Conference and General Assembly 2018


16 November 2018, Friday:

Morning and afternoon > Project presentation and Membership Day

18:30 > Opening of the “Sing Outside the Box” conference with the keynote speech of Cem Mansur (TR)

Born in Istanbul, Cem Mansur studied music in London, at the City University and the Guildhall School of music and Drama where he was awarded the Ricordi Conducting Prize. He later studied at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute with Leonard Bernstein. Mansur was conductor of the Istanbul State Opera between 1981 and 1989. Following a highly successful London debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in 1985, he conducted various orchestras and opera companies in Holland, France, Italy, The Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Israel, Croatia, South Africa, Finland and Russia, where he has been a frequent guest at the invitation of Valery Gergiev.

17 November 2018, Saturday:

Morning > ECA-EC General Assembly with Board election

Afternoon > Public conference “Sing Outside the Box” Short plenary followed by parallel sessions and interactive (singing) workshops dealing with new approaches to collective singing, with a focus on relation to rehearsal and performance spaces. Some sessions presenting the Turkish tradition and innovation in choral music.

Ways to upgrade performances:

Surprise your audience! | Maria von Nieukerken (conductor)

There are many ways to please the audience of a concert. Quite many ways, also unfortunately, to bore them to death, even with excellent music sung by excellent singers. Maria van Nieukerken can conduct excellent singers and produce excellent music. But she sometimes tries to change the relation between the listeners and the artists, to play with their expectations and surprise her audience. So don’t be surprised if she invites you to try something new.

Maria van Nieukerken is conductor and artistic director of the professional chamber choir PA’dam, the Belgian National Youth Choir BEVocal, Toonkunst Rotterdam and the Toonkunst Rotterdam Chamber Choir. In the summers of 2017 and 2018 Maria was conductor of the EuroChoir in the frame of the Sing Outside The Box project.


Make your singers co-creators! | Dóra Halas (conductor)

In a traditional choral approach, singers are sometimes reduced to being passive instruments of the conductor, who is in charge of all the artistic decisions. There are however other ways that empower the members of the collective at different stages and levels of the creative process. How is this at all possible even with larger groups, what results can it yield in your work, what are the joys and pitfalls of this approach? Based on her experience, Dóra Halas will present how the involvement of your singers can turn into a lively and productive adventure.

Dr. Dóra Halas gained a degree in Choral Conducting and Music Teaching, and a DLA title at the Budapest Music Academy specializing in Choral Improvisation. After working with traditional choirs and receiving international prizes, she moved onto a more experimental field. The choirs she founded all revolve around her newly developed methodology of Collective Choral Composing. Her current and most successful ensemble is Soharóza, who have premiered innovative performances, fusing different arts and genres. Her aim is to make the performers into actual creators of a project on all levels.


Sonic choir for non-singers | Greg Gilg (conductor)

Can everybody sing? Of course they can! Gather a random group of non-singers in a random place. Now, how do you deal with the situation? Complain about the poor acoustics, their lack of musical expertise and of time available? Or decide that this is a unique chance to create, with your singers, something unique and relevant to them, the location and the audience? Greg Gilg will share his stories of building new sonic, scenic and social experiences with and for participants.

Cellist, singer, composer, conductor, Greg Gilg has travelled many musical fields, from rock to jazz, dance and theatre. One foot in popular music, the other in experimental forms, he focuses since 2015 on collective singing projects. He is a member of Guy Reibel’s Centre Européen du Jeu Vocal, associated artist at the Apejs in Chambery, France and conductor of choirs like “Oh!” or the “Grand Larsen”


Add some spice, break the ice! | ECA-EC Youth Committee

Singing is always fun! Singing brings people together! Sing and you will make new friends! But getting to know people can be difficult in a traditional choir setting. The Youth Committee of ECA would like to share and discuss some activites that can help break the ice. Even if singers know each other really well already, these games can add some spice to the atmosphere. They have participated in a lot of choirs and tried many games over the past few years. After testing them additionally at the Europa Cantat festival in Tallinn, at the Eurochoir and at YEMP this year they have selected a carefully curated selection of successful methods, games and group-building activities that work with singers of all ages. This atelier will be fun, this atelier can make a difference in a concert or rehearsal. Come and you will make new friends!


Innovation in Tradition:

Classical Music Scene in Turkey | Cemi’i Can Deliorman (conductor)

The session is designed to give an insight on the envolvente classical western music in Turkey since the foundation of the republic. The strong tradition of classical music in Turkey dates back to the Ottoman Empire and to the milestones that happened throughout centuries in these lands. The conductor of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra summaries the journey of Turkish classical music.

Cemi´i Can Deliorman is the conductor of Presidential Symphony Orchestra in Ankara. A renowned orchestral conductor, he has studied in Graz with Martin Sieghart and Johannes Prinz. He has been the artistic director of the Turkish State Choir between 2010-2017.


Traditional Singing Techniques of Anatolia | Ömer Faruk Belviranlı

This seminar demonstrates how the famous micro tonal singing techniques unfold in Turkish classical music. Led by the mystic music expert Ömer Faruk Belviranlı and accompanied by a western conductor Cemi’i Can Deliorman, the session will focus on bridging traditional musical values of Turkish music for the European ears and minds.

Belviranlı is an acclaimed religious music singer in Turkey. He is an expert on mystic singing techniques and he has been serving as the director of the Konya Religious Music Ensemble since 2003. Belviranlı is also the vice-director in Ministry of Culture Fine Arts Directorate.


Evening > concert of the Turkish State Choir

Turkish State Choir is the leading professional choral ensemble of the country. Since its foundation in 1988 by Prof. Hikmet Şimşek, the choir acts both as a strong symphonic choir and a refined a capella ensemble. Past chief conductors include Walter Strauss, Ahter Destan, İbrahim Yazıcı and Cemi’i Can Deliorman. Since 2017, the artistic director and principal conductor is Burak Onur Erdem. The choir has given more than thousands concerts in all parts of Turkey and has performed in Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Israel and South Korea. In its debut concert, the choir performed under the direction of memorable Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun. Since then, notable performances include Harbison’s world premiere in Vatican to Pope John Paul II, Mahler 2nd in Konzerthaus Berlin, Britten’s War Requiem or Verdi Requiem with prominent symphony orchestras. Awarded the ‘Best Choral Ensemble in Turkey’ in 2010, the choir has been entitled ‘Voices from Heaven’ by music critics in Europe.

18 November 2018, Sunday:

Musical Walk: Discover the Pigeon Valley in Music

We invite you to walk along the unique Pigeon Valley in music! Grab your walking shoes and follow our very special guides!

The Valley: Situated between Uçhisar and Göreme, the famous Pigeon Valley, is one of the most spectacular spots of Cappadocia. Its name comes from numerous Pigeon Houses that have been carved by local farmers into the soft volcanic stone for ages. This walk will be an outdoor/off road experience so comfortable shoes and proper clothing will be best to enjoy all! At the end of the walk, a bus will take you back to Uçhisar, or you can stay and enjoy Göreme a bit longer and take a short taxi ride to come back.

Your special Guides:

  • Our musical guide will be Mr. Masis Aram Gözbek, one of the most talented and versatile musicians of Turkey. Founder and artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Boğaziçi Jazz Choir and MAGMA Choirs, conductor, composer, speaker, juror, Mr. Gözbek, is one of the leading figures of Turkish choral world, and has been an inspiring role model to many young conductors.
  • Mrs. İlknur Akman Erk, a professional tour guide/tour leader, now an active chorist, will give further explanations about the history, geography and culture of Cappadocia.