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Vatican launches international sacred music competition

2014-01-10

The practice goes back centuries, sacred music has been an instrumental part in the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Now, the Vatican is calling on entries from composers interested in keeping this ancient art alive.

The Francesco Siciliani International Contest is part of the Sagra Musicale Umbra, one of the oldest sacred music festivals in Italy. This will be the second year they host the contest.

ALBERTO BATTISTI
Contest director
"In the first edition, we had 210 entries from around the world. They came from all over the world. From Japan, the Philippines, really from continents very far away.”

Organizers are hoping to exceed those numbers this time around. The idea to set up the contest came from Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Composers have until June 1, 2014 to submit their entries to the contest organizers in Italy. 

ALBERTO BATTISTI
Contest director
"The way it works is that they must send their composition in the style and language they choose. With a choir, with or without an organ, but about the Pater Noster, which we chose the theme for this year's contest.”

An international jury will then judge each entry separately, without knowing who the composer is. The top three finalists will then present their pieces live at the Musica Sacre Umbra in September 2014. 

The pieces will be performed by St. Jacob's Chamber Choir, one of the most famous in the world. Afterward, the jury, the audience and music critics will vote and decide who to give their award to.

ALBERTO BATTISTI
Contest director
"The Pater Noster doesn't have many prestigious compositions, so we hope to make a great contribution to the musical repertoire with new beautiful versions of the Pater Noster.”

Over the centuries, the Church has looked to composers to inject the emotion and reverence that only sacred music can convey. This timelessness is once again at the forefront, as the Vatican looks to new talent to continue this integral part of Catholic culture.


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