MARIBOR – Last weekend in Maribor was marked by choral singing, this time again more intensively represented by men. After a break of four years, the Union Hall was the venue of the famous 17th Gallus – Maribor International Choral Competition, renowned as one of the most demanding in the world, which was attended this year by eight choirs from Europe, Asia and the Americas, including six mixed choirs and two men’s choirs.

After the competition part of the performances, which took place on Saturday, 22 April, and the final on Sunday, in which five ensembles qualified, a jury of internationally renowned choral experts announced the recipients of the Gallus – Maribor Grand Prize among the choirs from Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Puerto Rico, the Basque Country – Spain, Sweden and Slovenia. The prize was awarded to the Swedish male choir Zero8, under the direction of Rasmus Krigström, which is now one of the finalists for the European Choir Grand Prix, scheduled for September 2024 in Varna, Bulgaria. The Basque male choir Suhar, conducted by Esteban Urzelai, was just behind them.

This year’s jury was chaired by Karmina Šilec, a Slovenian conductor and author of music-scene projects, and included Avip Priatna, one of Asia’s most prominent conductors, Jānis Liepiņš, an award-winning Latvian conductor and artistic director, Jordan Šrámek, the Czech-American founder and artistic director of the internationally acclaimed ensemble The Rose Ensemble, and Tadeja Vulc, a Slovenian conductor and composer.

Sunday’s finalists were also Coralia of the University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, conductor Carmen Acevedo-Lucío, Megaron Chamber Choir, Ljubljana, Slovenia, conductor Damijan Močnik, and University of Latvia Mixed Choir Juventus, Riga, Latvia, conductor Valdis Tomsons.