Close up of traditional Cambodian Singer and Dancer © Shutterstock

International Choir Competition Phnom Penh: The rebirth of choral music in Cambodia

Interview with Cambodian jury member Mr. Sethisak Khuon

International Choir Competition Phnom Penh

In a groundbreaking event for the Cambodian music scene, the First International Choir Competition Phnom Penh marks a significant milestone as the first-ever international choir competition to be organized in the country. This historic occasion not only showcases Cambodia's growing influence in the global music community but also marks a milestone in its national choral music scene. Mr. Sethisak Khuon, a venerable figure within the Cambodian music industry, will serve as a jury member for the competition to evaluate the choirs’ performances.

Being experienced in the choral field and playing a key role in Cambodian music we asked him for an insightful perspective on the profound impact this competition is expected to have.

Through this interview, Sethisak Khuon delves into the anticipated cultural exchange, the rebirth of Cambodia's choral tradition, and the future of choral music in his home country.

1. What does hosting the first international choir competition in Cambodia mean for the country's choral music scene?

Hosting the first International Choir Competition in Cambodia means so much for Cambodia, it shows that Cambodia is joining the world for peace and prosperity and it shows the rebirth of the choral music from the long period of time of absence from the introduction of western music to Cambodia from the King Norodom.

2. How do you think this competition will impact the cultural landscape of Cambodia?

Even Cambodia has the very rich traditional music and arts in general, but this competition is opening the gate for Cambodia to the world and vice versa.

3. Cultural exchange is one of the main aspects at international choir competitions.
What do you hope participants will learn about Cambodian culture and what will Cambodian participants learn from the international guests?

This is exactly the meaning of cultural exchange, Cambodia will definitely learn how the world is sounding like, how independent every voice is and the world can learn from us, how pure and ancient sounds like and how could we get to vibrate with the monotone melodies. 

4. When it comes to evaluating a choir competition, what do you look for in a winning performance?

To evaluate a Choir, beside breathing technique, developing the range, open mouth shaping, good posture, clarity and front placement etc. I am looking for the excitement and how their sound moves the audience and steals every soul with every breath.

5. What advice would you give to choirs participating in this competition to help them stand out?

I want every groups of Choir from every country focusing on their loving sound and their differences,uniqueness because it is the identity of their group.

6. How do you envision the future of choral music in Cambodia following this first international competition?

I can see and feel that after this first international Choir Competition, Cambodia will understand more about the world and how the whole world is working, will appreciate more choral music and western classical music in general, and definitely will seek for new talents and more creativities toward the sound of Choir with our ancient identity and to show to the world.

Be part of it!

Join us in making music history at the First International Choir Competition Phnom Penh and be part of a landmark event in Cambodia's cultural scene. Register until March 4 and contribute to a historic moment in the world of international choral music. You can find all information about participation and registration here.