Lund International Choral Festival

11 Oct

“Once More, With Feeling!”

By Alisa Nikitina

Another week-long festival will make local art connoisseurs happy – this time, with a polyphony of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses which are going to fill in the walls of the Domkyrka, city theater, city library, as well as several university buildings. On October 11-17, Lund will host its third International Choral Festival. The Dynamo decided to find out what’s in there for international students…


Youth choir 'Scala', from Belgium. Picture courtesy of Musik i Syd©.


Not that long ago, in 2006, somebody up there decided to nominate the city of Lund for a prestigious title, that of “European Capital of Culture 2014”. And although we lost to Umeå, the competitive spirit had brought to life many worthwhile traditions, among which the Lund International Choral Festival.

In its two first editions, in 2006 and 2008, the festival rocked the city, attracting 18,000 visitors altogether. This year, organizers aim to make 10,000 people come to Lund to enjoy the performances of 2,000 international as well as local performers.

Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Germany, France, England, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Israel, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Venezuela, Canada, the USA, Cuba, China, Singapore, Mongolia… Out of all the countries which have been or will be represented, the most “exotic”, according to one of the organizers, is Madagascar.

What makes the festival special this year? First and foremost, FREE entrance to 16 out of 35 events organized in the course of the week. You have an opportunity to enjoy the performance of several local choirs (Lund, Malmö, Dalby). Secondly, for a fee (reduced for students: 130-280 SEK, compared to a normal ‘adult’ ticket at 165-350 SEK), you can listen to the stars of the choral world.

Thus, the Gala concert, which is to be held on October 13th, will be a grand gathering of 500 “amateurs” (choirs from all over southern Sweden), featuring Signe Lind as a soprano, and Joachim Bäckström as a tenor (both are well-known performers of the Royal Theater of Copenhagen as well as Malmö Opera).

October 16th promises an even larger crowd – and, definitely, a much noisier one… Welcome the SjungGung, a choir of 600 children and adolescents, alongside Calaisa, comics/musicians Stefan&Kim and Eurovision star Shirley Clamp. This party is going to take place at Färs&Frösta Sparbank Arena (same location for the main Gala concert).

The Tallis Scholars represent the United Kingdom at the festival this year. Titled as “the rock stars of renaissance music” by the New York Times, the ‘Scholars’ seem to be on a non-stop tour of the world, warmly greeted in Japan, China, and the United States. The choir has had the pleasure to work with legends such as Sting and Paul McCartney, as well as the honour to open the renewed Sistine Chapel in Rome in 1994.

For the first time in the history of the festival, Lund is going to hear Gospel music, represented by an award-winning London Community Gospel Choir. “Controversial, Professional, Energetic, Inspiring and Spirit-filled” – that’s how the choir describes themselves.

If you want to find out what happens when two old rivals meet on the same scene, you should definitely consider attending the “Lund vs. Uppsala” concert, given by a mixed choir from Lund and Uppsala universities.

Those of you who are especially interested in acquiring theoretical knowledge as well as practical tips on choir singing, should consider attending the workshops – two of them, “Choir in Focus”, will be held in English. The workshops are held in cooperation with Lund University.

And last but not least… A great opportunity to attend one or more of the ‘non-free’ concerts for free is to volunteer for the festival – a nice way to enjoy the show and contribute to its happening at the same time.

To help you decide which concert you’d like to see, visit the festival’s official web page.

See you there? 🙂


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