16 choirs from 11 countries: Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Philippines, India, Indonesia, and the UK

The only competition in the UK with a purely a cappella focus
2017 celebrates the music of Arvo Pärt
An expert panel of judges comprising Peter Phillips (chairman), Graham Ross, Ghislaine Morgan, Tõnu Kaljuste, and Carolyn Sampson
All participating choirs have the opportunity to perform at a lunchtime concert in a central London venue, and to participate in a specialist workshop with Ghislaine Morgan Audience "extras" include a unique opportunity to view an exhibition of photographs of Arvo Pärt by Kaupo Kikkas, in the UK for the first time
Also includes a film screening of Dorian Supin’s third documentary film of Arvo Pärt even if I lose everything

The London International A Cappella Choral Competition (LIACCC) at St John’s Smith Square, now in its third year, promises to be an exciting week of first-rate music making. This year there are 16 choirs from 11 countries competing over four evenings (26-29 June) for a place in the Grand Final on Saturday 1 July. The 16 choirs are:
Aleron Chamber Choir – Philippines
Arcadia Chamber Choir – Colombia
Cantus Ensemble, The - UK
Copenhagen Chamber Choir CAMERATA – Denmark
Dysonans Chamber Choir – Poland
Ensamble Oltremontani – Chile
Fisher Consort, The – UK
Haarlem Voices – The Netherlands
Iken Scholars – UK
Istvanffy Kamarakorus – Hungary
JINGGASWARA – Indonesia
Octet Cantabile – India
Ole Bull Kammerkor – Norway
Renaissance Singers, The – UK
Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School – UK
Southern Spirit Singers – UK

Conceived in 2013 by Peter Phillips, the London International A Cappella Choral Competition was founded in April 2014 in conjunction with St John's Smith Square. Peter had long dreamed of bringing together vocal groups from around the world to hear each other sing competitively; learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses; and possibly even win! There is no other competition like it in the UK, with a purely a cappella focus, that aims to simultaneously nurture and challenge choirs.

This year LIACCC celebrates the music of Arvo Pärt, with each of the competing choirs performing a selection of his work alongside a wealth of renaissance polyphony and music of each group's own choice (20 minutes total per choir). Joining the chair of the judging panel Peter Phillips, a line-up of internationally-renowned figures, including Graham Ross, Ghislaine Morgan, Tõnu Kaljuste, and Carolyn Sampson will be on hand to offer expert advice. In addition, the competing ensembles will be offered the opportunity to perform a lunchtime concert in a central London venue, and to participate in a specialist workshop with esteemed vocal coach, Ghislaine Morgan.

Following each Heat, a winner will be announced, who will progress to Saturday’s Final. The four Finalists will compete for the coveted winning spot in The Grand Final on Saturday evening.

Prizes will be awarded as follows:
Winner of each Heat - £250
Overall First Prize - £3000 & invitation to perform a concert at St John’s Smith Square
Overall Runner-Up - £1000

The prizes at the Grand Final will be presented by HE Mr Lauri Bambus, Estonian Ambassador to the UK, alongside Peter Phillips.

The day before the competition there will be an opening concert - "Choral Masterpieces of Arvo Pärt" featuring the Holst Singers with Stephen Layton, Sansara, and The Gesualdo Six and the works to be performed are: Solfeggio, Summa (Credo), Magnificat, Virgencita, and Passio. And on Friday 30 June, The Tallis Scholars will give a special concert celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of Heinrich Isaac with his six voice mass, Missa De Apostolis and his triumphant motet Virgo prudentissima written for a big international peace conference in 1507. The programme will also feature two major choral works by Arvo Pärt and the Miserere by Gregorio Allegri penned a century after the death of Isaac in Italy.

Peter Phillips, Chairman of LIACCC said: “For our third edition of LIACCC we have turned to the man who is said to be the most performed living composer - Arvo Pärt. Certainly for The Tallis Scholars and for me personally he has become a central figure in our understanding of contemporary a cappella composition. It is a thrill to be able to highlight his music. It is also a thrill to welcome so many wonderful ensembles from all over the globe, and to hear them in close proximity, both in concert and in competition. This bigger-than-ever LIACCC really is a dream come true.”

LIACCC is delighted to announce a couple of additional extras to celebrate Arvo Pärt and his music. For the first time ever in the UK, an exhibition of photos by Kaupo Kikkas will be open to the public in the Crypt of St John's Smith Square during LIACCC. The exhibition consists of 16 photos by Kaupo Kikkas. The photos portray the recording session of the CD “Adams’s Lament” by the recording company ECM in 2011 in Tallinn, St.Nicholas’ Church. The producer of the CD is Manfred Eicher, conductor is Tõnu Kaljuste and the performers are the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Sinfonietta Riga, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Latvian Radio Choir and Vox Clamantis.

There is also the opportunity to attend a film screening at the Curzon Cinema Victoria on 30 June 4.00pm of Dorian Supin’s third documentary film of Arvo Pärt - “Even if I lose everything”. This film steps closer to the composer, showing him in a domestic setting as a composer, husband, father and grandfather. The title “Even if I lose everything” refers to an entry in Arvo Pärt’s musical notebooks, which the composer browses in the film, together with Immo Mihkelson. The musings and recollections inspired by the notes in these journals, in parallel with domestic scenes, shed light on the composer’s life and creative philosophy, painting a personal, in-depth picture of Arvo Pärt. The film’s soundtrack includes excerpts from Pärt’s works.

Richard Heason, Director of St John’s Smith Square, said: “The London International A Cappella Choral Competition has fast become one of the most exciting and eagerly anticipated events in the St John’s Smith Square calendar. With musicians joining us from across the globe to share their passion for a cappella singing, St John’s Smith Square will be awash with the most glorious music making every day. The combination of music from the great English Renaissance tradition, the music of Arvo Pärt and the free choices of the individual choirs promises a rich and thrilling variety throughout the week and the opportunity to hear so many choirs from such diverse backgrounds come together for one event is without precedent. Bringing all this together will be the peerless Peter Phillips who, with The Tallis Scholars, has set the benchmark for A Cappella choirs for over four decades.”

 

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