The Béla Bartók International Choir Competition is renewed

The Béla Bartók International Choir Competition in Debrecen, now in its 29th edition, will be held for the first time in a new format from 1-4 August. The main organiser, Kodály Philharmonia Debrecen, is the professional partner of Jeunesses Musicales, the world’s largest youth music organisation. Applications for the prestigious competition are welcome until 15 April on the competition’s official website at href=””>.

Founded in 1961, the Béla Bartók International Choral Competition (BBCC) is one of the world’s most prestigious music competitions, dedicated to the high quality of contemporary a cappella choral music. This year, the competition has been revamped after the pandemic, and 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, emphasized:  “we 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 at the same time we want to give choirs who want to get to know the competition and gain experience. This year, unlike in previous years, choirs will be invited to compete in two categories, children’s, youth, church music and sub-categories of their choice. In category A, choirs must perform a compulsory piece of music, while in category B, they can enter 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.”

The chief music director of the city of Debrecen, the director of the main organizer Kodály Philharmonia, Dániel Somogyi-Tóth;conductor, 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 terms of its structure but also in its image, which, in addition to rethinking the prestige of a serious competition with a long tradition of decades, expresses the city’s commitment to quality, cultural innovation and the continuous support of young musical talent.”     

All rounds of the 2024 Béla Bartók International Choir Competition will be open to the public, with several venues in Debrecen and accompanying events throughout the city.

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