Applications are invited to the 29th Béla Bartók International Choir Competition

The 29th edition of the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Debrecen will be held between 1-4 August. The professional partner of the main organiser Kodály Filharmonia Debrecen is the world’s largest youth music organisation, Jeunesses Musicales. Applications for the prestigious competition are invited until 15 April on the competition’s official website.

Founded in 1961, the Béla Bartók International Choral Competition (BBCC) is one of the world’s most prestigious music competitions, aiming to present contemporary a cappella choral works of the highest quality. This year’s competition, which has been revamped after the pandemic, is open to choirs in two categories and three sub-categories.

Zoltán Kocsis-Holper, chairman of the artistic committee of the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition, emphasised that „the competition would like to create an opportunity where singers from all over the world can feel comfortable as a large community that loves and cultivates choral singing at a high level, while they can show and measure their skills in a competitive situation. This is a celebration of contemporary choral music, where, in addition to high professional standards, it is important to build professional relationships by getting to know each other’s musical cultures. The outstanding Hungarian composers living with us and their works will play a prominent role in this. So the original content, unique in the world, will be preserved, while we also want to give an opportunity to choirs who, for the time being, just want to get to know the competition and gain experience. This year, unlike in previous years, choirs will be invited to compete in two main categories, both including children’s & youth, sacred and free sub-categories. In category A, choirs will be required to perform a compulsory piece, while in category B, they will be invited to perform a contemporary piece of their choice, as specified in the call for entries. The jury will select the best performers in category A for the Grand Prize competition.”

Dániel Somogyi-Tóth, Director of the main organiser, Kodály Philharmonic and chief music director of the city of Debrecen, expressed his pleasure that „after the success of the Zoltán Kodály International Music Competition, newly launched in 2022, the more than 60-year-old Béla Bartók International Choir Competition will be renewed this year, not only in its structure but also in its image, which, in addition to rethinking the prestige of a major competition with a long tradition, expresses the city’s commitment to quality, cultural innovation and the continued support of young musical talent. ”

All rounds of the 2024 Béla Bartók International Choir Competition are open to the public. The event will be hosted at several venues in Debrecen, and there will also be accompanying events throughout the city.

This year’s Béla Bartók International Choir Competition Grand Prize winners will again be invited to compete in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, which will be held in Arezzo, Debrecen, Jurmala, Maribor, Tolosa, Tours and Varna, with venues changing annually.

Detailed information on how to apply can be found here.