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Archiv für März, 2014

LEOsings #1 Barcelona – Interview Jim Daus Hjernoe, pt.1

by Florian Städtler, European Voices Association (Chairman of the Board)

LEOsings is a European Union project exploring the “Diversity of Singing Practices in Europe”, which had its kick-off session in February 2014 in Barcelona. There will be a more detailed report about the project and opportunities to take part in the following sessions in Aalborg (May 2014), Tours (October 2014), Freiburg (March 2015) and Copenhagen (2015, tba). The most exciting piece of information is the fact, that the European Union potentially pays for travel and accomodation of the Aalborg, Tours and Copenhagen workshops, if you are/become an EVA member.

Which leads us to the second big news: You can now apply for the new EVA membership at the European Voices Association’s website. The new thing about becoming a member is, that there are customized membership benefit packages for singers, supporters, small and large vocal group and choirs. So don’t hesitate, become a part of the contemporary a cappella movement in Europe and profit from your membership package!

Talking of vocal music education and networking, you very often end up in Denmark. I had the pleasure to meet and talk to Jim Daus Hjernoe, professor at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Aalborg and while the other LEOsings participants went for tapas y vino, we met on the rooftop of our Barcelona hotel and in my hotel room to talk about the Danish vocal music scene, the Academy programs, Vocal Line and Jens Johansen. Enjoy the first half of the interview, the second one will be online soon here at Vocal Blog and on the EVA website.

I’m Florian Städtler, a cappella agent, blogger and event planner. If you are into a cappella and choir music, you might want to follow me on  Twitter or check out Vocal Blog’s Facebook fanpage and group. If you want to buy cds, dvds, sheet music and other cool stuff, visit And if you want to contribute, feel free to send me your news, links, videos etc. via This is a multi-author blog.

My Way to Teaching and Founding a Vocal Ensemble in Hollywood

by Kier (aka Morten Kjaer, DEN/USA)

Kier running jumpingBack in my early twenties when I studied music at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, Denmark, I made a big deal out of NOT wanting to be a music teacher. I was ambivalent about my studies, since running band and choir rehearsals took up 50% of everyone’s lesson plans at the time. In the late 90s, as a new thing, the school offered up a program that focused exclusively on being a performing artist. I immediately switched. As embarrassed as I am to admit it today, to me full-time music teachers seemed to be those who had given up on their dreams and artistic integrity and instead had settled into a much less exciting existence as employees in (boring) music schools around the country.

For a number of years, I said no to almost all teaching opportunities that were presented to me. But at some point (I don’t remember if it was because I needed to make a few bucks or simply didn’t have any better plans) I agreed to do a choir workshop in a small town in Denmark. I recall sitting in a bathroom stall during a break, sweating like a pig. I had run out of ideas and exercises, and we still had a couple of hours to go. What to do?! After the break, i initiated some weird improvisation exercises, and somehow times passed. As the singers were exiting, a couple of the board members approached me. I was sure they were going to scold me and withhold my pay. But, much to my surprise, they offered me a position as the permanent director of the choir. I was shocked. Apparently I didn’t suck at teaching. This experience changed me. Slowly and over time, working with singers became an integrated part of my professional life, and today I am happy about my career as a music teacher. My collaboration with Malene Rigtrup on “Ørehænger” I am particularly proud of.

So – something was clearly missing when I moved to Los Angeles in 2010. After 10 years of singing with Vocal Line on a weekly basis on top of teaching my Copenhagen choir, NoteAble, not belonging to a “vocal family” was just strange. In the Fall of 2011, I decided to found my own, new choir in Hollywood. I wrote the voice teachers in my network and posted info on Facebook and Craiglist. Before I knew it, 13 surprisingly young and quite talented singers showed up for the auditions at my apartment. We named ourselves Top Shelf (referring to high-quality liqueur – something the members still enjoy frequently!), and we started to meet up each Tuesday in rented theater spaces or in people’s homes. After some months, we got a permanent rehearsal space in a gorgeous church in Koreatown, and we have kept adding people to the mix and new arrangements to our repertoire.

Kier on e-piano skylineToday, Top Shelf has 20 members: 12 gorgeous girls, and 8 solid guys. I am proud to call myself their “Dad”, and I am enjoying how we are experiencing an increase in our concert activity. Just this month, we have done a couple of sold-out public concerts and taken part in a very romantic proposal, and in a few days were are to performance in front of a celebrity TV-soap cast (“Days of our Lives”). Good times! And even though we call ourselves Top Shelf, there is still room to move up and forward.

Read more about Top Shelf and check out the music on and

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Newsflash – The Oxford Gargoyles Hong Kong Debut

shared by Henry Southern, Hong Kong

Henry SouthernThe Oxford Gargoyles is Oxford University’s premier jazz a cappella group. Coming from humble beginnings, the group was formed in 1998 by two students with a shared passion for jazz and an irrepressible urge to ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’. In the past 16 years, the group has grown into one with an exceptional reputation, both in the UK and abroad. They have performed alongside world-famous groups, such as The Real Group and The Swingle Singers, have appeared on NBC Today, competed in the finals of the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella, and have recently won the Voice Festival UK and Open Category of the BBC Choir Of The Year Competition.

2014 marks the group’s inaugural tour to Asia: on the 20th of March 2014, The Gargoyles will arrive in Hong Kong, intent on spreading their love for all things jazz to a host of people across Hong Kong and Macau. From the moment they arrive to the minute they leave, their schedule will be jam packed with concerts at some incredible

The Oxford Gargoyles

The Oxford Gargoyles

venues (such as the Hong Kong City Hall Theatre, the Hong Kong Fringe Club, and performing at the world-renowned Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Rugby Sevens), workshops with a range of different musical groups, and performances in over ten schools. The group’s president, Emma Fox, adds, “It will be a privilege to meet the alumni of Oxford University, the students from local Universities, primary and secondary students – who we hope will be encouraged to pursue their creative interests alongside their studies right through their education – and the citizens of Hong Kong and Macau. Everyone in the Gargoyles is hugely excited for this cultural exchange, and the opportunity to share our passion with the new friends we hope to make once we arrive.”

In order to make their tour possible, the group has launched its first ever crowdfunding campaign on FringeBacker, which they hope will allow them to engage with fans all over the world. In return for donations, there is a large selection of rewards on offer, including limited edition Oxford Gargoyles Tour 2014 T-shirts, CDs, and postcards. Details of the project and how you can help can be found here.



— Details of The Oxford Gargoyles’ public ticketed performances —

Backstage Live

Friday, 21 March 2014, 8:00pm

1/F, Somptueux Central, 52-54 Wellington St, Central $180 (includes free drink)
Tickets & Enquiries: 2167 8985

Grappa’s Cellar

Sunday, 23 March 2014, 7:00pm

B1, 1 Connaught Pl, Central
$200 (door) / $180 (earlybird) (includes free drink) Tickets available at Grappa’s Cellar, Cityline, & Tom Lee Music Outlets, online & by phone:
Tickets: 2111 5333
Enquiries: 2521 2322

Hong Kong City Hall Theatre

Monday, 24 March 2014, 8:00pm

5 Edinburgh Pl, Central
$250 / $200 / $150 (students)
Tickets available at all URBTIX outlets, online & by phone: Tickets: 2111 5999,, Enquiries: 2734 9009

Fringe Club

Wed, Fri, Sat, 26, 28, 29 March 2014, 8:00pm

2 Lower Albert Rd, Central
$200 / $160 / $120 (students)
Tickets: 3128 8288,, Enquiries: 2521 7251,

The Oxford Gargoyles

The Oxford Gargoyles

#listento – Voices of Asia

by Kevin Chen, Vocalasia

Voices of AsiaContemporary A Cappella in Asia has developed into different styles and forms that are unique to each region, mixing characteristics of local culture and language.  This album is the first Asian A Cappella compilation in history, with specially selected groups from different regions presenting their works. We hope, through this album, Asian A Cappella music can be shared not only within Asia, but also around the globe.



Song List

MICappella  |  Here We Go

The A Cappella Society  |  Rasa Sayang

Gay Singers  |  Happy Happy

Orange  |  Give Me a Break

Voco Novo  |  Under the Tung Blossom Tree

O-Kai Singers  |  Atayal Yearning Song

Freeman  |  Golden Mountains of Beijing

Strong Voice  |  The Southeast

Zenith  |  Giant Tree 자이언트 트리

Exit  |  Cigarette Store Girl 담배가게 아가씨

Pylon  |  Takeda Lullaby 竹田の子守唄



1. Here We Go  |  MICappella  (Singapore)

L&M:Zhang Lesheng & Peter Huang and Tat Tong  /  Arr.:Tom Anderson     /  Producer:Peter Huang  /  Recording Engineer:Peter Huang  /  Mixing   Engineer :Ed Boyer

2. Rasa Sayang  |  The A Cappella Society  (Singapore)

L&M:Folk Song /  Arr.:Hekko Wiscanto  /  Producer:Hekko Wiscanto  /  Recording Engineer: Mabel Leong  /  Mixing Engineer :Chad Batchelor

3. Happy Happy  |  Gay Singers  (Hong Kong)

M:Traditional  /  Arr.:Kwok-Tung Fung  /  Producer:Kwok-Tung Fung  /   Recording Engineer:King Kong  /  Mixing Engineer :King Kong

4. Give Me a Break  |  Orange  (Hong Kong)

L&M:Joe-Yung Pang  /  Arr.:Joe-Yung Pang /  Producer:Joe-Yung    Pang /  Recording Engineer:King Kong  /  Mixing Engineer :King Kong

5. Under the Tung Blossom Tree  |  Voco Novo  (Taiwan)

L&M:Hsiu-Ju Ku & Yu-Wei Hsieh  /  Arr.:Christine Liu  /     Producer:Iansen, Christine Liu, Andrew Yeh  /  Recording    Engineer:Iansen, Christine Liu  /  Mixing Engineer :Iansen, Christine Liu

6. Atayal Yearning Song  |  O-Kai Singers  (Taiwan)

L&M:Chuen-Mu Gao /  Arr.:Andy Jaffe & Jia-Ching Lai  /  Producer:JiaChing Lai /  Recording Engineer:Dzih-Long Hong  /  Mixing Engineer    :Gábor Molnár

7. Golden Mountains of Beijing  |  Freeman 自由人  (China)

L&M:Mazhuo  /  Arr.:Yu-Qi Liang  /  Producer:Yu-Qi Liang /     Recording Engineer:Yu-Qi Liang  /  Mixing Engineer :Yu-Qi Liang

8. The Southeast  |  Strong Voice  (China)

L&M: Xin-Huan Wu & Zi-Hao Wang  /  Arr.:Zi-Hao Wang /     Producer:Zi-Hao Wang  /  Recording Engineer:Zi-Hao Wang  /  Mixing    Engineer :Zi-Hao Wang

9. Giant Tree 자이언트 트리  |  Zenith  (Korea)

L&M:Eric Kim  /  Arr.:Eric Kim  /  Producer:Eric Kim  /  Recording    Engineer:Eric Kim  /  Mixing Engineer :Eric Kim

10. Cigarette Store Girl 담배가게아가씨  |  Exit  (Korea)

L&M:Chang-Sik Song  /  Arr.: Seul-Ki Lee  /  Producer:Min-Soo Kim  /     Recording Engineer:Min-Soo Kim  /  Mixing Engineer : Min-Soo Kim

11. Takeda Lullaby  |  竹田の子守唄Pylon  (Japan)

L&M:Folk Song  /  Arr.:Ushio Yoneda  /  Producer:Pylon  / Recording    Engineer:Takeshi Izawa  /  Mixing Engineer :Takeshi Izawa


Published by: 唯聲股份有限公司 & Vocal Asia

Publisher: Clare Chen

Production Advisors: Deke Sharon, Peder Karlsson

Music Advisors: Angelina Choo, Kaichiro Kitamura, Kwok-Tung Fung, Ray Chu, Sung-Mo Han

Producers: Christine Liu, Wuming Chen Production Coordinator: Zoe Chen

Mastering: Jui-Shun Jao

Mastering Studio: ArchiMusic Studio (Taipei)

Design: Ching-Wen Wu

Special Thanks (In alphabetical order)

Japan A Cappella Society, Jia-Ching Lai, Korea A Cappella Education Program, Shanghai A Cappella Center, Taiwan Choral Music Center, The A Cappella Society, The Contemporary A Cappella Society of Hong Kong & Macau


All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring, or rental of this recording prohibited.

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Newsflash – Young Composers Competition

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog editor-in-chief



In association with international publishing company Edition Peters Ltd, Reverie, the London-based young professional vocal ensemble, is proud to launch a composition competition for young composers between the ages of 15 to 25. This gives a young composer the opportunity to write a new work for a professional vocal ensemble. Alongside its world premiere at Reverie’s annual Friends and Patrons Concert in June 2014, the winning piece will be offered publication subject to agreement with Edition Peters Ltd. The competition will be judged by an esteemed panel which includes Philip Lawson, Ben Parry , Robin Tyson and Reverie’s Associate Composer, Toby Young. The full terms and conditions and more details about how to enter can be found here. Entries close on 14th April 2014 with the winner announced in May 2014.

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