UST Singers wins grand prize in Austrian choral fest

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UST Singers with conductor-director Fidel Calalang

Bagging top prizes in international choral tilts has become an irresistible habit for the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Singers.

The choir has already won some 80 top prizes in international choral competitions, including the much-coveted Choir of the World or Pavarotti Prize, which it got twice (in 1995 and 2010).

The UST Singers has recently added to its trophy haul and consolidated its reputation as one of the world’s top choirs by winning the Grand Prize in the 3rd International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria June 22 to 25.

The 27-member choir, whose members come from the different colleges of Asia’s oldest university, bested several choirs from Sweden, Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia, Estonia and Indonesia.

Apart from the Grand Prix, the Singers also won the First Prize: Gold Superior for garnering 97 points, the highest number of points; and the Prize for Best Interpretation of a 20th century piece, “La Aporrumbeosis,” by Cuban composer Guido Lopez Gavilan.

In the final round, the UST Singers rendered an 18-minute repertoire consisting of works by Johann Kuhnau, Dan Forest and Vytautas Barkauskas.

The UST Singers bested the four other top-scoring contenders, including the Indonesian choir, for the Grand Prix.

The jury consisted of five choral experts from Austria, Hungary, Sri Lanka and Belgium.

Currently the UST Singers is celebrating its 25th anniversary and holding its 32nd international concert tour, performing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The UST Singers was founded in 1992 by Fidel Calalang of the UST Conservatory of Music. –CONTRIBUTED

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