IBSCC becomes a member of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing

The European Grand Prix for Choral Singing has been an annual choral music competition since 1988, where the best choirs from all over the world compete for the Grand Prix title. The winners of previous year’s six stages compete with each other, and thus, the best of the best choirs in the world are determined. Connoisseurs of choral music are very familiar with the names of these cities – Tolosa in Spain, Arezzo in Italy, Debrecen in Hungary, Maribor in Slovenia, and Varna in Bulgaria, and now Jurmala will also be marked on the big choral music map. Although this competition is in Europe, it has become the world's most important choral music event, bringing together the best amateur choirs from all continents.

"Latvians have proven themselves to be very dedicated and professional organizers of the international choral music competition. It is with great pleasure that welcome the team of the International Baltic Sea Choir Competition into the European Choral Music Grand Prix Association, and we believe that their abilities and love for choral music will raise this competition to an even higher level", says Xabier Ormazabal, head of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing Association.

Jānis Ozols, artistic director of the International Baltic Sea Choir Competition and one of the conductors of the Latvian Song Festival: "We are honored to be accepted into such an esteemed
association. It is a great achievement because becoming a stage of the European Grand Prix Choir Competition was the team's goal from the very beginning. Now, when Latvian society discusses
the possible future of the Song Festival tradition, this event only confirms the strength of our roots and the importance of continuing choral music traditions."

Jānis Ozols also acknowledges that this achievement would not have been possible without the support of the city of Jurmala, which believed in this idea since the beginning of the International
Baltic Sea Choir Competition in 2016. 
Rita Sproģe, chairwoman of Jurmala City Council: "Choir singing is one of the most beautiful traditions of our Latvian identity. We are proud that Jurmala is the home of such a prestigious choir
competition! We are happy to host choir singers from so many different countries, giving everyone the opportunity to showcase their own traditions in the song. I am convinced, that cooperation with the excellent team of the Jānis Ozol’s choir competition will ensure both the productive work of the jury and satisfaction for the participants of the choir competition while staying in our beautiful resort town of Jurmala."

The only choir from Latvia that has so far managed to win the prestigious European Grand Prix, is the youth choir “Kamēr...”, and they have succeeded three times: in 2004, 2013 and 2019.
Māris Sirmais, former leader of the choir “Kamēr...”: "It is difficult for me to imagine the development of my musical life and the artistic growth of the choir “Kamēr...” without the wonderful challenges offered to us by the EGP competition. It is the most important choral music event in the whole world, so I am very proud that from next year one of the stops of this competition will be in Jurmala. And I can definitely say that there is no other place where you could experience such a high level of collective artistic performance that both participants and listeners can enjoy. It is a fantastic opportunity for us as a choral superpower to experience these influences to learn, develop and improve. This is also an opportunity for our composers to create new music. I think this is the No. 1 event that will really bring together the world's best choirs and music professionals. An event that is comparable to the biggest Grand Prix events of other world arts. It is just like the Oscars in the cinema world."

Choir music is one of Latvia's most fundamental traditions, which is also important in shaping the country's unique image. Zane Biteniece, head of the Nation Branding Division of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia: "Latvia is already convincingly proving itself as a great country of choral music. This genre of music has become not just an important artistic and cultural tool, but also a symbol of mutual communication. Through our rich choral singing traditions, talented performers and composers, we talk about Latvia to the world. The unique sound of Latvian choirs appeals to music lovers all over the world, now creating wider interest in us and promoting Latvia's international recognition."

The International Baltic Sea Choir Competition is an international choral music competition that has been held in Jurmala since 2016. Every year, in the second half of September, several hundred
amateur choir singers and supporters of choral music from different countries of the world gather in Dzintari concert hall in Jurmala. Contestants compete in the semi-final categories of both
compulsory and free programs, as well as in the Grand Prix final. The performance of the contestants is evaluated by an international and professional jury. The 7th International Baltic Sea Choir
Competition will be held on September 20-22, 2024.