NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Chamber Choir will be competing in the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in Baden, Austria, on May 31-June 2. The ensemble, directed by Dr. Nicholaus Cummins, will leave for Austria on May 22.
NSU’s Chamber Choir was one of eight choirs chosen from around the world along with ensembles from countries including Russia, Slovakia, Czechia, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy. Northwestern State is one of two choirs from the U.S. selected for the competition.
Before the Ave Verum International Choral Competition, the Chamber Choir will also perform in three European capitals at Saint Martin’s Basilica in Prague, Czech Republic, Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vienna, Austria, and Saint Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The competition is in honor of the location of Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” which premiered in 1791 in Baden. This competition only occurs in odd years. The opening round features the 10 selected choirs which all sing in a night concert in the town square called the Long Night of Choral Music. The next day, four choirs are selected for the Grand Prix de Ave Verum. The winners receive a trophy and cash prize for the competition. The last American choir to win was the University of Georgia in 2013.
Last summer, the Northwestern State Lyric Choir won a Gold Medal in the Female Choirs category at the 3rd Budapest International Choral Celebration and Laurea Mundi International Open Competition and Grand Prix of Choral Music. The Chamber Choir received a Laurea Summa Cum Laude diploma in the Mixed Choir category and a Laurea Cum Laude diploma in the Musica Sacra (Sacred Music) category.
Baden is near Vienna and is well-known for its spas. Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and many other well-known composers wrote music or lived there. Because of Baden’s rich history, composer and choral director Wolfgang Ziegler founded the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in the city. An international jury will judge the competition. Ziegler asked Cummins to submit recordings of NSU’s choir after the Laurea Mundi competition. More than 40 choirs were considered for the event.
For more information on Northwestern State’s choral programs, go to capa.nsula.edu/music.