Europa Cantat Festival will take place in Tallinn next year and in 2021 in Slovenia

Representatives of key stakeholders in the organization of this event have presented the project, which every third year attracts between 3 000 and 4 000 choral music enthusiasts to the host country from all over Europe and the world.

Tanja Benedik

Europa Cantat 2021 in Slovenia
Photo: Tanja Benedik

The introductory address was given by Igor Teršar, director of the Directorate for Creativity at the Ministry of Culture, who stressed the fact that hosting an event of this size is a rarely bestowed honour. Furthermore, the year 2021 coincides with the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of the year and the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence. The proposal for candidacy was successfully drafted in a joint effort by the City Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL), the Ministry of Culture (MK) and the Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD). The two other candidate cities were Utrecht and Dublin.

Slovenia has for many decades hosted various Europa Cantat (http://www.europeanchoralassociation.org/) events. In 1995 the European Symposium on Choral Music took place in Ljubljana; a Europa Cantat singing week was hosted on two occasions, as well as the competition of young choir conductors and the European and World Youth Choir tour concerts. Research has placed Slovenia, which is also coordinating the competition dates for the European Grand Prix of Choral Singing, at the very top of choral musicianship. The Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD) has an important role in maintaining the national choral culture.

Katarina Culiberg, head of the Ministry of Culture's Office for EU Affairs and International Cooperation, emphasised that the opportunity to host this event is a sign of recognition of the Slovene choral scene. Among its successes, we can mention Carmen Manet, the winner of the Eurovision Choir of the Year 2017, the performance of the Girls' Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium at the World Symposium on Choral Music, many successful performances at choir competitions and, last but not least, our one-of-a-kind musical export, the choir Perpetuum Jazzile. Choir singing is a meaningful cultural movement, enriching our society and adding value to other areas.

The project supports the efforts of the Ministry of Culture (MK) to bring Slovenian culture international recognition, as well as promote cultural tourism. Already in the preparatory phase for the candidacy, it has gathered the support of many government sectors (economy, education, foreign affairs, social policy…). The project is therefore expected to have an impact on many different areas.

Marko Repnik, Director of JSKD, is proud of Slovenia's successful candidacy for the organization of the largest choral event in Europe, and believes that the event will give significant impetus to his institution. Preparations for the event have been underway since July, when the Commission of Europa Cantat Association visited Slovenia to inspect the recommended accommodation facilities and concert venues in Ljubljana. To be accepted as a candidate for the organization of this event, Slovenia needed to prove that it had the appropriate infrastructure as well as competent partners engaged in the project. 

According to Mihela Jagodic, vocal music consultant at JSKD, the eight-day festival will welcome around 4 000 international choir singers, composers and musicians, as well as 50 world-renowned conductors and vocal coaches. The participants – professionals and music lovers of all ages – will have the opportunity to attend one- to eight-day workshops and enjoy the benefits of a rich accompanying programme further enhancing the overall engaging musical atmosphere of the city. 

Vanda Vrhovnik Straka, representing the City Municipality of Ljubljana, added that for many musicians their participation in this event will be a noteworthy reference and that the City Municipality and the Ministry of Culture will finance 30 % of the project. The investment is expected to bring returns.