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Once Again, Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir wins Top Prize in International Competition


LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 17, 2017) – CSULB's Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir again had overseas success, picking up the top honors at the Internationaler Chorwettbewerb in Austria

By Bethany Price

CSULB's Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir, during its recent tour in Europe, stopped in Austria long enough to pick up the top honors at the Internationaler Chorwettbewerb in Spittal an der Drau, Austria. Winning with the second highest aggregate score in the competition’s history, the group swept all categories in which it competed, in a summer reminiscent of last year’s outstanding win at the 2016 Choir of the World Competition at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.

Celebrating its 54th year, the Internationaler Chorwettbewerb invites 10 of the very best choirs in the world for a shared competition and concert hall exchange and experience. This year’s competition featured choirs from Belarus, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, South Africa and Australia.

“The competition at Spittal was much stiffer than at Llangollen," said CSULB choir conductor Jonathan Talberg. "There were only 10 choirs invited from around the world—and our chamber choir was the only American choir invited. The Indonesians and Slovenians were incredible, but the judges appreciated our 'extraordinary singing with extraordinary heart' and we are thrilled to have won in both categories—Folk Song and Art song.

"The students and I are especially proud to represent the United States at this particular moment in history;" he added. "Everywhere we went, from Vienna to Spittal, from Milan to London, we were thanked for bringing the best of the USA to Europe.”

The Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir is the premier choral ensemble at CSULB. Comprised of the top singers at the university, the group tours yearly and has concertized throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China. The chamber choir performed at the National Collegiate Choral Organization Conferences at Yale in 2009, at the College of Charleston in 2013, at the American Choral Directors Association Western Conventions in 2008 and 2012 and at the World Symposium of Choral Music in the Netherlands in 1999.

Recently, the ensemble has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony, the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, the Long Beach Symphony, and sang back up for several performances by the Rolling Stones at the Staples Center. Alums of the chamber choir are teaching K-12 music in schools throughout California, running collegiate choral programs of nationwide importance, leading worship in church and synagogue, and are currently under contract as singers with the Metropolitan, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Virginia operas. 

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California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is a teaching-intensive, research-driven university committed to providing highly-valued undergraduate and graduate degrees critical for success in the globally-minded 21st century. Annually ranked among the best universities in the West and among the best values in the entire nation, the university’s eight colleges serve more than 37,500 students. CSULB values and is recognized for rich educational opportunities provided by excellent faculty and staff, exceptional degree programs, diversity of its student body, fiduciary and administrative responsibility and the positive contributions faculty, staff, students and more than 300,000 alumni make on society.