Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Philippine Madrigal Singers Cap Tour with European Gran Prix; Hold Record for Winning Tilt Twice

The Philippine Madrigal Singers has yet again triumphed as it bested four others in the 19th European Gran Prix for Choral Music in Arezzo, Italy at 10 pm Rome time, on August 27th, 2007. The 23-strong chamber choir, including choirmaster Mark Anthony Carpio, overwhelmed the four top choirs in the world’s most prestigious and respected choral competition.

The obvious crowd favorite in their trademark seated crescent position, the University of the Philippines-based Madz distinguished their inimitable musical prowess from the other competitors by demonstrating their interpretational versatility with John August Pamintuan’s Pater Noster, Claude Le Jeune’s Revoici venir du printemps, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Jagdlied, Z. Randall Stroope’s We Beheld Once Again the Stars (Riveder le Stelle), and former Madz singer Nilo Alcala II’s Kaisa-isa Niyan. Known in the international choral world for creating a distinctive sound specific to a musical genre, the Madz’s interpretation of contemporary, French madrigal, Romantic and folk pieces, as well as the exposition of their ability to sing these in Latin, French, German, Italian, and Filipino have proven to the international jury that they are, inarguably, the best choir in the world. Again.

In 1997, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, under the helm of their founder, National Artist for Music Andrea O. Veneracion, took home the Gran Prix then held in Tours, France. The victory in Arezzo now makes the Madz the only choir in the world to have won the Gran Prix twice in its entire history. The most awarded choir in Asia now holds one more historical record.

The European Gran Prix is held every year in six revolving locations. These are Arezzo and Gorizia in Italy, Debrecen in Hungary, Tolosa in Spain, Tours in France, and Varna in Bulgaria. Each location produces its own international competition of which a grand prize winner is named. These winners then represent the respective locations in the European Gran Prix the following year. The Taipei Chamber Singers (Taipei, Taiwan) won the Bela Bartok International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hungary; Cantemus (Nyíregyhàza, Hungary) won the Concorso Cesare Augusto (C.A.) Seghizzi in Gorizia, Italy; Schola Cantorum Coralina (Havana, Cuba) won the Concorso Polifónico Guido d'Arezzo in Arezzo, Italy; and Children's Choir Vesna (Moscow, Russia) won the Concurso Coral de Tolosa, Spain. The Madz won the Florilège Vocal de Tours in Tours, France. The International May Choir Competition in Varna, Bulgaria is held every two years. Varna did not have a competition last year, and was therefore not represented in this year's Grand Prix. (Photos courtesy of J. Bollozos, official photos to be posted soon)