Cantus Naturae
[CROATIA] Conductor: Deni Nurkic

Cantus Naturae was founded in late-2017 by Professor Mirko Planinić and is the resident choir at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, where it receives wholehearted support from the faculty Dean, Professor Aleksandra Čižmešija.

Soon after its formation, the position of conductor and artistic director was awarded to Deni Nurkić, a young physicist who, prior to pursuing a career in science, graduated from the Josip Hatze Music School in Split. Under his leadership, Cantus Naturae has performed at several local festivals, most notably Festa Choralis, and also at the Vienna Music Festival in 2018.

The repertoire of this relatively new choir mainly consists of traditional and modern Croatian songs. The choir’s members are drawn from students and alumni of the Faculty of Science who all share a passion for music and take great joy in choral singing.

Paide Female Choir
[ESTONIA] Conductors: Sirje Grauberg and Tiina Kivimäe

The Paide Female Choir was formed in October 2010 and is a member of the Estonian Female Singers’ Society. Its members come from a variety of different backgrounds and professions; within the choir there are social workers, teachers, sales managers, a police officer, a specialist in mineral resources, a dentist, a pharmacist, a chef, and an accountant!

Based in Paide, a town dating back to the thirteenth century and also the birthplace of composer Arvo Pärt, the choir rehearses weekly in the local music and theatre hall. Their repertoire consists mainly of Estonian choral music in addition to folk arrangements and popular music. The choir has participated in many national choral competitions and song festivals, as well as travelling abroad to Denmark, France, Spain, Finland and Norway.

The choir is conducted by Sirje Grauberg and Tiina Kivimäe; Sirje works as a kindergarten music teacher, and Tiina is a choral composer and arranger.

Chorus Sanctae Ceciliae
[FINLAND] Conductor: Pia Bengts

Based in Helsinki, the Chorus Sanctae Ceciliae was founded by Professor Harald Andersén who also served as conductor of the ensemble from its formation in 1953 until 1965. Since then, the choir has been led by several renowned conductors and in 2015, Pia Bengts became their most recent musical director.

The choir’s repertoire includes both sacred and secular works, with an aim to present music that is rarely performed in Finland. The choir also commissions new music and released CDs in 2001 and 2003. As well as performing on TV and radio, Chorus Sanctae Ceciliae has participated in several choral festivals and given concerts throughout Europe. The choir visited St Petersburg in 2018, performed at the 2017 Vaasa International Choral Festival and travelled to Barcelona in 2014.

Jugendchor “Liederkranz”, 1871 e.V. Malsch
[GERMANY] Conductor: Matthias Barth

Founded by choir director Matthias Barth in 1997, Jugendchor Liederkranz Malsch is one of the four groups that make up the “Liederkranz” choral community in the southern German town of Malsch. Having started out with a programme of simple pop songs, the choir now boasts a varied and versatile repertoire from sacred music to ambitious arrangements of rock songs. They perform regularly in their hometown as well as travelling abroad; in 2007 and 2016, the choir visited the United States and presented concert tours in California and Oregon. Closer to home, they participated in Vienna’s 2018 Advent Singing and most recently, presented a concert to celebrate Matthias Barth’s thirty-fifth year as conductor of the “Liederkranz” community.

Coro Monte Penice – Bobbio

Coro Monte Penice was founded in 2014 and derives its name from a mountain in northern Italy, located approximately halfway between Genoa and Milan; the name was especially chosen as five members of the choir come from the five different sides of Mount Penice. The choir strives to source, safeguard and promote local traditional music written in popular, religious and folk idioms, such as the “hosteria” songs which were traditionally sung while people worked on the land.

Every year, the choir participates in several local choral festivals. In 2017 and 2018, they competed at the Festival of Alta Pusteria, in South Tyrol.

Coro Monte Penice is based in Bobbio, a picturesque village on the slopes of Mount Penice, which is also renowned for its beautiful Abbey, founded in 614AD by the Irish missionary St Columbanus.

Vocal Ensemble ConArte
[ITALY] Conductor: Paolo Teodori

The “ConArte” vocal ensemble, conducted by Paolo Teodori (a teacher at the Conservatory of St Cecilia in Rome) is a newly formed ensemble whose members, although coming from different backgrounds, are united by a love of music. Their repertoire ranges from sacred to secular, from early to contemporary, and includes original compositions and arrangements by Paolo Teodori including popular classics by well-known Italian artists.

In addition to singing at the Church of St Agnes in Agone situated in Rome’s Piazza Navona, the ensemble performed at the 2019 Festival of Choirs in Salerno and in the Sala della Protomoteca in Campidoglio for the annual remembrance ceremony of Salvo D’Acquisto. In May 2020, they will take part in the third Festival of Sacred Choral Music “Maggio In Canto” at the Church of St Agnes in Agone.

Mäster Olofskören
[SWEDEN] Conductor: Bo Tobiasson

Founded in 1940, Mäster Olofskören is an amateur a cappella mixed-voice choir, with members ranging in age from thirty to seventy-five. After being dormant for a number of years, the choir was re-established in 1984 and since 2000 has been conducted by Bo Tobiasson, a former Senior Lecturer at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.

The choir has a comprehensive repertoire encompassing sacred works, folk tunes, jazz, pop, and newly written music, all in a variety of languages. The choir presents about five concerts each year; December is particularly busy with Christmas concerts, “Lucia” processions in various workplaces, and participation in the “Living Christmas Calendar” in Stockholm’s Old Town. The choir has also presented many concerts throughout Europe, visiting Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and many countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Alma College Choir
[USA] Conductor: Will Nichols

The Alma Choir, based at Alma College, Michigan, in the United States, is comprised of undergraduate students between the ages of 19 and 22. As the senior choir on campus and the primary touring ensemble in the Alma choral programme, the Alma Choir performs throughout the United States every February, and internationally every second year. Previous visits to Irish choral festivals include the 2012 Cork International Choral Festival and the 2016 Navan Choral Festival where the choir won two awards. The Alma Choir continues to maintain an ambitious performing, touring, and recording schedule, whilst also rehearsing five days a week. Their conductor, Dr Will Nichols, has directed the ensemble since 1983.