Wernigerode welcomes choirs from four continents
Opening of the 12th International Johannes Brahms Choir Festival and Competition
After four years of eager waiting, Wernigerode, the colorful city in the Harz region, finally welcomes 27 choirs from 14 nations to the 12th International Johannes Brahms Choir Festival and Competition from July 5 to 9, 2023, in cooperation with INTERKULTUR. The eventful choral event kicked off with the Opening Concert at the Liebfrauen Concert Hall on July 5, featuring the MDR Radio Choir conducted by Peter Dijkstra. The superior a cappella concert entitled LUX AETERNA included varied works of past and present choral history ranging from the 16th century to modern pieces of our millennium.
Dr. Sebastian Putz, State Secretary for Culture of the State of Saxony-Anhalt, underlined in his welcoming speech to the participants and the audience the special features of the well-established event: "Choral festivals like the International Johannes Brahms Festival [...] serve as role models for peaceful and cooperative coexistence. Mutual appreciation and mutual learning take center stage in order to advance together. Anyone who has ever taken part in such a choral encounter will never forget it for the rest of their lives."
The morning of the subsequent first competition day on July 6 started with the performances of the Children's and Youth Choirs, which by tradition count among the crowd pullers. Starting at 5 p.m., the singers walked through Wernigerode as part of the traditional choir parade. Numerous visitors to the event lined the winding streets of the old town to experience the harmonious atmosphere and the international flair of the lively parade and to greet the participating choirs with much applause.
At the following gathering and opening of the event on the market square, INTERKULTUR project manager Kristina Eckern welcomed choirs and audience, and the following performances of participating groups from Chinese Taipei, Switzerland, Ghana and Bolivia gave a preview of the choral diversity and top-class performances still awaiting the choral community in the days to come. During his welcoming speech Mayor Tobias Kascha emphasized: "Wernigerode, the colorful city on the Harz, has become even more colorful with this festival, even more cosmopolitan, even more vibrant."
Three renowned top groups, the Philadelphia Girls Choir from the USA conducted by Nathan Wadley, the Chamber Choir VoxpUNT from Estonia conducted by Patrik Sebastian Unt as well as the Vocalensemble Phonova from Wernigerode conducted by Claudia Zohm offered the audience a superb choral evening in the atmospheric surroundings of the new Liebfrauen Concert Hall.
In the upcoming days, the participants and the choir community can look forward to a diverse and outstanding program with unforgettable and unique choral moments. More information about the program and the event can be found on the official website of the event. For those who would like the Opening event once again, click here!