2 October 2018

New for 2018, the London International Choral Conducting Competition aims to be 'a new kind of choral music festival'.

As well as the titular competition, whose Grand Final will be contested by six young conductors from around the world, the LICCC weekend on 20-21 October will feature concerts by host UK choirs Coro and Chantage and guest choir ccFREIA from Finland, a choral conducting masterclass for advanced students, and a training day for beginners in partnership with the Association of British Choral Directors. Among the many people working hard behind the scenes to make it all come together is NYCGB Alumna Jenny Stewart, who kindly agreed to tell us more:

Where did the idea for the LICCC come from?

A former member of NYCGB, James Davey, came up with the idea to start a conducting competition as a way to turn the spotlight on young conductors in the UK, and to connect them with some of the many fantastic training opportunities that exist. Following a chance conversation over dinner with friends about starting a choral festival, and some initial planning and research, a two-year journey toward this inaugural event began, and we're delighted to be hosting a young conductor training day during our weekend, in partnership with the ABCD.

How does the competition work?

The competition has two rounds. The first round was a video round, judged by a team of national adjudicators, and submissions were received from applicants in 30 different countries. The six winners of that round are now proceeding to the Grand Final where they will compete for a top prize of £5000! This potentially life-changing sum is accompanied by a number of other amazing prizes, including the opportunity to observe a National Youth Choir rehearsal, kindly offered by Ben Parry.

For the Grand Final the competitors are required to select two contrasting pieces from LICCC's repertoire lists. They will conduct these, along with a specially commissioned set piece by Janet Wheeler, in front of a public audience and the panel of international adjudicators at the Royal Academy of Music.

Which choirs are involved in the LICCC and what is their role?

London chamber choirs Chantage and Coro (both home to numerous NYCGB Alumni) are the curators of LICCC, and will be joined by this year's guest choir ccFREIA and their conductor, the celebrated Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. As well as giving a Gala Concert, they will provide the choirs for the competition and conductor training sessions throughout the weekend.

How can non-contestants participate in the LICCC?

Tickets are now on sale for the Gala Concert at the Royal Academy of Music (6pm, Saturday 20 October), which will showcase our three superb choirs and include a rare opportunity to see Jaakko Mäntyjärvi conduct a selection of his own works. You can also attend the Grand Final (6pm, Sunday 21 October, Royal Academy of Music), at the conclusion of which the winner will be announced!

When will the next LICCC be?

We hope that the competition will run every other year. Putting together an event like this takes a lot of energy and effort and is reliant on the generous support of sponsors and funders, but we have an excellent and committed team of volunteer staff, so keen young conductors should keep an eye out for their chance in 2020!

Visit the London International Choral Conducting Competition website

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