IFCM World Choral EXPO, Macau SAR, 12-15 November 2015

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by Stephen Leek, Artistic Executive and Angelina Vong, Executive Assistant


The Asia Pacific Region is unique when compared to other regions in the world. Many countries of this region do not share a common spoken or written language, culture, customs, or a common border. An example of this contrast would be travelling from Beijing, China to Melbourne, Australia. Although in the same region, the journey takes twelve hours by airplane. The language changes from Mandarin Chinese to English. The staple food changes from noodles to bread. Summer turns into winter. The differences are endless, but nevertheless, there is a thin line between differences and similarities. One of these similarities includes the love of choral music.

Many countries of this region are developing economically at a phenomenal speed, similarly choral music is developing at an extraordinary rate: on average there is at least one choral festival, competition or event happening here every week.

This region is vast, and the skills and experiences of choristers, conductors, and composers are just as expansive. Consequently, the region has outstanding choirs and conductors, so there are more choirs, conductors and composers who lack the exposure and skills to reach higher levels of choral artistry.



This upcoming IFCM World Choral EXPO is a real and rare opportunity in our region to work with some of the great choral musicians of our time, from within our area and from outside. The focus of the EXPO is on workshops and presentations to develop real skills for conductors, singers and composers. To this end, the specialized tracks, which will span over the three days of the event, will work in a mentorship-like programme – each delegate signs up to work in the class with one Leader. These tracks are broken down for composers, young composers, singers, and conductors at various stages of experience and specialization.

The organization of this IFCM World Choral EXPO will allow participants to gain the most knowledge in the shortest amount of time. Start your day with a morning singing session led by world-renowned conductors. Then spend the rest of the morning working with Maria Guinand (Venezuela) as a chorister, Brady Allred (USA) as an advanced choral conductor, André van der Merwe (South Africa) for conducting skills as a university-aged singer, or with Dan Walker (Australia) as a young composer starting out in choral composition. In the afternoon, attend various presentations, workshops, concerts, or lectures. Meanwhile, the exhibition will be available all day for you to explore different publishers, choirs, associations and many more…

Over sixteen invited top level local and international choirs will be featured in Lunchtime and Evening Concerts at the EXPO site and around Macau. Featured choirs will include, among many others, the world famous Finnish a cappella group Rajaton; up-and-coming Dutch group, The Junction; the colourful Manado State University Choir from Indonesia; the vibrant Nelson Mandela University Choir from South Africa; and the world-class Salt Lake City Choral Artists from the USA. An added bonus for participating choirs or individuals (at a minimal additional cost) is the opportunity to have a Consultancy session with one of the distinguished Presenters.

Occurring simultaneously to these events is a Grand Prix Choral Competition in two sections. Section A competition with set repertoire (from 13-15 November), and Section B competition without set repertoire (from 10-12 November 2015).

Jurors will include Jonathan Velasco (Philippines), Hak-Won Yoon (S. Korea), Michael J Anderson (USA), Brady Allred (USA), Saeko Hasegawa (Japan), Meng Da Peng (China), Tommy Kandisaputra (Indonesia), Wu Lin Feng (China), Debra Shearer (Australia).

Will your choir bring home the Grand-Prix Trophy?



Singers Track – For Singers of any age and experience
Leader – Maria Guinand, Conductor, Venezuela
Accompanist – Sally Whitwell, Pianist, Composer and Conductor, Australia

Under the direction of leading international choral conductor Maria Guinand and acclaimed pianist, composer and conductor Sally Whitwell, this track is open to all singers of any age in an exploration of better choral singing techniques, understanding a diverse range of choral music and making new choral friends. Come and join the fun and work with one of the leading choral conductors of our time.


Maria Guinand
Maria Guinand

A cappella Singers Track – For singers of any age and experience
Leaders – The Junction, The Netherlands

Explore contemporary vocal sounds and small ensemble choral techniques in a friendly and relaxed environment. The Junction – groovy a cappella group from the Netherlands -will share ideas on vocal and microphone technique, composition and improvisational skills, in sessions that will inspire, singing in a more popular choral mode.


The Junction (Netherlands)
The Junction (Netherlands)

Conductors Tracks – for conductors of any age and experience

Sign up to work with some of the world’s leading choral conductors in six intensive mentoring sessions. This programme is designed for conductors who want to develop conducting, musical and vocal skills in close collaboration with mentors who will guide them through the entire track. Participants must attend all five sessions with the same mentor.

There will be specialist tracks designed for conductors who already conduct – Adult Choirs, Youth Choirs, Children’s Choirs, Women’s Choirs – and a special track for young conductors who are just starting out.

Conductor’s Track Leaders will include Dr. Brady Allred – USA; Xiao Bai – China; Susanna Saw – Malaysia; André van der Merwe – South Africa; Maria Guinand – Venezuela; Theodora Pavlovitch – Bulgaria; Yang Hong Lian – China; Stephen Leek – Australia; Thierry Thiébaut – France.

André van der Merwe
André van der Merwe

Composers Track – For Composers of any age and experience

Leader – Gan Lin, Composer, China

Composers of any age and skill are invited to participate in an analytical-style series of workshops led by one of China’s foremost choral composers, designed to challenge established composers and inspire newer ones in the Art of Choral Composition. Bring your compositions along and be prepared to be inspired and motivated.


Dan Walker
Dan Walker

Young Composers Workshop Track – For Composers starting out

Leader – Dan Walker, Composer, Australia

This innovative track is an exciting opportunity for young composers or young people interested in composition, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, to participate in a workshop-style series of sessions on choral composition with leading young composer Dan Walker from Australia

Come together with other young composers to explore the world of choral composition in a fun and exciting atmosphere. Basic music and singing skills are required along with a willingness to explore and be challenged.


Nelson Mandela University Choir
Nelson Mandela University Choir


Having so many unique countries and cities in this region, one might ask, why is this event taking place in Macau, or, where is Macau?

Macau is a unique destination for all individuals, as it embodies a fusion of western and eastern culture. The Portuguese colonized Macau in its early days until its return to China in 1998 under the ‘two systems, one party’ policy similar to that of Hong Kong. As a special administrative region (SAR) Macau’s immigration and administrative policies differ from those of China. This means most nationalities are able to come to Macau without visa restrictions.

Macau has its own International Airport linking it to most countries in this region. Hong Kong International Airport is also a gateway and directly links attendees to Macau by a short ferry trip.



We all know that the environment we work in affects the way we learn. The main EXPO site will be at the new campus of the University of Macau. With state-of-the-art facilities for EXPO participants, the campus spans over a square kilometre in a parkland setting offering a relaxing and collegiate environment. Situated only ten kilometres from “downtown” Macau, it offers many accommodation choices. Learn more at www.umac.mo.



The IFCM World Choral EXPO anticipates welcoming over 15,000 singers, conductors, and composers. This unique opportunity is unlike any other in this region, and will provide opportunities for vendors to connect directly to their target markets. Exhibiting vendors will have the chance to highlight their products and services in a central venue geared specifically to the Asian Pacific choral market.

The IFCM World Choral EXPO Exhibition Committee is still accepting applications from interested Exhibitors. Vendors who market educational and choral tools, music, and any choral- or music-related goods or services are welcome to apply. (Deadline: Monday, 15 September 2015)



More information can be found on the completely revamped IFCM World Choral EXPO website: www.worldchoralexpo.com

Should you require any additional information not on the website, do not hesitate to contact info@worldchoralexpo.com or worldchoralexpo@gmail.com.



There is a need for continued education and improvement of choral conductors, teachers, composers and enthusiasts. The opportunity to work with such experienced and high-profile choral individuals, to mix with like-minded choral musicians from around the world, and to share and hear some of the finest choral singing on the planet, is a rare event in the Asia Pacific Region.

This is one event that choral musicians from around the Asian/ Pacific region should not miss, and one that will intrigue and inspire other international participants.


See you there!


Edited by Gillian Forlivesi Heywood, Italy/UK



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