On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of Robert Schumann, his native city was able to present a very special cultural event: from the 11th to the 15th of October the Förderverein INTERKULTUR e.V. staged the fifth international Robert Schumann Choir Contest in Zwickau. This year 30 choirs from 12 countries comprising the considerable total of almost 1000 choristers subjected themselves to the scrutiny of an international jury.

Dietmar Vettermann, the Lord Mayor of the City of Zwickau, assumed the patronage of the contest. Additionally, the organizers were supported by the City of Zwickau, the Kulturraum Zwickauer Raum, the Westsächsische Chorverband and the Zwickauer Gesellschaft Kultour Z., without whom a choral meeting of this size would not have been possible.


The compositions of Robert Schumann and his contemporaries were at the centre of the competition. As its motto, the artistic committee, chaired by Prof. Dr. Ralf Eisenbeiß, chose a Schumann quotation from his Musical House- and Life-Rules: “Hold the old in high esteem, yet also warmly embrace the new” Thus, the event considers itself an expression of the exuberance and the topicality of the artistic heritage of Robert Schumann. Each choir had to grapple with the exciting contrast between Romantic and contemporary music, plus incorporate a work from the twentieth century as well as a piece by Schumann or one of his contemporaries in its competition programme. Yet, the events held under the auspices of the contest spilled over from just the competitive singing in the concert and ballroom house “New World”: at concerts characterised by friendship and the chance to meet others, it was not only the public who had a magnificent opportunity to experience the whole charm of this renowned choral meeting.

Impression of the contest – 1000-strong choristers provided high-class musical entertainment and a rousing atmosphere.

The idea behind the choral meetings of MUSICA MUNDI is the idea that musical and cultural exchanges between international choirs contribute to understanding between peoples and build bridges for peace and friendship in Europe and around the world. Thus, great importance was given to communal singing. On Sunday the 15th of October, during the closing event, all the choirs were invited to sing Robert Schumann’s “Zum Abschied zu singen” (“Sing Your Farewell”) before the 13 silver and 16 golden diplomas and the Robert Schumann Prize, endowed with 2500 Euros, were awarded. Earlier, the 10 victorious choirs in the various categories (from children’s to adult choirs, from chamber ensembles to large choirs of 60 voices) had competed for the main prize in the packed Jugendstil Hall of the “New World”. Finally, the chamber choir Mešani Pevski Zbor Postojna from Slovenia impressed the jury the most with the arrangement of their programme. The vocal ensemble Schwanenschloß from Zwickau was victorious in the category unison chamber choirs. The next Robert Schumann Choir Contest is to be held in Zwickau in 2010.