Elena Bartnovskaya, artistic director of the International Choral Assembly ‘EURASIA CANTAT’
The international choral competition and festival, ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ IV International Choral Assembly, took place in Ekaterinburg from the 21st till the 25th of April, 2017. Traditionally, the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ Assembly is organized by the Ekaterinburg City Administration, with support from the International Choral Union and the ‘Foundation for the Support and Implementation of Creative Youth Activities in the Field of Musical Culture’. The ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral Assembly has become a creative brand and a significant cultural event in Ekaterinburg.
The Assembly is organized to develop choral musical culture through creative regional and international contacts. The main aim of this collaboration is to increase choirs’ professional skills, enrich their repertoires and permeate performing styles with the best samples of musical culture in the world. Leading specialists in the field of choral and vocal music take part in ‘EURASIA CANTAT’. In total, more than 1000 people participated in the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ Assembly: 80 choirs from 25 Russian cities including Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Zhukovsky, Zelenograd, Izhevsk, Novosibirsk, Tyumen, Chelyabinsk, Perm, Nizhnevartovsk, Ekaterinburg and cities in the Sverdlovsk region.
Outstanding representatives from the choral world adjudicated the choirs’ performances: Andrea Angelini (Italy), choral conductor and editor-in-chief of the FARCORO magazine; Romans Vanags (Latvia), conductor and chairman of the Latvian choral conductors’ board; Manxue Hu (China), artistic director and conductor of the Lily girls’ choir at the Shenzhen high school; Nina Groshikova (Russia), professor and Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation; Vladimir Zavadsky (Russia), professor, Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation, Dean of the Faculty for Vocal and Choral Arts, and Head of a Choral Conducting Department; Alla Litvina (Russia) – professor and chairman of the Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg) branch of the Russian Choral Society; Olga Davydova-Gurevich (Russia), winner of international competitions and a professor of vocal art.
At the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ events, there were representatives from the City Administration, members of the Ekaterinburg City Duma, representatives from the ‘City of Ekaterinburg’ Public Chambers, heads and deputy heads from the city’s social policy department, rectors from creative universities and vocational secondary schools in Ekaterinburg. The consular corps, the ministers for culture and education in the Sverdlovsk region were also invited. The most vibrant choirs and winners from the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ IV International Choral Assembly went on to participate in the gala-concert, which was held on the 25th of April, 2017 in the Ekaterinburg Young Spectator theatre.
The competitive performances were held in the best acoustic concert halls in Ekaterinburg: the I. Makletsky Concert Hall at the Sverdlovsk regional musical college named after P. I. Tchaikovsky, which is the concert hall used by Ekaterinburg’s Male Choral College. This year the competition rules for choirs were more complicated. So a choral unison performance was mandatory. It was necessary to perform a varied programme of different genres and styles. A new category for beginners with no competitive experience was added to the list of events: this was a ‘free category’ without strict rules, where choirs could perform a programme of their own choice.
The ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral Assembly programme was updated for 2017 with new events. For the first time within the framework of the Assembly, the ‘Grand Choir’ project was implemented. Each choir that wanted to take part in this project performed several works from different eras. Following their performance, each choir immediately received feedback online from the jury, regarding their quality, style and fidelity to features of the genre. Participation in this event required a very high level of professional training from the choirs. To the satisfaction of the organizational committee, whose main priority is to improve the choirs’ skills, there were only entries from choirs from Moscow, Ekaterinburg and Saint Petersburg.
This time, organizers chose a fundamentally new approach to festival concerts. Traditionally, at the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ Assembly, several choirs gathered in a concert hall and a concert took place in a warm, friendly but secretive atmosphere. At the IV ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral Assembly choirs performed in museums where the audiences were made up of citizens from Ekaterinburg, who were visiting the museums. At the same time as performing, the choirs were also able to see the unique collections at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts and the Ekaterinburg History Museum following their performances. A varied cultural program was organized for participants of the competition. The guests of the city were able to see the sights of the Ural capital and Sverdlovsk region, visit the border between Europe and Asia, and attend Ekaterinburg’s churches. One unforgettable event was a concert by maestro Valery Gergiev with a symphony orchestra as a part of the Easter festival in the Sverdlovsk State Academic Philharmonic Concert Hall.
The Grand-Prix of the contest remained in Ekaterinburg for the very first time! The winner of ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ was the student choir from the Ural University, under the direction of Svetlana Dolnikovskaya! Members of the jury noticed a significant increase in the performance level of participating choirs in 2017. A wonderful ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral Assembly has come to an end and organizers already have new creative plans for the future. In March 2018, the International Choral Conference ‘Choral dialogue’ will be held in Ekaterinburg. During this event, choirmasters will be able to take advantage of seminars, creative meetings, and master-classes with outstanding figures from the world of choral culture from Russia, Italy, and Latvia. Ekaterinburg is famous for its hospitality, goodwill and friendliness. Choirs of the world, join us! We are waiting for the most talented, the most vibrantt, the most creative and the most musical! We look forward to welcoming you to Ekaterinburg for the V ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral assembly in 2019!
Elena Bartnovskaya is an honoured artist of the Russian Federation. She attended the choral conducting department of the Ural state conservatory, named after M. Mussorgsky. In 1987, she set up the children’s choir ‘Gloria’. Nowadays, this choir is a winner of different international choral competitions in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Greece, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Since 1992, Elena Bartnovskaya has been the director of the Rachmaninoff children’s music school №7. She’s also the artistic director of the ‘Gloria’ concert choir and winner of international choral competitions. Since 2011, she has been the artistic director of the ‘EURASIA CANTAT’ International Choral assembly in Ekaterinburg. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Edited by Lottie Valks, UK