The inaugural London International A Cappella Choir Competition is set to take place at St John’s Smith Square this month. The week-long competition (21-26 April) had planned to be a celebration of Sir John Tavener’s 70th birthday, but following his death in November, the competition is now being held in his memory. Lady Tavener will present the awards at the competition’s grand final.

The competition will open with a concert from The Tallis Scholars on 21 April. Tallis Scholars conductor Peter Phillips will also feature as part of the judging panel, along with James O’ Donnell, Mark Williams, Dame Emma Kirkby, John Rutter and founder member of the King’s Singer’s Alastair Hume.

Peter Phillips said of the competition: ‘It has long been a dream of mine to host an international choir competition in London. When some of the trustees of St John’s Smith Square asked me for ideas to headline their 300th anniversary celebrations, I realised that this was the perfect venue and occasion with which to realise my ideas. We have already been immensely lucky to have attracted choirs from all over the world. We set them difficult repertoire and they have all taken up the challenge magnificently.

‘What with the opportunity to give a further concert in one of London’s many historic Wren and Hawksmoor churches, the chance to perform for, and receive feedback from, some of this country’s most experienced choral experts, and to compete in the inspiring surroundings of St John’s, these choirs will surely be taken to new levels. Do join us. We think we are in for a unique and fascinating week.’

This year’s competition features international competitors and choirs from the UK and Ireland; lined up to take part are: Voces Musicales (Tallinn, Estonia; pictured); The Byrd Ensemble (Seattle, USA); Constanzo Porta (Cremona, Italy); Coro ‘El León de Oro’ (Luanco, Spain); Dysonans Chamber Choir (Poznań, Poland); Vox Lundensis (Lund, Sweden); The Erebus Ensemble (Bristol, UK); New Dublin Voices (Dublin, Ireland); Renaissance (Durham, UK); Reverie (London, UK); The Victoria Consort (Oxford, UK).

The 11 competing choirs will perform across three nights of concerts (23-25 April), with the final taking place on 26 April.

www.sjss.org.uk/london-international-cappella-choir-competition

(Image credit: Ilma Dirigendita)

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