Heaven is Open
INTERKULTUR: A "Global Player" of Choral Music
Tension and cheer, tears of joy and relief, triumphant teams bathing in the electric atmosphere of the concert hall – "Heaven is Open" is an appropriately-named film about the "World Choir Games". The experiences of thousands of young people at the world's biggest choir competition go far beyond the simple pleasures of singing. They all share unforgettable moments of excitement and fascination: various cultures of the world come together on the wings of music.
The organization that makes all this possible is called INTERKULTUR and is dedicated to the goal of bringing people of all nations, cultures and ideologies together in peaceful competitions and songs. Günter Titsch, who founded the organization and arranged the 1st International Choir Competition in Budapest in 1988, was convinced right from the start of the power of his idea “building bridges between people”. The participants' shared enthusiasm for choral music makes prejudices disappear, opens eyes and hearts for friendship and lays the groundwork for a convivial and peaceful co-existence, free of ideology or doctrine that goes beyond music. Within a short period of time, this philosophy has made INTERKULTUR a top address for major musical events on a global scale – for all kinds of ensembles, from choirs to music and to folk dancing groups. Among its members the organization does not only count leading personalities from culture, politics and business, but comprises above all choirs and orchestras, clubs and cultural organizations: the "World Choir Council", a kind of United Nations of choral singing, is made up of delegates from more than 90 countries. They represent no less than 120,000 choirs with 4.8 million singers, making INTERKULTUR's musical network a truly global one. The organization has offices and representatives in numerous countries and is supported by culture ministries, town authorities and countless organizations.
A "Quality Seal" for Fairness and Transparency
The World Choir Games – inspired by the ancient Olympic ideal – are INTERKULTUR's flagship event. They take place every two years in different partner cities around the world. As in sports, the singers compete on behalf of their nations for gold, silver and bronze medals in more than 20 different disciplines – the ultimate goal is the coveted title of "Champions of the World Choir Games". No matter what category they compete in – from children's, women's or men's choirs, through folklore and jazz to Gospel – all are judged fairly and impartially by an international jury. The jurors work according to a finely-tuned evaluation system that INTERKULTUR developed over many years as a seal of quality “MUSICA MUNDI” and that guarantees maximum fairness and transparency. Nevertheless, these events are not just for the best choirs in the world, they are open to all ensembles in the musical world. Altogether, more than 6,600 choirs made up of roughly 290.000 singers and musicians from 100 nations have taken part in more than 125 events organized by INTERKULTUR so far.
An Ancient Art Form is Reborn
There is no doubt that singing in a choir, one of the world's oldest musical traditions, is enjoying a modern-day renaissance: 70 per cent of all participants of the last World Choir Games were under 27 years of age! Young people – often encouraged by experienced singers – are discovering a new, diverse world of choral song: cheerful and uplifting, full of the unique joys of singing together in a team. The international choir platforms offered by INTERKULTUR help singers to take these feelings even further: clichés and prejudices simply evaporate. Friendship concerts, competitions and festivals nurture mutual respect and understanding between cultures, therefore giving a new quality to our common future in a world that is growing smaller.
The singers´ success – To Everyone´s benefit
Therefore, it is only logical that INTERKULTUR's activities do not stop at the World Choir Games. In addition to a range of regional competitions and festivals, the organization also arranges continental-wide events, such as the European and Asian Choir Games. INTERKULTUR has set itself the highest standards, aiming for constant development and improvement in the interests of its participants and partner cities and organizations: because INTERKULTUR also contributes to the success of its partners wherever its events are held: at the World Choir Games in Graz, local and regional authorities noted significant boosts in the tourist industry. The event also brings considerable image benefits in terms of international media coverage and attention.
While INTERKULTUR, with its events in Germany, Austria, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malta, Spain, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and the U.S., has become an unmistakable prominent player in international cultural exchanges and is increasingly attracting public attention, its founder is pressing ahead with his next vision: INTERKULTUR president Günter Titsch aims to connect his competition with the Olympic Games by having both events held in the same place. After all, both ideas are inspired by the same principles: peaceful competition for the laurels of victory in a spirit of mutual respect, regardless of color or ideology. Uniting the world's sporting and musical youth would be meaningful and conceivable – a Utopia that is within our reach.