For the second time since its creation in 2015, the IFCM World Choral Expo (WCE) will be organized in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal. Here is the full roster of confirmed choirs selected to enrich your WCE 2022 experience.
The professional Choirs:
Kammerchor Stuttgart, Germany
Kammerchor Stuttgart is considered one of the leading ensembles of its kind. Founded over 50 years ago in January 1968, Frieder Bernius has established an exceptional choir that is celebrated by audiences and music critics alike. The choir’s repertoire spans the 17th century to the 21st century, and the choir’s special intention is to be a specialist for choral music from all époques and genres.
The choir receives invitations from all major European festivals and has given concerts in numerous renowned concert halls. Kammerchor Stuttgart was invited to three World Symposia for Choral Music (Vienna, Sydney, and Seoul), as well as to the 12th WSCM in Auckland in 2020. Regular concert tours to North and South America, Asia, and Israel reflect the worldwide reputation of Kammerchor Stuttgart. Of the choir’s 100 CD recordings, 45 have been awarded international prizes, such as Edison, Diapason, and ICMA.
Ordinarius Vocal Group, Brazil
Ordinarius offers a varied repertoire, using the voice as its primary instrument and the Brazilian percussion as its perfect complement. The group’s original and exclusive arrangements are the work of Augusto Ordine, musical director and founder. The ensemble’s repertoire includes pieces by Ary Barroso, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, Rosa Passos, Joyce, and other outstanding Brazilian composers. The arrangements are a cappella as well as with guitar, ukulele, and percussive instrumental accompaniment. Brazilian rhythms such as choro, baião, samba and ijexá are explored by the septet in a modern representation of a timeless Brazilian culture.
Ordinarious Vocal Group’s first album, Ordinarius, was considered to be one of the best CDs of Brazilian music in 2012 by the music site O embrulhador and resulted in their tours in Brazil and Europe. The group’s music videos have more than 300,000 viewings on YouTube and include fans from all over the world. The Ordinarius version of “As long as you love me”, originally performed by the Backstreet Boys, was recommended by the American group itself on Twitter and Facebook, drawing increased international recognition and exposure.
Ordinarius’ goal is to offer quality vocal music that draws on many styles and sources. Their performances offer the audience the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the best that vocal arrangement can offer, as well as a chance to sing along and join the fun!
The invited choirs:
AArhus Girls Choir, denmark
Aarhus Girls Choir (Aarhus Pigekor) consists of 30 young female singers from Aarhus Music School (Aarhus, Denmark). Founded in the 1940s, the choir changed its name in 2002 to coincide with a shift in direction and goals, which included a higher musical ambition. Since then, Aarhus Girls Choir has toured internationally, including Europe, USA, South Africa, China, Argentina, and Canada. At home, the choir collaborates regularly with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and The Danish National Opera. During the past two decades, Aarhus Girls Choir has participated in numerous prestigious international choral competitions, winning gold medals and first prizes at International Choral Kathaumixw (Canada), Let the Peoples Sing (European Broadcast Union), and World Choir Games (Latvia and South Africa).
Helle Høyer Vedel, a prominent and highly-acclaimed conductor in the Danish choral community, initiated the choir’s change in mission in 2002. Under her leadership, the choir achieved its many successes at competitions while also performing at large events across Denmark, recording several CDs, and commissioning many pieces for the choir. The choir has enjoyed a long and significant collaboration with choreographer Panda van Proosdij, leading to the development of a special focus on musical expression using movements to support musical ideas. In 2021, Birgitte Næslund Madsen became the conductor of Aarhus Girls Choir.
Cantemus Youth Choir (Moldova)
Cantemus Youth Choir was established in 2007 near the Centrul de Activitate Extrașcolară (“Curcubeu”) and Liceul Teoretic “George Meniuc” (secondary school) in Chișinău, Moldova, by the founder and present conductor, Denis Ceausov. Comprised of singers, ages 10-20, who enjoy choral music, Cantemus performs repertoire by European, American, and Moldavian composers from the Renaissance through the 21st century. The choir has participated in many radio and TV recordings and has performed concerts in the prestigious concert halls of Chisinau. Cantemus has been awarded various prizes at international choral competitions in Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. In addition, Cantemus has been invited to perform at various prestigious choral festivals, including: Cori d’Europa (Udine, Italy), International Choral Festival en Provence and International Choral Festival en Aveyron (France), and IFCM World Symposium on Choral Music (Barcelona, Spain), where they received the title of 2017 IFCM Ambassador for their performances during the 11th WSCM.
Collective Singers, Namibia
Collective is a group of musicians who, using their God-given singing talents, have created an impressive ensemble. This group of passionate individuals works collaboratively to harness their collective efforts and produce sweet, memorable choral performances. Founded in 2015 by Ponti Dikuua, this dynamic group consists of diverse and talented young singers from various well-known Namibian choirs. Collective performs various genres of music, including gospel, contemporary, classic, and Namibian traditional music. They are proud of and believe in their local Namibian composers and support them by making their music an integral part of their repertoire. Since 2018, Collective has been reaching out to serve several orphanages and other charity organizations by performing benefit concerts or simply by collecting necessities on their behalf. The conductor of Collective Singers is its founder Ponti Dikuua.
The female choir INCANTARE was founded in April 2016 in Córdoba, Argentina, with Natalia Vadillo as conductor. Its first programs were one with Basque contemporary composers and the other was about Argentinian folklore arranged by Cordovan composers. This was the repertoire in their first international tour (Uruguay, 2016). In 2017 they performed “Los Juegos” (Argentinian folk rhythm songs) with music by Norberto Ambrós, lyrics by Hamlet Lima Quintana and arranged by Carlos Alberto Flores. In 2018 they performed a Baltic music concert and the premier in South America of the “Misa Folk” by Laura Jekabsone. In 2019 they offered the concert “De pájaros y flores”, dedicaded to composers from all times ranging from the Renaissance to the present. In 2020, they prepared the following concerts: “De Película” (pieces from films of all times), “Por Amor” (commissioned works composed or arranged especially for Incantare), “Canticum Novum” (sacred pieces from the 20th and 21st century) and “Concierto V Aniversario” (works by Basque contemporary composers). Currently, the choir is rehearsing online preparing the concert “Por Amor” that will be broadcasted via streaming and it will be a world premiere of all its works. (Translated from Spanish by Vania Romero, Venezuela)
MAZE, THE NETHERLANDS
Get ready for some a capella! MAZE is a vocal group located in Rotterdam which is comprised of 20 talented singers from across the Netherlands. Led by award-winning conductor Merel Martens, they have been singing a mix of original songs and extraordinary covers since 2016. Within the ensemble there is ample room for improvisation and artistic contribution from its members. MAZE functions under the principle of Vocal Leadership, a unique method of singing that helped MAZE win the BALK TOPfestival in 2017, a prestigious a capella gathering in the Netherlands. In 2018, MAZE took the top prize at the SingStrong’s ACA-Idol Competition in New York. Later that same year, MAZE was named ‘best choir of the Netherlands 2018’ and, in 2019, the ensemble embarqued on its first theatre tour. The vocal group is often invited as a guest performer with other artists and has performed with brass bands, pop singers, big bands, and a dance and theater group. MAZE is always up for a challenge; they think ‘outside the box’ and do things a bit differently. All that creativity leads to visually- and musically-interesting performances. https://mazevoices.com
Mosaica Singers (Jordan)
Mosaica Singers is an award-winning choral group that aims to enrich lives through choral music by uniting people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, ages, professional/musical experiences through their love of music. Just as a mosaic takes different pieces of colored glass or stone to create a work of art, so does Mosaica, bringing together diverse people to create a beautiful sound. The choir offers members a welcoming environment for musical and personal growth, as well as the privilege of being part of the creation of high-quality musical performances. As part of its mission, singers are exposed to different kinds of choral music, helping to expand their musical and cultural horizons. The choir’s objective extends to their community, as the ensemble is dedicated to the growth and enrichment of the cultural scene in Jordan, particularly influencing future generations and instilling the love of music in them.
Portland State Chamber Choir, USA
Classics Today called the Portland State Chamber Choir “amongst the finest choirs in the world.” Since its founding in 1975, the Chamber Choir has performed and competed in venues across the United States and around the world. The ensemble has earned over 30 medals and awards in international choir competitions, including being the only American choir to have won the Seghizzi International Competition for Choral Singing in Italy (2013) and participating in the Bali International Choral Festival in Indonesia (2017). The Chamber Choir has performed multiple times at national and divisional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education and, in 2014, hosted the national conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. In February 2011, the Chamber Choir collaborated with Portland-born composer Morten Lauridsen who described their singing as “an absolutely top-notch superb display of choral artistry.” The Portland State Chamber Choir is conducted by Ethan Sperry.
SHALLAWAY YOUTH CHOIR, CANADA
Shallaway Youth Choir is an internationally-recognized and celebrated organization that is dedicated to exploring, developing, and celebrating cultural expression through choral music. Shallaway’s mandate is to foster independent musicianship and leadership, empowering young people to become the next generation of active leaders and artistic innovators in their communities. Through their commitment to artistic excellence and the preservation of their rich folk culture, the choristers learn the value of independence, discipline, and confidence while also gaining a sense of pride and identity – as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians – and as global citizens. Shallaway Youth Choir consciously seeks to connect with other cultures in a developmental way and has established an active program of intercultural outreach and exchange. While Shallaway moves widely in the world, its core vision of community is a grounded and empathic one that embraces leadership and citizenship as dynamic co-creators of an open, supportive, yet questioning society. Shallaway believes that the very nature and setting of choral music offers the powerful possibility for transformative community building.