by Andreas W. Zehent, Munich, Germany
The finals of the prestigious international choral competition “Let the People Sing“ are taking place in Munich (Germany) this weekend. “Let the People Sing“ is a competition founded by BBC and now organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Every other year the finals are hosted in a different city. This time, it is hosted by the Bavarian radio and television station Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR).
On Saturday, October 10 there is a great choral get-together at the University for Music and Theater Munich where you can hear the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks – one of the best professional choirs in the world – the finalists of 2015 and the two choirs of the finals from the Luxemburg finals two years ago.
The Finals 2015
- Sofia Vokalensemble (cond.: Bengt Ollén), Sweden
- Riga Latvian Society Chamber Choir Austrums (cond.: Arijs Skepasts), Latvia
- KlangsCala (cond.: Helmut Zeilner), Austria
- Madrigalchor der Hochschule für Musik und Theater München (cond.: Martin Steidler), Germany
Children and Youth Choirs
- Aarhus Pigekor (Aarhus Girls Choir, cond.: Helle Høyer Vedel), Denmark
- Romanian Radio Children’s Choir (cond.: Voicu Popescu), Romania
- Young People’s Chorus of New York City (cond.: Francisco Nunez), USA
- Singers Ltd. (cond.: Tim Venvell), England
- Cosmic Voices Choir (cond.: Vanya Moneva), Bulgaria
More Information at www.br-klassik.de.
Sunday evening, 7pm German Time, the competition takes place at the Bavaria Brodcasting Station (BR). There will be a live stream (www.br-klassik.de) via most of the EBU member stations.
„Finale dahoam“ – The Magical Choir as a host
Germany is represented at the finals by one of its best semi-professional choirs. In 2014 the “Madrigalchor der Hochschule für Musik und Theater” won the German Choir Competition (Deutscher Chorwettbewerb) and after a nomination by the Bavarian Broadcasting Station he made it to the finals. At a USA concert trip last year they got the nickname “Magical Choir”, because it’s much more familiar than the German word “Madrigalchor” and people thought it’s a fit with the inspiring sound of this ensemble. We spoke with its conductor, Prof. Martin Steidler.
Martin Steidler is professor for choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. He is the artistic leader of the Madrigalchor, the Heinrich-Schütz-Ensemble Vornbach and the AUDI Youth Choir Academy. He works with great personalities like Kent Nagano, Julian Pregardien and institutions like the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin, the Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting Station (BR) on a regular basis. He is traveling around Europe and all over the world with his ensembles and as a guest conductor.
Interview with Prof. Martin Steidler
Welcome Prof. Steidler. On this weekend you’re participating at the choral competition „Let the People Sing“ with your Madrigalchor. The next highlight, after winning the German Choral Competition! What makes your choir that special? Why are you so successful?
The Madrigalchor is a very special ensemble. There are a lot of great personalities, which have decided to share their passion for music and make this to a key attitude in their life. There is always a great YES to everything we are doing und an unbelievable positive energy you can feel when working with the ensemble. This is incredibly inspiring.
More than 70 musical students are singing in your choir. The atmosphere seems to be phenomenal. How do you form this group and lead it to a positive and performance-enhancing spirit?
I try to form this community as a strong team and although there are a lot of students leaving each year we were able to establish this as a part of the university and the choral life in our region. Therefore we look at the details and keep an eye on exciting projects, a good structure, efficient rehearsals and we give room on a personal level. We always find new talents and able to integrate them in our community.
You are performing at choral competitions, with different orchestras, cooperating with the BR and you have the daily projects at university. How do you handle your time plan and where do you draw the line?
This is a balancing act. I have to choose every project very carefully. The students and other courses may not be influenced too much and so we are not able to sing every project, when invited. The quality of the music, the variety of the repertoire and how it fits the strengths of the choir and the opportunity of interesting partnerships determine this process.
Despite all this projects a competition final like „Let the Peoples Sing“ is a special Highlight?
Yes of course. The conjoint effort and focus gives an incredible strong input. Working on a short program, rehearsing very intensively on every detail is incredibly enriching. The choir profits the whole year, because the concentration and quality in our work helps us to cross borders we wouldn’t be able to cross in our daily routine.
What is so unique about this competiton?
The quality of the ensembles, the internationality and the worldwide broadcasting.
Is it something special for you to host it in your hometown Munich?
Yes, it’s a special honor to be the co-host for choirs from all over the world.
And you want to win?
We want to share our passion and all the things we could experience I our rehearsals: intensity, collective emotion, elation and musical interpretation. That’s the goal. We want to stretch the arc of suspense and deliver the best possible performance at the competition.
Thank you for this interview. Now you can convince us on Sunday evening at 7 pm. We can watch and listen the live stream all around the world.