With less than two weeks to go until Eurovision Choir of the Year we spoke to the conductor of this years German entrants, Jazzchor Freiburg.
For the first time on July 22 in the Latvian Capital, Riga, Eurovision Choir of the Year will be held. Choirs from nine countries across Europe will be taking to the stage, showcasing themselves to an audience of millions. Among this years participants are Jazzchor Freiburg. Since being founded by Bertrand Gröger in 1990, the choir has brought together a variety of styles which push the convention of what a choir is.
Thanks so much for talking to us, can you tell us more about Jazzchor Freiburg and your style of performance?
Ever since we try to give our best in singing jazz and world music around the world.
Many people have a very traditional view of choir music, however your style brings together jazz and swing, what is it about this style that makes the choir stand out?
We are interested in how choir music can look like in the future. This is what we are working for. We arrange and sometimes compose the songs ourselves, so our goal is to find a special choral language which is new.
Ensuring a choir works together perfectly in unison is challenging but also rewarding, what is the secret to the perfect choir?
Is there a “perfect” choir? Intonation, rhythm, phrasing, diction, articulation are main spots to focus on. But in the end music is a very personal language which a choir has to find together.
When you were told you would be representing Germany at Eurovision Choir of the Year what did it mean?
Wow, great! We were and are very happy to have the opportunity to represent our country with 4 million choral singers. And we hope that many people in Europe share this event on TV.
As part of the rules of the competition, as a choir your performance must include national or regional characteristics how will you incorporate this in your performance?
In the meantime we live in a global world and music always has been a global language having been understood everywhere. The words we will sing are fantasy scat syllables, so our national message is: music is international.
Looking forward to the competition next month, what aspect of Eurovision Choir of the Year is the choir looking forward to most?
The excitement of the six minutes performing on stage itself – in front of 8000 people in the hall, in front of cameras and best reputated adjudicators. We believe there will be a very special and positive atmosphere.
Finally, if there was a person watching you perform at Eurovision Choir of the Year in Riga who was thinking of joining a choir, what would your advice be to them?
Just do it!
Eurovision Choir of the Year will be held for the first time on July 22 in Riga, Latvia as part of the European Choir Games. The European Broadcasting Union has partnered with Interkultur to create this latest Eurovision family event, and both hope to see the format develop into a yearly event.
Competing in the contest are:
- Austria (ORF) – Hard-Chor Linz
- Belgium (RTBF) – Les Pastoureaux
- Denmark (DR) – Academic Choir of Aarhus
- Estonia (ERR) – Estonian TV Girls’ Choir
- Germany (WDR) – Jazzchor Freiburg
- Latvia (LTV) – Spīgo
- Slovenia (RTVSLO) – Carmen Manet
- Hungary (MTVA) – Bela Bartok Male Choir
- Wales (S4C) – Côr Merched Sir Gâr
The Choirs competing in the contest will perform once for up to 6 minutes. The performance can include one or several works, of any genre, and “should in part reflect national or regional character in some way”. The winner will be decided by a three member jury, on the jury are; Elīna Garanča (Latvia – Mezzo-Soprano), John Rutter (United Kingdom – Composer) and Nicolas Fink (Switzerland – Conductor).