Bel Canto Choir Vilnius joins the club of the world’s best choirs

At the World Choir Games 2014, organized in the Latvian capital Riga in July 2014, the mixed voices Bel Canto Choir Vilnius received 90.63 points and won the Gold medal. By doing so, the 5-year-old Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, together with other choirs, anchored in the league of the world’s greatest choirs. Gold medals of the Choir Games are awarded to the choirs that receive between 80 and 100 points from the jury; silver medals are given to the choirs that gain 60 to 80 points, while bronze medals are handed to the choirs that collect 40 to 60 points. This was Bel Canto Choir Vilnius’ first appearance at the World Choir Games – the choristers competed in the category of Contemporary Music within the Champions Competition.


At this most important worldwide choral competition, Bel Canto Choir Vilnius performed the most complex and complicated programme: I Am Here written exclusively for the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius by Lithuanian composer Vytautas Miškinis; To See a World by Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström; O Quam Tristis by Lithuanian composer Giedrius Svilainis, and Neišeik, Saulala by Vytautas Miškinis. The Contemporary Music category is one of the most challenging in the competition – in order to enter the competition in this category, each choir has to perform a piece written exclusively for them.

Artūras Dambrauskas, Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Bel Canto Choir Vilnius, says that the Gold Medal at the World Choir Games is an incredible achievement for a merely 5 years old choir.

“We have been working hard and purposely from the very day the choir was founded in 2009, and I am very happy that this achievement crowns our 5-year efforts not only in Lithuania, but also on the global level. When at the end of 2013 we were announced as the best amateur mixed choir in Lithuania, we could not hide our joy and pride. However, we kept our dreams of the Gold medal at the World Choir Games secret – we simply did not expect it this year. I am very proud of my entire team – the most wonderful singers and choirmasters. I also would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all of our friends – our patrons and volunteers. What we did together is very important not only to us, but to the entire Lithuanian choir music culture too.”

19 choirs competed with Bel Canto Choir Vilnius in the contemporary music category at the Games. Their performances were evaluated by the jury which included the elite of the global choral music, such as Spanish composer and conductor Javier Busto, Latvian conductor and music educator Rihards Dubra, popular Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, Hungarian composer Levente Gyöngyösi, author of music, professor Henry Leck from the USA; the founder of the Conducting Department at the Beijing Conservatory, expert of the Committee of Arts under the Chinese Ministry of Culture, professor Lingfen Wu, as well as the globally acclaimed Lithuanian composer, educator and conductor Vytautas Miškinis.

The World Choir Games is the most important competition of choral music in the world. This year the games took place in Latvia, thus becoming the key event in the programme of the European Capital of Culture. As many as 470 choirs from 73 countries took part in the Games.

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