UO choir wins international competition University of Oregon Chamber Choir Wins Top Prize in Ireland

May 6, 2013—The University of Oregon Chamber Choir has placed first in a major international competition.

On Saturday, May 4 the Chamber Choir, the most select ensemble in the university's eight-choir choral arts program, competed in the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition at the Cork International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland. The festival is renowned as one of Europe's most prestigious choral arts events.

The competition's judges awarded the Chamber Choir a score of 92.67%, surpassing local favorites New Dublin Voices. That ensemble's score of 90.11% was the second highest among the competitors.

The UO Chamber Choir was one of eleven ensembles competing in a field of thirty choirs (hailing from seventeen countries) that auditioned, and was the sole representative of the United States. The choir competed with a set featuring both sacred and secular repertoire spanning 400 years, sung in seven languages, with styles as varied as Italian madrigals to bluegrass-influenced gospel, from composers including Monteverdi, Schütz, Debussy, Sydney Guilaume, and Eric William Barnum.

The competition was conducted in Cork's beautiful City Hall, known to choral enthusiasts the world over as one of the most acoustically perfect venues in Ireland. Leading up to 

the competition, the Chamber Choir also presented concerts in Dublin, Kells, and Loughrea.

The Chamber Choir is under the direction of UO Professor Sharon J. Paul. Comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, the Chamber Choir specializes in a cappella music from the sixteenth through 21st centuries. In April 2011, the Chamber Choir won top honors in two categories at the 12th International Choir Festival held in Tallinn, Estonia. In addition, the choir has performed by juried audition at state and division conferences for the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.

Sharon J. Paul is professor of music, chair of vocal and choral studies, and director of choral activities at the University of Oregon, where she teaches graduate courses in choral conducting, repertoire, and pedagogy, and conducts the Chamber Choir and University Singers ensembles. She earned her DMA in choral conducting from Stanford University, an MFA in conducting from UCLA, and a BA in music from Pomona College.

Dr. Paul served as artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus from 1992 to July 2000. Dr. Paul has presented interest sessions at national and international music conferences. She appears frequently as adjudicator, clinician, and honor choir director throughout the United States.

photos by: Clare Keogh and Andre Havard