1 Music feeds the soul and there is no substitute for it. Zoltán Kodály In 1975 when my colleagues and I began our choral education work in the spirit of Zoltán Kodály we had no idea how far the consistent and relentless implementation of the method he devised would eventually take us. Feeding the members of the Cantemus Children s Choir their daily dose of the irreplaceable food for the soul together with the use of the relative tonic solfa to develop and constantly improve their pitch and aural skills raised the level of the children s music performance to an artistic level which very soon grew out of the primary school framework and gained acknowledgement within international musical life. Further proof that our following in Zoltán Kodály s footsteps meant that we were on the right track has been the enthusiasm of our school leavers for singing which has continued unabated. That is what led to the creation of the Pro Musica Girls Choir and subsequently also gave birth to the Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir. This irresistable spreading of a passion for singing was why our students began to call the music classroom in our school the contagion ward which has since become the permanent name for it. Having won over 50 first prizes at international competitions the choirs of the expanding Cantemus Family have performed with unique continuity at such a high standard over the years that setting up an independent organization became an almost unavoidable requirement in order to be able to coordinate their work which had grown beyond the Kodály School as a primary school. Therefore the local authority for Nyíregyháza formed the Cantemus Choral Institute in We are pleased and proud to present the Cantemus Choral Institute hoping that sooner or later you will also be infected with the Kodály disease. Conductor, Director of the Cantemus Choral Institute was born in Makó in 1947 and is an outstanding figure in Hungarian and international choral life. He studied music in Szeged, Miskolc and Budapest and subsequently began his teaching career at the Zoltán Kodály Primary School in Nyíregyháza. He founded the Cantemus Children s Choir in This has since grown into a choral institute and began to operate as an independent artistic organisation under his direction in 2004 with three choirs the Cantemus Children s Choir, the Pro Musica Girls Choir and the Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir. These choirs all perform at world class standard. He is highly sought after as a choral conductor and lecturer in music education at international festivals and conferences. He regularly holds masterclasses in choral conducting, choral voice production and the implementation of the Kodály method. He has also been a member of the judging panels for several leading international choir competitions in the USA, Slovenia, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Belgium. In appreciation of his artistic achievements and dedicated work in music education he was awarded the Ferenc Liszt prize in 1985, the Bartók Béla Pásztory Ditta Prize in 1993, the Kossuth Prize in 2000 and the Hungarian Cultural Heritage prize in 2004.
2 Cantemus Children s Choir The Cantemus Children s Choir (founded in 1975 by ) is the multi international prize winning senior pupils choir of the Kodály Zoltán Primary School in Nyiregyháza, Hungary. Since its formation in 1975 the choir has achieved the highest of standards in choral performance and has travelled extensively to give concerts, compete, and take part in festivals in countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world including Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, South America and the United States of America. The successes of the choir are founded on the principles of the Kodály music teaching method implemented under the leadership of, who teaches music to children in the senior years at the school, conducts and directs the choir and is the Director of the Cantemus Choral Institute. The choir s extensive repertoire is focussed on the the beauty of choral music ranging from Gregorian chant through the Renaissance and Romantic periods to contemporary works. Some of the Hungarian repertoire is based on traditional folk music including works by Bartók and Kodály and some have been written especially with the choir in mind by leading contemporary Hungarian composers. As such the choir has become a standard bearer for both traditional and contemporary Hungarian music. Pro Musica Girls Choir The Pro Musica Girls Choir has been considered one of the leading choirs in the world since they won their first international competition in their foundation year. As international ambassadors of the success of the Kodaly music education method they are sought after not only as performers at the highest level but also as participants in music education conferences and masterclasses. The uplifting experience of choral life which the girls had worked through and enjoyed as pupils at the Zoltán Kodály Primary School in Nyíregyháza and the enthusiasm for singing that they had gained from this were the legacy which led to the founding of a choir for old pupils in Since then they have won first prizes and Grand Prix (overall competition prizes) at leading international choir competitions. Their greatest successes have been the European Grand Prix which they won in their 10th year, the title of Olympic Champion in two categories at the Busan Choir Olympics held in 2002 (where they also won three first prizes in separate categories) and the first prize the Silver Rose Bowl in the BBC s world invitation international competition Let the Peoples Sing in The choir s repertoire is rich and varied extending from the Renaissance to contemporary choral music. It includes leading Renaissance and Romantic period pieces, works of Bartók and Kodály and works by contemporary Hungarian composers as well as folk music arrangements from Hungary and other countries. The choir has premiered many works and also performs pieces intended for entertainment. In addition to the many competitive prizes and other tributes the choir has received over the years it has also received two prestigious national awards for achievement in the arts shared with the Cantemus Children s Choir the prize of the Foundation for Hungarian Heritage and the Bartók Béla - Pásztory Ditta Prize. The choir has been conducted since its inception by.
3 Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir Most members of the Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir were pupils of the Kodály Zoltán Primary School. Today they are university students or working professionals whose lives all share a common interest Cantemus. The choir founded by Dénes Szabó initially came together only to rehearse and perform on special occasions (one of which was a performance of Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis) and eventually began to work independently in 1998 under the baton of Soma Szabó. Since its foundation the choir has won several international choir competitions, taken part in leading festivals and undertaken concert tours in Europe. The choir s greatest achievements to date are the Grand Prix in the 2001 Budapest International Choir Competition, the 2006 Grand Prix in the Gorizia International Choir Competition, Italy and the 2008 Grand Prix in the Tolosa International Choir Compeition, Spain. The choir performs representative pieces from the a capella and oratorical choral repertoire from the times of the Renaissance to the music of contemporary composers. The choir s first CD recording published in 2006 was a performance of the complete Vespers by Sergei Rachmaninov. The educational background and foundations The magic of the choral sound and the atmosphere characterizing the concerts given by the choirs of the Cantemus Choral Institute of Nyíregyháza are founded on a coherent system of music education which enables children and choristers to speak and use the same musical mother tongue. This mother tongue has been taught to children following the guidelines of Kodály since Our children begin their primary music studies at six years of age. Kodály s intention was to feed young souls on music on a daily basis. This materializes in Nyíregyháza in the form of an eight year training programme during which the pupils aural and vocal skills are developed as well as their spiritual abilities so that they are all capable of contributing to the creation of a greater harmony. It is possible to live without music. There are roads even through deserts. But we do not want people to walk the road of life as though they were wandering through a desert if we can make it possible for them to walk through flowering pastures. Zoltán Kodály That is the underlying principle of every music lesson here. The children are guided along flowering paths paved with the highest standard of music from ancient Hungarian folksongs through the music of Palestrina or Schubert all the way to works composed by Bartók or Kodály. From the very beginning the children are introduced to the basics of understanding and performing music only through high standard, quality music. The ensembles of the Cantemus Choral Family have almost spontaneously grown out of this process and as a result have been able to perform with almost unmatchable purity, clarity and compelling beauty.
4 Nyitnikék Choir Music is part of the daily life of the pupils of the Kodály Zoltán Primary School through timetabled music lessons, choir rehearsals and instrumental tuition. The children are introduced to choral work in Year 3 (at the age of 8-9) and remain members of the foundation choir Nyitnikék for one school year. This choir regularly performs at school events, and endeavours to build a strong foundation for the high level choral singing culture for which the school s older ensembles are internationally known and acknowledged. The choir was awarded the Festival Prize of the Hungarian National Choral Federation at the 6th Mezőtúr National Children s Choir Festival in May The Nyitnikék choir has been conducted by Mária Szilágyiné Botos since Napsugár Choir The Napsugár choir of the Kodály Zoltán Primary School is the feeder choir for the Cantemus Children s Choir. Pupils in Years 4 and 5 (age 10-11) carry on with the preparatory work which gives them a sound foundation for starting choral work in the Cantemus Children s Choir in Year 6 (age 12-13). The young singers learn about the general rules of belonging to a choir community, continue to receive aural training to improve their skills for the purpose of gaining a solid ability to sing together and work on further developing their part singing skills. Most of the technical and performance skills are taught through work on Kodály pieces. The choir gives plenty of opportunities for the young singers to perform on stage including most of the significant musical events of the town of Nyíregyháza, national choir festivals and occasionally trips abroad. Sound recordings and meetings with contemporary choral composers also give stimuli to the children. Their repertoire includes significant works composed for children s voices as well as church music. The instrumental attainments of some of the children also enable the choir to perform pieces with instrumental accompaniment. The choir has been conducted by Rita Szőke since 2005.
5 Cantemus Boys Choir The Cantemus Boys Choir was formed by in 1983 from the Year boys of the Zoltán Kodály Primary School. The boys can enter the choir at ten years of age. As the choir is comprised of mixed voices, older boys who are continuing their studies in the various high schools of the town can also take part in the choir s work. Currently the choir works with 90 members, has performed in several countries in Europe and has taken part in music festivals and symposiums in Poznan (Poland), Komló (Hungary), Lecco (Italy) and Glasgow (Scotland). One of the choir s most significant performances is preserved on a CD recording of Mefistofele by Boito in which the boys had the opportunity to work together with Placido Domingo, Samuel Ramey and Éva Marton. The boys have also performed successfully at international choral competitions. They won a 2 nd Prize at the Bartók Béla International Choir Competition in Debrecen in 1998, were awarded a Golden Diploma at the Olomouc International Choir Competition in 2005 and gained a Silver Diploma at the International Youth Choir Competition in Prague in The choir has been conducted by Soma Szabó since Banchieri Singers Gábor Nagy Szilárd Szilágyi Olga Major Zsolt Nagyváti Ildikó Földesi Soma Szabó The Banchieri Singers was founded in 1988 from old boys of the Cantemus Children s Choir. Since then they have become known in Hungary, Europe and many other parts of the world as one of the most gifted and versatile performers of the a capella repertoire of music history from Renaissance pieces to contemporary works. They have run masterclasses together with some of the most famous representatives of small group singing including Jeremy Jackman, Alistair Thompson and Grayston Ives from the King s Singers and Sally Dunkley and Francis Steele from The Tallis Scholars. Hungarian and Japanese contemporary composers regularly write and dedicate pieces for them. Their performances of a wide repertoire ranging from Reneissance church and secular music to contemporary classical and entertaining pieces have been recorded on nine CD albums to date. The Banchieri Singers have been active and devoted promoters of Kodály s legacy. Their aim is to reach out to a wide range of audiences and increase the popularity of this form of quality small group singing by making it enjoyable for everyone. That is why they chose a thought of Adriano Banchieri for their motto: As well as serious dramatic works people need joy; pieces providing light entertainment. Do one of them well and enjoy the other.
6 Achievements 1982 Debrecen Hungary 1 st prize, Special Prize, Folklore Prize 1982 BBC tape competition 1 st prize 1984 Debrecen Hungary 1 st prize 1984 Llangollen Great Britain 1 st prize 1985 Nantes France Special Prize 1986 Debrecen Hungary 1 st prize Grand Prix 1987 Kodály Zoltán International tape competition 1 st prize 1987 Celje Yugoslavia 1 st prize, Grand Prix 1987 Arnhem The Netherlands 1 st prize 1989 Kodály Zoltán International tape competition 1 st prize 1991 Tolosa Spain 1 st prize, 1 st prize 1993 Celje Yugoslavia 1 st prize 1994 Kodály Zoltán International tape competition 1 st prize, 1 st prize 1994 Arezzo Italy 1 st prize 1995 Arezzo Italy 1 st prize, Grand Prix 1995 Tolosa Spain 1 st prize 1996 Debrecen Hungary 1 st prize, Grand Prix 1996 Debrecen Hungary European Grand Prix 1996 Athén Greece 1 st prize, 4 Gold Medals 1998 Arezzo Italy 1 st prize 1999 Olomouc Czech republic 1 st prize 2000 Maribor Slovenia 2 Gold Medals 2000 Celje Slovenia 1 st prize, Gold Diploma 2001 Maasmechelen Belgium 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2001 Tolosa Spain 1 st prize, 1 st prize, Audiance Prize 2001 Neuchatel Switzerland 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2001 Budapest Hungary 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2002 Busan South Korea Choir Oympic Games 4 Olympic Championship titles, 6 Gold Medals 2003 Gorizia Italy 1 st prize, Special Prize 2003 London Great Britain BBC 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2004 Montreaux Switzerland 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2005 Olomouc Czech republic 1 st prize 2005 Arezzo Italy 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2006 Gorizia Italy 1 st prize, Grand Prix 2007 Marktoberdorf Germany 1 st prize 2008 Tolosa Spain 1 st prize, Special Prize, Grand Prix 2008 Torrevieja Spain Conductors Special Prize 2009 Arezzo Italy 1 st prize 2010 Tours France 1 st prize, Audience Prize 2010 Lecco Italy 1 st prize 2010 Tolosa Spain 1 st prize, Grand Prix Cantemus Children s Choir Pro Musica Girls Choir Cantemus Children s Choir & Pro Musica Girls Choir Cantemus Mixed Voice Choir Banchieri Singers Appreciations What is the secret behind the amazing continuity of success which followed these groups from hall to hall, competition to competition and country to country? What is it that always made them the best? What is it that always made sure that it was them who were the best? Emil Petrovics composer...the voices of the Nyíregyháza girls are filled with a special kind of light. These voices radiate some ancient and fundamental power and courage, unbroken courage which is also unbreakable and carries the force to overcome and survive everything; courage which eliminates trouble and never causes anybody any harm. They have the Promise in their angelic voices and the joy of accepting earthly life for what it is in their voices of shepherds. Klára KOKAS music educational specialist When listening to the breathtaking performances of the Pro Musica Girls Choir conducted by, one may feel that the educational concept which has been harshly criticized recently has not been so useless after all. This is world class standard! Sorry, what world class?! Not at all. The world is nowhere near the standard of these children! Sándor KOVÁCS music historian I was deeply impressed by the creativity and incredible energy of the Cantemus Choir Family. You are a great team! I wish you all the best with organizing your future events. Theodora Pavlovitch Europa Cantat Vice President Nyíregyháza has set an example of the highest standards of event organisation and showed us the summit of European choral singing! Uzi Shais Izrael I spent five days there which filled me with warmth to my heart and soul. I was greatly impressed once again by the choirs wonderful singing and deeply moved by the spirit permeating through the Festival and making it a faultless event. I think that the standard and quality of work done at the Kodály school has secured Nyíregyháza and Hungary a leading place in the cultural life of Europe. Michael Emery producer of the BBC Radio3 I have learnt a lot this week. On Friday night our choir sang the Hungarian national anthem in Vállaj. When we started it, everybody stood up suddenly and joined in with our singing. I can still feel how my legs began trembling then Yvanca 13 year old I enjoyed the joint singing very much. On Sunday night the fireworks and the folkdance party after the Galaconcert were fantastic! I wish we had folkdance in Holland instead of DISCO! Anna 9 year old
7 Recordings 1983 Gustav Mahler: VIII. Symphony of a Thousand Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: Árpád Joó Hungaroton & Sefel Records LP 1984 Liszt Ferenc: The Legend of St Elisabeth Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: Árpád Joó Hungaroton Classic CD, VHS 1985 Liszt Ferenc: Christus Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: Árpád Joó Hungaroton Classic CD Arrigo Boito: Mephistofele National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Cantemus Boys Choir, Samuel Ramey, Placido Domingo, Eva Marton / Conducted by: Giuseppe Patane Sony Classical CD 1989 The Choral Music of Kodály 7 Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir, Cantemus Boys Choir / Conducted by: HCD Hungaroton Classic LP, MC, CD 1989 Christmas Music Cantemus Gyermekkar, HCD BRCD 0011 LP, MC, CD 1991 Benkó: Christmas Dixieland Mass Cantemus Mixed Choir, Benkó Dixieland Band Benkó Dixieland Band VHS, MC, CD 1993 Invitation to the World of Cantemus Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: Harmonia Ltd Japan NTSC Banchieri Singers Banchieri Singers HASF1001 Harmonia Ltd Japan MC, CD Masses Cantemus Children s Choir, BRCD0035 MC, CD 1995 Magos a rutafa Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: VICG 5392 Victor Entertainment INC Japan CD 1997 Kocsár Miklós: Choral works Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: HCD Hungaroton Classic & Harmonia Ltd. Japan CD 1998 Musica Banchieri Singers HASF 1003 Harmonia Ltd Japan CD 1998 Lilysong Banchieri Singers HASF 1003 Harmonia Ltd Japan CD 1998 Ave Maria Cantemus Children s Choir, CaPm 007 CD 1998 Music of Nature Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir, Banchieri Singers / Conducted by: CaPm007 CD 1999 Bárdos Lajos: Choral works Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: HCD Hungaroton Classic & Harmonia Ltd. Japan CD 1999 Kocsár Miklós: Jubilate Deo Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: CaPm009 CD 1999 On the "Illés" Chariot Banchieri Singers ZC 005 Producer: Mária Rosta (Zikkurat), Banchieri Singers CD th Anniversary of Cantemus Cantemus Children s Choir / Conducted by: CaPm 010 CD 2001 Celebration 15 th Anniversary of CaPm 011 CD 2001 East & West Banchieri Singers HASF 1008 Harmonia Ltd Japan CD 2002 L anima Spiro Banchieri Singers BS 006 Harmonia Ltd Japan CD 2002 The Concert Live concert of the Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir, Banchieri Singers / Conducted by: CaPm 013 CD 2002 Alleluia Cantemus Children s Choir, CaPm012 CD 2003 Mundi Renovatio Cantemus Children s Choir, CaPm014 CD 2003 Live at Liszt Academy Muzsikás & Márta Sebestyén, Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: MU005 live recording CD 2003 Masterpiece Banchieri Singers BS 007 Banchieri Singers CD 2004 Prayer for Hungary Cantemus Children s Choir, CaPm015 CD 2005 Magnificat Pro Musica Girls Choir, Cantemus Mixed Choir / Conducted by:, Soma Szabó CaPm16 CD 2005 Cantate Domino Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: CaPm018 CD 2005 Furusato Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir, Banchieri Singers / Conducted by: HASF 1012 Harmonia Ltd Japan CD 2006 Rachmaninov: Vespers Cantemus Mixed Choir / Conducted by: Soma Szabó CaPm019 CD 2006 O Splendid, Mysterious Night Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir, Cantemus Mixed Choir, Banchieri Singers / Conducted by:, Soma Szabó HDVD Hungaroton Classic DVD 2007 Dream Voice Pro Musica Girls Choir, Cantemus Mixed Choir / Conducted by:, Soma Szabó CaPm020 CD th Anniversary Concert Live concert of the Banchieri Singers BS 008 Banchieri Singers CD 2009 The Gift Banchieri Singers BS 009 Banchieri Singers CD 2009 Bartók Béla: Choral Works 2 Cantemus Children s Choir, Pro Musica Girls Choir / Conducted by: HSACD Hungaroton Classic CD
8 Cantemus Open Weekend International Choral Festival Nyíregyháza I Hungary Biannually since 1996 During their extensive travels and concert tours in many parts of the world over the past few decades the members of the Cantemus Choirs have formed long lasting friendships with a lot of choirs and their members. This gave us the inspiration to create opportunities for our existing and potential friends to meet in our town, Nyíregyháza, share what we do here, enjoy choral music from many different cultures and meet local and visiting friends of choral music. The Cantemus Choral Festival is the biggest event among these opportunities and opens the doors of the Cantemus Choral Institute and the Zoltán Kodály Primary school every other year to welcome singers of all ages and nationalities. Come and join us for the next one. The programme includes: An opening concert given by the choirs of the Cantemus family to welcome the participating choirs A folklore night an opportunity for choirs to perform traditional music or arrangements of traditional music from their own countries. The festival welcomes traditional costumes and choreography. The Qualifying Competition optional. The Artistic Committee encourages all the choirs to enter this friendly competition. Opportunities for participating choirs to give concerts in the most beautiful churches of our county. The Gala Concert the grand finale of the Festival with the joint singing of all participating choirs for an audience of 1500 people. A lot of surprises. at the magical workshop of Cantemus Biannually since 2005 Over the years as a beacon town of Zoltán Kodály s principles of music education Nyíregyháza has become a place of musical pilgrimage for choral conductors, teachers and specialists of music education. With the aim of creating an organised event to replace the occasional visits we launched a short course in 2005 the Cantemus Open Weekend to provide an extended opportunity for everybody interested in this area to gain an insight into our secret. The course content is designed for music teachers and choral conductors and gives the participants the oppurtunity to observe the world class standard work of music education in Nyíregyháza which is a living testimony to the reality, truth and effectiveness of the Kodály method. Besides lesson observations, rehearsals, professional talks, meetings and concerts (as well as an introduction to the secrets of detail and refined methodology) our visitors can take part in various special events including meetings with Hungarian choral composers, browsing through sheet music at the Cantemus Flea Market, enjoying folk music twinned with choral music and taking trips to neighbouring places of interest like the famous Tokaj wine region. Our aim is to give an opportunity by the end of the course to every participant to see the big picture of the whole concept, the complete structure of the system and the solidity of the Kodaly principle the Nyíregyháza secret as foreigners often call it. For more information visit: telephone: The Festival is an enjoyable and uplifting experience during which old choir friends meet again and new friendships are born. The traditional Hungarian folk dance party following the Gala Concert is always one of the most memorable events. During the Festival holds a conducting mastercourse which provides an opportunity for choir leaders and music teachers to practise and enrich their skills with the Cantemus Children s Choir and the Pro Musica Girls Choir.
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