By Sirkku Viitanen-Vanamo, Secretary at Nordklang16
Nordklang16 preparations in full swing.
What is Nordklang?
Nordisk Korforum, the umbrella organisation of the Nordic choral associations and one of the founding members of IFCM, runs the Nordklang festival. NKF gives the responsibility of organising Nordklang to each Nordic association in turn. Nordklang, the biggest training event for singers in the Nordic countries, takes place every three years in one of the Nordic countries. The event brings together singers from all Nordic countries to sing, learn and network. The organisers expect more than a thousand singers to attend the festival in Turku in 2016. This year’s Nordklang festival in Turku will be the 16th edition and the organiser responsible is the Finnish Amateur Musicians’ Association together with its regional south-western association. The chairman of the organising committee is Mr Harri Lindblom, the chairperson of the regional FAMA association. Nordklang managed in close cooperation with Konfer, a local conference bureau, the Turku Cathedral Congregation that gives the festival access to the Turku Cathedral and the City of Turku. And, of course, with Nordisk Korforum.
Nordklang16 has also commissioned a choral piece from Jaakko Mäntyjärvi and it will be premiered in the final concerts.
We are very proud to announce that Mrs Jenni Haukio, the spouse of the President of the Republic of Finland, will be the patron of the festival.
The artistic director of Nordklang16 is Mr Kari Turunen, DMus, a renowned conductor, teacher and researcher who describes himself as follows: “I am above all a conductor. I combine choral conducting with some research and teaching. I love choral music and am excited to be involved in an event that reaches out to so many choral singers, so many styles of choral music and brings together so many people who share my love for music.”
There is a marvellous selection of workshops for all tastes. The list of workshop was published in mid-September on the Nordklang16 website www.nordklang.fi. As the festival is meant for all singers, it does not matter whether you sing in a mixed, female, male or youth choir. All choir types are catered for. The workshops are colour coded according to how much preparation is required from the singers: Black = the music is technically, vocally and/or stylistically quite demanding and is recommended for well-prepared singers; Red = the music poses some technical demands and the singers will need to do some homework before the festival; and Blue = the music is not very demanding and a little homework will see you through quite well. And as Mr Turunen says: “Nordklang16 is definitely not an event for only expert singers. If you have experience in choral singing, have a nice voice, are willing to prepare the music for the workshop and don’t mind hard work, you’ll be fine.”
The daily programme of the festival is a Nordklang tradition. The day will start with morning singing. The workshops will start at 10 o’clock at various locations in the university campus’ in Turku. Lunch will be catered for in the workshop area at noon. Participating choirs have the option of giving a lunchtime concert in the town around noon. The workshops will continue in the afternoon, with coffee breaks, and will end at 5 o’clock. In the evening there will be concerts and the most important event: evening singing at Caribia.
On the final day of Nordklang16 the workshop choirs have the opportunity to show what they have learnt in the main concerts of the festival. The Nordklang16 Gala will take place in the evening.
The workshops are versatile and suitable for all choir types – mixed, female, male and youth choirs. Nordklang16 has not forgotten the choir conductors either: there is a special Conductors’ Channel for them.
The festival is about singing and learning, so the participants will have a wonderful opportunity to challenge themselves in different singing environments from their “normal” ones. For more detailed information about the workshops and their instructors, see www.nordklang.fi.
In the mixed choir category there are three channels: Classic Sounds, Rhythmic Sounds, and New Sounds.
In the Classic Sounds channel you have the opportunity to sing Early music made in the EU with Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir from Iceland; Romantic works for mixed choirs with Carsten Seyer-Hansen from Denmark; Opera! with Elin Persson from Norway; William Shakespeare’s texts composed to music with Jani Sivén from Finland in Long live Shakespeare!; and Folk music with Ilona Korhonen from Finland.
In the Rhythmic Sounds channel you get Jazz and Pop. Jazz by the Danish vocal jazz specialist Jesper Holm and pop by Line Groth also from Denmark. In these workshops it is all about the groove.
Nordklang16 offers a very special opportunity for singers in the New Sounds channel: to work with the music of the “hottest” contemporary choral composers and in two of the workshops even with the composer.
Composer Pärt Uusberg from Estonia and composer-conductor Vaclovas Augustinas from Lithuania will take the singers on a tour of the music of their own making.
One of the most prominent Latvian conductors Romans Vanags will lead the way to the music of Eriks Ešenvalds, which is taking the choral world by the storm. Dani Juris, one of the most exciting young conductors in Finland, will take you to the musical world of Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, one of the most popular choral composers in the world.
There are two workshops for youth choirs. Madrigals and pop arrangements (SATB youth): sing madrigals by Monteverdi, both the originals and as arrangements, and pop music by Coldplay, Mew and Björk in arrangements by the conductor of the group, Finnish conductor and music pedagogue, Timo Lehtovaara. The second one is Music without boundaries (SSAA youth). In this workshop music has no boundaries! Folk music from different parts of the world blends with improvisation, movement, yoik and music from ancient times to today. Susanna Lindmark, composer and conductor of Arctic Light Girls’ Choir, will lead you in this co-creative workshop, where you are allowed to bring your own creativity into the choir and explore exciting ways of creating music and visual expressions together.
The female choir is led to the Finnish rhythmic music by Kaija Viitasalo from Finland. Kaija Viitasalo, Finnish conductor and music educator, is especially known for her work with new Finnish rhythmic music for female choirs, especially so-called ethnic jazz. In ethnic jazz, Finnish folk music and new poetry fuse with the rhythms and harmonies of jazz music. There will be a workshop for the male choir singers. At the time of writing new plans were being made to cater for the male choir singers.
And, last but not least, the conductor’s channel led by Kari Turunen and Thomas Caplin. This workshop will feature lectures, discussions, demonstrations, observations on the work going on in the choral workshops, and of course, wonderful possibilities to meet colleagues. It is the perfect start for a new season. Bring your choir, let the singers be inspired by the workshops, perform in the lunchtime concert series and gather new ideas in the conductors’ workshop.
The workshops are taught in English.
Turku, the host city of the festival, has a lot to offer the festival-goer. The city was founded in the 13th century and was, and still is, an important hub for cultural activity in Finland. Turku Cathedral, consecrated in 1300, is one of the venues for Nordklang16. There are many sights and places to see and experience along the River Aura: Turku Castle at the mouth of the river guarding the town, museums, art galleries, and many more. You might want to come a day early just to see the town.
How can I register for Nordklang16?
Early Bird registration started in March 2015. Registering during the Early Bird period gives you at least two benefits: a lower participation fee (€ 170) and a chance to pick your workshop before the normal registration starts. Early bird registration ends on October 31, 2015. Normal registration starts on November 1, 2015 and the registration fee is € 190. The fee includes lunches, the workshop materials, the Nordklang16 songbook, the programme booklet and concerts (admission charged for some concerts). The Nordklang16 Lyyti registration software will give you detailed instructions when you register.
Nordklang16 is ready to accept your Early Bird registration!
Edited by Mirella Dina Biagi, Italy/UK