LICCC 2018, the inaugural edition of the London International Choral Conducting Competition held at the Royal Academy of Music, was won by Julia Selina Blank of Germany.
Ms. Blank, 29, wins £5,000 and the LICCC trophy. “For me the spirit in this competition felt very special” she said. “The contestants were colleagues and everyone met to celebrate a weekend of great choral music. I am happy to have had the chance to experience this and highly recommend it for all the young choral conductors out there.”
A second prize of £1,000 was won by Jack Apperley (UK). The other finalists included Pascal Adoumbou (France), Maria Avdeyeva (Russia), Rebecka Gustafsson (Sweden) and Jono Palmer (New Zealand).
“This fantastic new conducting competition is long overdue for a country with such an immensely strong choral tradition.” Simon Halsey (Chorus Master, London Symphony Chorus, Berlin Philharmonic).
The UK is a long-standing leading global hub for choral music and, whilst there are many competitions for choirs, instrumentalists and orchestral conductors, until now there has been nothing for choral conductors. LICCC aims to reflect the UK’s dominant reputation in this field by creating the world’s best competition in this space.
At London’s Royal Academy of Music, a distinguished international jury, chaired by Prof Ragnar Rasmussen of Norway, adjudicated performances by LICCC’s winners and finalists. LICCC 2018 received a huge number of entries of a very high standard, from 30 countries and 6 continents. A highlight of the Grand Final was the world premiere performance of The Cries of Music by award-winning British composer, Janet Wheeler, with words specially written by Euan Tait. The piece beautifully and appropriately drew the parallel between the singers’ experience of choral music and our common human experience of life's trajectory from beginning to end.
The event, which will next run in 2020, is open to choral conductors between the ages of 18 and 32 and is hosted by two London chamber choirs, Coro and Chantage, who were this year joined by distinguished Finnish ensemble cc FREIA under their conductor, the composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi.
The focus of the weekend being emerging choral talent, there were also masterclasses and workshops directed by leading choral conducting tutors, and a Gala Concert by the three participant choirs.
The founders of LICCC said “We have been delighted by the level of support from the musical community for this event, which we are convinced will have secured its place in the fabric of London’s world-renowned choral scene.”