sheet music, record labels, for traders of music supplies, booking agencies, festival and concert agencies, organisers of choir trips, universities, conservatories and music schools as well as music associations and cultural media.
The first chor.com will take place from 22-25 September 2011 and from then on every two years, in the Westfalenhallen Dortmund (workshops, symposia, trade fair) and in six other venues in the centre of Dortmund (festival). We hope to welcome 1,000 convention participants, 3,500 day visitors and 100 exhibitors from publishing companies, record labels, concert agencies, professional magazines and music universities. The aim of chor.com is to connect people within Germany and link the German choral music scene to that of Europe. However, an event like chor.com is also intended to increase the influence of choral music in politics and to give the choral music scene a higher profile: new faces and new topics will make their appearance, and they must be taken seriously.
Deutscher Chorverband e.V.
Phone +49 (30)847108930
Fax +49 (30) 847108999
Website: www.chor.com and on Facebook
Edited by Irene Auerbach, UK and Gillian Forlivesi Heywood, Italy