Realizing that no form of art can exist unless it is nurtured and keeps producing new buds, the a cappella festival is committed to promoting young talent in vocal music by means of an integrated competition. Originally stemming from the awards presented to up-and-coming young ensembles during the early festivals, since 2007 the Leipzig International A CAPPELLA Contest has become one of the most important of its kind and attracts young a cappella groups from over the world.

The high quality and the special appeal of the contest partly result from the fact that’s it’s the only one in the world of vocal music in which all participants compete in the same category, regardless of their specific genre or whether they use amplification. In addition to the Leipzig A CAPPELLA Award and prize money for the winners, the initiators from amarcord are determined to help the development of all the young groups taking part by giving them important experience, tips and ideas. Therefore, apart from the actual competition – which is held in front of a 500-strong audience and an expert jury – other activities are also organized such as a workshop with an experienced teacher (in which all the ensembles can polish their musical presentation) and a seminar on the voice held by a phoniatrist. One of the aims is to get people talking and sharing experience at various levels with as many like-minded people as possible: the jury, the other entrants, the singers performing at the festival concerts, and last but not least the audience.









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The jury is made up of experienced singers and experts on the vocal music scene. So far, the jury has always been chaired by one of the former members of the King’s Singers. Other judges have included members of groups such as Rajaton and The Real Group. Martin Hoffmeister (daytime music programmer for regional arts radio station MDR FIGARO) has also been on the jury since day one, and one of the singers from amarcord sits on the jury every year, too. Since the competition is designed to pave the way for a musical career for young singers, every effort is made to ensure that the contacts established are continued long after the competition is over. Echoing this idea of longevity, the winners of the first prize are invited back to Leipzig the following year to perform their own, full-length concert during the a cappella festival for a suitable fee.


Taken together, it is undeniable that these measures have always given participants invaluable stimulus for their further development. In the end, this benefits the vocal music scene; indeed, the a cappella festival directly profits since the contest helps it discover, showcase and strengthen new, original ensembles. Many previous winners and entrants have gone on to carve out a career for themselves and have been invited back to the festival to give acclaimed concerts. Although the contest appeals to audiences of all ages, it’s especially attractive to younger a cappella fans as a way of finding out about vocal music and emerging groups.