Choir competition at the Deutsches Chorfest Stuttgart 2016 | Announcement

After the successes in Bremen in 2008 and Frankfurt 2012, the Deutscher Chorverband (German Choral Association) is again announcing a choir competition for the Deutsches Chorfest 2016 (German Choir Festival 2016) in Stuttgart. Ensembles of all sizes and genres are welcome to participate - from children's choirs to a cappella trios.

To give every ensemble a fair chance to compete according to their ability, the competition has two levels of difficulty. The event is categorized by genre, and each choir can compete in one or two of seven categories - from early music/classical to show/musical. Children's and youth choirs, as well as vocal ensembles and vocal bands are not classified not by genre, but by ensemble type and can select their programme freely. The competition is open to all non-professional ensembles with at least 13 members, or with 3 to 12 members in the vocal ensemble or vocal band categories. Non-professional ensembles are defined as those whose members do not earn their living primarily by singing or vocal teaching.

Categories

The ensembles can register in one or two categories:

  • Early Music/Classical
  • Romantic sacred (type of composition)
  • Romantic secular (type of composition)
  • Contemporary choral music in a modern musical language
  • Jazz/Pop/Gospel
  • Folk/World Music
  • Show/Musical

The following categories will be defined by ensemble type rather than by genre:

  • Children's choirs (age limit: average age 14, maximum age 16)
  • Youth choirs (age limit: maximum age 22)
  • Vocal ensembles (3 to 12 members, with no conductor. Ensembles are required to perform works in at least two different styles.)
  • Vocal bands (3 to 12 members, with no conductor)

In order to ensure that ensembles are compared in a fair way and to accommodate their different skill levels, the organizers will classify submissions into two categories of ability based on the audio recordings received.

Programme

All works must be performed a cappella, with the exception of these categories:

  • Children's choirs: An accompanying instrument is allowed (the organizers provide a piano). At least one work must be performed a cappella. Lip-synching is not allowed.
  • Jazz/Pop/Gospel and Show/Musical: Instrumental accompaniment with a trio consisting of piano/guitar, bass and drums/percussion is allowed. A small drum set, piano and a PA system is provided by the organizer. Amplification for the ensemble can be provided on request.
  • Jazz/Pop/Gospel and Vocal bands: Microphones are allowed for vocal percussion (beatbox) and soloists. Ensembles may bring their own microphones. A PA system is provided by the organizer.

If you have any questions regarding the programming, the artistic director of the competition will offer advice beforehand. The competition presentation must be between 12 and 15 minutes long. If this duration is exceeded, the jury chairman may stop the performance. After the competition, every ensemble will have the opportunity to perform a première of a folk song arrangement in any musical style. Entry programmes must be submitted by 31 December 2015 at the latest.

Evaluation

The participants' programmes will be evaluated with a maximum of 25 points each. Soloist performances are not included in the evaluation. It is preferred that works are performed without sheet music, but this has no direct effect on the evaluation. The première of a folk song arrangement will be evaluated separately.

The performances are evaluated based on the following criteria:

a) technical aspects including intonation, rhythm, phrasing, articulation
b) artistic aspects including timing, agogics, dynamics, musical interpretation of the text, faithfulness to the work or style, choral sound, evocativeness
c) dramaturgy, presentation, choreography, stage presence

The evaluation is based on the criteria listed below, taking into account their importance for the respective categories.

The jury will evaluate the choirs with ratings and points:

  • Participated with excellence (25.0 to 23.0 points)
  • Participated with distinction (22.9 to 21.0 points)
  • Participated with merit (20.9 to 16.0 points)
  • Participated with honours (15.9 to 11.0 points)
  • Participated (10.9 to 1.0 points)

Every ensemble will receive a certificate showing their rating and, where applicable, the prize awarded in each category, as well as a written assessment by the respective jury patron who will also be available to give a personal evaluation with the ensemble leaders at the event.

Prizes

Prize money or other prizes (sheet music vouchers, concert appearances, CD productions and radio recordings) with a value of up to 500 euros will be awarded in each category. The number of prizes will depend on the number of ensembles registered in each category. (Prizes can be awarded to one third of the participants at most, with no more than three prizes in each category.)

First prizes are only awarded to entrants with the best rating ("participated with excellence"). Second and third prizes are for "participated with distinction". If the winners' points are equal, the prizes will be shared.

In addition, special prizes will be awarded for the best première of a folk song arrangement, the best ensemble from Baden-Württemberg, and the best ensemble in all categories.

Jury

In each category, the jury will consist of three jurors. The jury will determine the award within the category and also nominate ensembles for special prizes. The awarding of special prizes will be decided by the overall jury. Jury deliberations are not held in public. The jurors are bound to confidentiality regarding details of the jury deliberations. The decision of the jury is final. There is no right to legal appeal.

The chairman of the jury is Prof. Reiner Schuhenn, church musician, conductor, and professor of choral and orchestral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln, where he was principal from 2009 to 2013. He re-founded and is the director of the Madrigalchor at the university, and also director of the Figuralchor Bonn and the Aachener Studentenorchester. His arts-related work has included jury duty at various competitions, guest conducting, and numerous radio and television recordings. Schuhenn is vice president of the Allgemeiner Cäcilienverband, member of the Presidium of the Deutscher Musikrat and author and editor of numerous publications..

Dates

The competition will take place all day on 26, 27 and 28 May 2016. Details of performance times and locations will be provided to participating ensembles in early 2016. The prizes will be awarded on 29 May 2016.

Registration

Registration for the competition must be completed before 31 December 2015. The competition is open only to choirs and ensembles taking part in the 2016 Deutsches Chorfest in Stuttgart. Registration requires a one-off payment of 100 euros per adult choir and 50 euros per child/youth choir which must be paid in addition to the participant fee.

The following documents are required for registration (preferably send by mail to projektbuero@deutscher-chorverband.de): A short biography with a photo of the ensemble and artistic director; selection in one or two of the competition categories; a recent audio recording (preferably an MP3 file). If possible, please select which of the ability levels (I or II) is suitable for your ensemble. All registration documents including your competition programme, along with three sheet music copies for the jury, must be submitted by 31 December 2015. Copyrighted sheet music may only be used in its original form, or copies made with a printing or copying license. Sheet music will be returned to participating ensembles after the competition.

Changes to the announcement

The Deutsche Chorverband reserves the right to change or supplement details of this competition announcement in the case of unforeseen technical, organizational or artistic issues or for reasons of force majeure. If a large number of entries is received, the registration deadline will be brought forward.