Rīga designated as host city for the 8th World Choir Games

Rīga designated as host city for the 8th World Choir Games
28-02-2012 A+ A-
The European Capital of Culture 2014 welcomes choirs from all over the world to Latvia. After China in 2010 and the United States of America this year, the world’s largest choral festival will be back in Europe and will be held in the capital of Latvia. From July 9-19, 2014 Rīga will be the host city of the 8th World Choir Games (WCG). Contracts signed today.

INTERKULTUR based in Frankfurt am Main, organizer of numerous choral competition and festivals and Rīga|2014 Foundation and its partners will jointly organize the 8th WCG. The formal signing ceremony at today’s press conference to announce Rīga as host city was attended from Latvian side by Žaneta Jaunzeme-Grende, Minister for Culture, Daniels Pavļuts, Minister of Economics, Nils Ušakovs, the Chairman of the Rīga City Council and Diāna Čivle, Director of the Rīga|2014 Foundation and also by a German delegation from INTERKULTUR headed by its president, Günter Titsch. Rīga, the 2014 European Capital of Culture, gained the bid against e.g. Bali (Indonesia), Cape Town (South Africa), Melbourne (Australia) and Sotchi (Russian Federation).

Photo: F64, Kaspars Krafts

“The Capital of Latvia, Rīga is charming and always worth visiting!” says Günter Titsch. “Open minded, innovative, beautiful and with an enormous cultural heritage from the art nouveau architecture to – most important – the cultural diversity shown in it’s rich singing traditions. Since the first “Song and Dance Festival” in 1873, more than a hundred years of choral music and festivals mean something to every Latvian – INTERKULTUR and I personally are very proud to combine Latvian choral traditions with an international choral competition – the World Choir Games. More than 90 Latvian choirs have travelled to sing in past INTERKULTUR events. Now the competition will come to your country and bring voices of the world to sing together.”

„Latvia is among those few countries of the world, where the unique song festival tradition is purposefully maintained; it has been handed over to the best national choir masters and composers and is included in the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages”, says Žaneta Jaunzeme-Grende, Minister of Culture.

“The Latvian people know the immense power and value of song; therefore the World Choir Games will be a very welcomed event, which will bring about not only positive emotions, but also a true artistic and professional interest. It is possible that Latvia will be the country having the biggest troop of singers during the World Choir Games – and I will be among them!”

The World Choir Games founded in 2000 have quickly become the largest event of its kind in the world. Former cities to host the event are Linz, Austria (2000); Busan, People’s Republic of Korea (2002); Bremen, Germany (2004); Xiamen, China (2006); Graz, Austria (2008); Shaoxing, China (2010); and Cincinnati, USA (2012). The Games are owned and produced by INTERKULTUR.

”It’s often heard that Latvia is the land that sings. But it is not just about singing – it is all about our national culture and traditions. It’s all about the soul of our nation,” says Daniels Pavļuts, Minister of Economics. “The World Choir Games 2014 is another great opportunity for Latvia to show it’s strong singing traditions and culture to the other nations all around the world. “Coming to Latvia as a tourist, your life can be changed in a couple of moments – Latvia leads you to new experiences, helps you to find harmony and discover true values.

The World Choir Games 2014 will be an unforgettable adventure not just for all the choir singers, but also for Riga as the European Capital of Culture and for Latvian tourism industry!”

The World Choir Games involves amateur choirs, both adult and youth, competing in more than 20 categories including gospel, jazz, contemporary, folk, religious and popular choir music. In the World Choir Games 2010 in Shaoxing 472 choirs from 83 countries took part.

“The capital of Latvia has long traditions of choral music and our choirs have proved the excellent quality of their performance all around the world”, says Nils Ušakovs, the Chairman of the Rīga City Council. Several thousand citizens of Riga sing in choirs themselves and therefore Riga is the city where this kind of music is loved and appreciated. We are glad for the wonderful opportunity to host the World Choir Games 2014 and I can assure that the city will do everything possible in order to make both the singers as well as listeners feel comfortable here and take the best memories from Riga!”

The event features elaborate opening and closing ceremonies and a parade of participants that will make its way through the streets of Rīga. The Olympic-style friendly competition will award Golden, Silver and Bronze Medals to top contenders in various competition categories. Free performances open to the public will take place concurrently on sites across the region. The details on the projected event venues will be announced soon.

“Riga is truly convinced that choral singing is one of the most splendid ways to encourage people to develop their personality and creativity”, says Diāna Čivle, Director of the Rīga 2014 Foundation. “Creativity is indeed one of the pillars on wich Rīga – the European Capital of Culture 2014 is built. INTERKULTUR helps people around the world enjoy singing together thus creating the atmosphere for cultural diversity in an Olympic spirit. The World Choir Games strengthen human values and unity. Rīga and our team are ready to start working on it.”

At today’s press conference, 31 foreign ambassadors were informed about the upcoming event and the video presentation about former WCG was highly appreciated by the entire audience.

INTERKULTUR and Riga welcomes the choirs to join the 8th Word Choir Games in July 9-19, 2014.

About Rīga|2014 Foundation:

The Rīga|2014 foundation was established by the municipality of the city of Riga to provide for the development and running of the culture events of Riga as the European Capital of Culture 2014. The foundation manages and coordinates the parties involved in the preparation of the programme, provides a communications campaign, prepares and manages local residents’ participation and volunteer programmes and encourages cooperation between the public and the private sector. Riga was officially announced as the European Capital of Culture 2014 in the year 2010.

About European Capital of Culture (ECOC):

Each year, cities chosen as European Capitals of Culture – in 2011 Tallinn, and Turku – provide living proof of the richness and diversity of European cultures. Started in 1985, the initiative has become one of the most prestigious and high-profile cultural events in Europe. More than 40 cities have been designated European Capitals of Culture so far, from Stockholm to Genoa, Athens to Glasgow, and Cracow to Porto. A city is not chosen as a European Capital of Culture solely for what it is, but mainly for what it plans to do for a year that has to be exceptional. Its programme for the year must meet some specific criteria.  Riga’s partner-ECOC in 2014 will be Umeå of Sweden, and it means joint cultural projects in 2014. In Latvia, Riga’s official partner is Sigulda, and Riga is open for cooperation also with other cities and towns of Latvia. The Council of the European Union is the only institution that can award the title of European Capital of Culture. http://ec.europa.eu/culture


INTERKULTUR is the leading organizer of international choral events worldwide. Since its foundation 20 years ago the organization operates globally and has performed over 115 competitions and festivals for more than 5.800 choirs and about 260.000 singers from app. 100 countries. The World Choir Games, formally known as  “Choir Olympics“, take place every two years on different continents with about 20.000 choristers. After Shaoxing (China), the 7th World Choir Games 2012 will take place in Cincinnati, USA and are being supported by Procter & Gamble as the Official Presenting Sponsor. For many years cities such as Budapest, Rome and Vienna have been hosting INTERKULTUR competitions regularly.

Information about Rīga|2014: www.riga2014.org

Information about INTERKULTUR: www.interkultur.com

Photo: F64, Kaspars Krafts


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