Almost 500 participants and guests from 7 countries, 20 choir formations taking part in the competition programme, the festival concerts, the workshops… But these are just figures, behind them are memorable events on and off stage, colourful traditions in choir singing, new skills and plans of professional collaboration. And of course - a lot of hard work to make all of these events possible.
The festival is hosted by the Chernomorski Zvoutsi - Black Sea Sounds Choir with conductor Valentina Georgieva, founder and artistic director of the forum and also member of the jury. This year it included also Vanya Moneva - conductor of the Cosmic Voices Choir and head of the folk choirs' workshop as well as renowned Slovenian conductor and composer Ambroz Copi, head of the mixed voice, male and female and children's choirs workshops. According to the competition rules there is one grand prix for overall presentation and this time it went to the Academic Choir of the Students' Cultural Centre in Nis, Serbia. Here is more from its conductor Zoran Stanisavljevic:
“I am touched and delighted that I received the statuette and several other prizes - for best mixed voice choir, for me personally as best conductor, the Union of Bulgarian Composers prize for best performance of a Bulgarian song. But the best thing about the festival are the memories we take away with us as well as the musical scores we were given here. We, in Serbia love to perform your songs, we enjoy their rhythm.”
First prize in the Male and Female Choirs category went to Alabrea Female Choir with conductor Atanaska Popova. The choir was founded in 2013 and has several first prizes and grand prix at major contests to its name. In 2015 a mixed voice choir was set up, also called Alabrea. Atanaska Popova herself was awarded the prize for up-and-coming young conductor. The two Alabrea formations, along with a host of other choirs took part in the workshops for mixed voice, male and female and children's choirs, headed by Ambroz Copi. Two works by him were performed at the gala concert. One of them - Laudate Dominum for mixed voice choir was composed by Ambroz Copi as a special gift for the festival and was performed by the participants from Greece, Turkey, Serbia, Norway and Bulgaria. Until We Meet Again was presented by the female and children's choirs from Bulgaria. The song is dedicated to the Bodra Pesen children's choir from Shoumen.
This year's programme of the Black Sea Sounds festival was yet another opportunity for choirs to perform and enrich their repertoire. Valentina Georgieva recaps:
“The novelty this year is the participation of the Spectrum group. I feel sure that this will lay the foundations of a new line in the festival programme of presenting vocal groups. The other new thing is the release of a song book. The idea was born last year and we carried it through comparatively quickly. Some time ago Krassen Ivanov, leader of the Zhelezni Strouni choir from Razgrad, did arrangements for mixed choir of songs from the repertoire of the rock bands Tonica and Shtourtsite. The Union of Bulgarian Composers undertook to release them. We are truly grateful for this support. It is a wonderful thing that these songs will now be made available to more choirs.”
The audio features an interview with Mr. Ambroz Copi and the pieces:
- Granny, performed by the Chernomorski Zvoutsi choir;
- Rada, performed by the Academic Choir of the Students' Cultural Centre, Serbia;
- Until We Meet Again, performed by the Chernomorski Zvoutsi choir;
- Djore, performed by Spectrum.
English version: Milena Daynova