Home » Phnom Penh Hosts its First International Choir Competition: A Melodic Celebration of Culture and Harmony

Phnom Penh Hosts its First International Choir Competition: A Melodic Celebration of Culture and Harmony

by Surya Narayan
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Phnom Penh is set to resonate with the harmonious sounds of choirs from across Southeast Asia and beyond as it hosts the inaugural Phnom Penh International Choir Competition from May 29 to June 1, 2024. Organized by INTERKULTUR, a globally renowned leader in choral events, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, and the Municipality of Phnom Penh, this event promises to establish Cambodia’s capital city as a new hub on the world choral map.

The Phnom Penh International Choir Competition is a landmark event, bringing together approximately 200 participants from seven choirs across Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. These ensembles include the CIA First International School Choir and Phnom Penh Singers from Cambodia, Kupang City Chorale and Gita Suara Choir ISBI Bandung from Indonesia, The Young KL Singers and BAVE Concert Choir from Malaysia, and Thammasat University Chorus from Thailand.

INTERKULTUR, which has been a beacon of choral excellence for over 30 years, aims to foster cultural exchange and mutual understanding through music. With a legacy of uniting over 11,000 choirs and around 460,000 singers worldwide, INTERKULTUR’s events are celebrated for their ability to bring people together through the universal language of music. This competition in Phnom Penh will be no exception.

A Rich Program of Events

The competition will unfold over four days at prominent venues in Phnom Penh, including the Chaktomuk Theatre and the Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC). The schedule includes a variety of events designed to engage both participants and the public.

The festivities will kick off with an opening ceremony at the Chaktomuk Theatre, followed by a series of competitive performances and workshops at ITC. These workshops, led by choral experts such as Peder Karlsson, co-founder of a new choral movement in Sweden, will provide valuable learning experiences for conductors, singers, and choirs of all levels. Karlsson’s workshop, titled “Fun, Flow and Focus,” will cover essential topics like rhythm, intonation, and blending, as well as innovative rehearsal techniques to enhance choir performance.

Participants will also have the opportunity to showcase their talents in public performances, including Friendship Concerts at Aeon Mall 1. These concerts aim to delight the local audience while fostering a spirit of camaraderie among the visiting choirs.

The competition itself will be judged by a distinguished panel of international experts, including Senior Artistic Directors Johan Rooze from the Netherlands and Fred Sjöberg from Sweden, as well as jury members from Cambodia and Thailand. The event will culminate in an awards and closing ceremony at ITC, where the best performances will be recognized and celebrated.

A Commitment to Sustainability

In line with global efforts to promote sustainability, the Phnom Penh International Choir Competition is committed to maximizing its positive impact while minimizing its environmental footprint. The organizers have partnered with EcoSol France to calculate and offset the event’s carbon emissions. Gold Standard carbon credits will be purchased through Everland to support the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, a project endorsed by the Cambodian Ministry of the Environment.

Additionally, the competition aims to combat plastic pollution by purchasing certified plastic credits from TONTOTON, an organization that works with vulnerable communities in Cambodia to collect and process plastic waste. This initiative not only addresses environmental issues but also contributes to poverty reduction and community empowerment.

Furthermore, the competition will support access to clean water and education through donations. For every participant, US$2 will be donated to the “Water in Schools” program by Teuk Saat 1001, which provides drinking water to schoolchildren in rural areas. Another US$3 per participant will go to SIPAR’s “Mobile Library” program, which brings books to underprivileged communities, promoting literacy and educational opportunities.

A Celebration of Cultural Exchange and Musical Excellence

The Phnom Penh International Choir Competition is more than just a contest; it is a celebration of cultural diversity, artistic expression, and international friendship. By bringing together choirs from different countries and backgrounds, the event underscores the power of music to transcend borders and unite people.

For Phnom Penh, this competition marks a significant milestone in its cultural journey. It showcases the city’s growing status as a vibrant cultural center and highlights Cambodia’s rich musical heritage. The event also offers a platform for local choirs to gain international exposure and experience, fostering artistic growth and development within the country.

As the city prepares to host this prestigious event, the anticipation and excitement are palpable. The Phnom Penh International Choir Competition promises to be a melodious celebration of harmony, diversity, and cultural exchange, leaving a lasting legacy for participants and audiences alike.

For more information, interested parties can contact Meng Somnea at somnea@alldreamscambodia.com or visit the INTERKULTUR website at www.interkultur.com.

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