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Tour and musical meeting with Ola Gjeilo
During a long weekend in May Sofia Vokalensemble once again traveled Lithuania. We began our tour with a performance at the the 1st International Choir and Orchestra Festival in Birštonas. We then held a concert together with the choir Bel Canto Choras and the Norwegian/American composer Ola Gjeilo in Vilnius.
Men’s choir tour -
Latvia and Lithuania (2016)
The men of Sofia Vokalensemble were on tour in the Baltics in September. The tour began in Riga where we held a concert with Mixed Choir Juventus. We then continued our journey to Kaunas and lastly went to Vilnius where we met and performed together with Bel Canto Chorus. A long weekend filled with great musical memories!
Symphony of Psalms – Sofia Vokalensemble’s ladies on tour
Aix-en-Provence, France and London, United Kingdom (2016)
During the summer of 2015 Sofia Vokalensemble received a fantastic offer – to perform Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms together with Orphei Drängar and the ladies of Gustaf Sjökvists kammarkör at the opera festival in Aix-en-Provence the following year. We gladly accepted and the rehearsals began in the spring of 2016. In July the sopranos and altos travelled to France to meet conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and Polar Prize winner Peter Sellers who directed the performance. The premiere was held on July 15th and the second performance took place two days later. A truly amazing project!
Later in the fall it was time to perform the piece once more, this time at the Royal Festival Hall in London. We were on stage on September 29t and the performance was broadcast live on radio on BBC 3.
Festival des Choeurs Lauréats
Provence, France (2015)
Three years ago we won the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. Besides the great honor to be crowned the winners we got invited to a large choir festival in Provence, “Festival des Choeurs Lauréats”. During our tour in the region we held five concerts and had the chance to visit beautiful villages such as Lamastre and Lauris but also sang in the old town of Avignon. We really appreciated the trip and the enthusiasic French audience.
10th World Symposium on Choral Music – tour in South Korea
Busan and Seoul, South Korea (2014)
In April 2013 we received the happy news that we were one of 25 ensembles worldwide chosen to perform at the 10th World Symposium on Choral Music in Seoul. In August 2014 we traveled far east to South Korea and held concerts both in Busan and Seoul.
Czech Choir Festival – Tour in Czech Republic
Hradec Králové and Pragie, the Czech Rebublic (2013)
During our tour in Italy 2012 we met the Czech male octet Gentlemen Singers that every year arranges a choir festival at home. They generously invited us to the Czech Choir Festival which was held between 13-20th June and we got to spend a fun and busy week in the regions near Prague. We had our own concerts, held a workshop and performed the Czech piece “Kytice” togehter with the other participating ensembles.
La Fabbrica del Canto – Italy tour
Lombardy, Italy (2012)
During eight eventful days we toured in the region of Lombardy and held concerts in the Milan area. The International Choir Festival “La Fabbrica del Canto” invited us and seven other prominent ensembles from Europe and many musical encounters occurred during the week. For example we got to sing in a church with 12 seconds of reverberation to be compared to next evening’s concert venue which was outside in a monastery garden. The Italian audience was warm and enthusiastic, and we enjoyed the Italian food, sun and music.
European Grand Prix-success in Slovenia
Maribor, Slovenia (2012)
Excited and happy, we returned once again to Maribor, Slovenia. This time to participate in the big European Grand Prix Final. The other choirs we met had won their respective competitions in 2011 and performed their strongest programs. The judges were treated with Ukrainian power, cool Japanese choirs and Filipinos in costume. But our own competition program that showed musical range – from the Renaissance to the present day -was at the top of the course when the title for the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing in 2012 was distributed.
… And the winner of the Europan Grand Prix for Choral Singing in 2012 is … Sofia Vokalensemble!
The joy knew no bounds when we heard who won and the victory trophy received many kisses throughout the evening. Here you can listen to parts of our competition program:
Abendlied, Max Reger
Psalms of Repentence X, Alfred Schnittke
Grand Slam in Slovenia
Maribor, Slovenia (2011)
“My God! We won it ALL!”. The thought spun through our heads when we tired and happy sat on the shuttle bus home from Maribor. Besides great experiences, we got to bring a magnum bottle of champagne, perhaps the world’s largest chocolate bar and five, fat gold medals back to Stockholm.
For five intense days in April 2011 Sofia Vokalensemble attended the 11th International Choral Competition in Maribor, Slovenia. A bunch of skilled choirs from Spain, Germany and the Philippines offered us some good competition, but with a musical peak and with a great team spirit we won all the competition’s sub sections. At the award ceremony, we received, among other things the audience prize and the competition’s overall trophy – the Grand Prix.
The win qualified us for the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing that takes place in spring 2012, also in Maribor.
On tour in Poland
Szczecin, Poland (2010)
In May 2010 we took a detour down to Szczecin in Poland. We were specially invited by the city’s annual Choir Festival to do two concerts. The first in cooperation with a Japanese choir “Japan Elisabeth Singers choir” in German Prenzlau, located a stone’s throw from the Polish border. Concert number two was the festival’s gala concert at the Philharmonic hall in Szczecin, where we appeared together with a Japanese and a Puerto Rican choir. The repertoire included Francois Poulencs “Sept chansons”, and a lot of Swedish music – both traditional and newly composed choral music.
Victory in Bergen
Bergen, Norway (2009)
It may be Europe’s rainiest city, but we had the sun in our hearts during our entire trip to Bergen in Norway. We focused for yet another choir competition – this time the Grieg International Choir Festival. Sofia Vokalensemble participated in two competition classes, one for sacred music (sacral) and one of contemporary music (contemporary). The competition went well and took us to the finals where we competed with three pieces: Schnittke’s Psalm of Repentance X, Eric Whitacre’s Water Night and Bengt Ollén’s arrangement of I denna ljuva sommartid (In the lovely summertime). The competition was fierce. In particular, the Norwegian Kammerkoret NOVA offered tough resistance. But we managed to win the final battle and took home the competition’s total prize – the Grand Prix.
Gorizia, Italy (2008)
Choir competition: 47th International Choral Competition “C.A. Seghizzi”
1 st prize in two categories, second prize in the Grand Prix finals.
Cape Town, South Africa (2007)
Country wide tour
Radio broadcast concert from Johannesburg and appearances in Durban and Cape Town.
Helsinki, Finland (2006)
Choir competition: II International Harald Andersén Chamber Choir Competition
Shared 1st/2nd prize (with Victoria Chamber Choir, Hungary).
Bremen, Germany (2004)
Choir competition: Choir Olympics
Gold medal, “Mixed Chamber Choirs” (first runner up) 92,25p Best European Choir
Gold medal, “Musica Sacra a capella” (second runner up) 83,63p Best European Choir
Gold medal, “Musica Contemporanea” (second runner up) 88.00p Best European Choir
Ljubljana, Slovenia (2003)
Country wide tour
Concerts held in churches in the nation’s capital as well as in Maribour. Co-operation with local choirs.
Hong Kong, China (2000)
Tour and official representation for Swedish consulate
Participation in the event Euro Christmas.
Cork, Ireland (2000)
Choir competition: Fleischmann International Trophy Competition
Second Runner Up (Bronze) with the score 90.9, a mere 0.8 points behind the winner.
Sicily, Italy (1999/2000/2001)
Choir competition: XXI International Review of Music, 2001 – Honorary plaque
From the independent vacation- and tourism bureau to the Sofia Vocal Ensemble: “Special International Award of the Jury” and Honorary plaque with “respect and gratitude”.
Preveza, Greece (1999)
Choir Competition: International Competition of Sacred Music
Gold medal in the category “Chamber Choirs – Mixed Voices”
Silver medal in the category “Chamber Choirs – Women Section”
Silver medal in the category “Chamber Choirs – Male Section”
Special award for “Best Performance of Orthodox Chant”
Lara, Venezuela (1998)
Country wide tour
Received diploma from the city council of Iribarren, Venezuela “for realizing a cultural exchange and strengthening interinstitutional relations between our countries”.From the mayor’s office of Iribarren, Venezuela to “recognize your stimulating work as distinguished dignitaries of moral welfare on a regional and national level.”
S:t Petersburg, Russia (1996)
Country wide tour
Tour of western Russia with appearances in churches and concert halls.