UO choir wins international competition

The University of Oregon Chamber Choir has placed first at the Fleischmann International Trophy Competition at the Cork International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland – one of Europe’s most prestigious choral arts events.

Judges at the competition on Saturday, May 4, awarded the Chamber Choir a score of 92.67 percent, surpassing the local favorites, New Dublin Voices. That ensemble’s score of 90.11% was the second highest among the competitors.

The UO Chamber Choir – the most select ensemble in the university’s eight-choir choral arts program – was one of 11 ensembles competing in a field of 30 choirs (from 17 countries), and was the sole representative of the United States. The choir competed with a set featuring both sacred and secular repertoire spanning 400 years and sung in seven languages, with styles ranging from Italian madrigals to bluegrass-influenced gospel, and from composers including Monteverdi, Schütz, Debussy, Sydney Guilaume and Eric William Barnum.

The competition was conducted in Cork’s City Hall, known to choral enthusiasts worldwide as one of the most acoustically perfect venues in Ireland. Leading up to the competition, the Chamber Choir also presented concerts in Dublin, Kells and Loughrea.

The Chamber Choir is under the direction of Sharon Paul, a UO professor of music. The Chamber Choir, made up of undergraduate and graduate students, specializes in a cappella music from the 16th through 21st centuries.

The Chamber Choir won top honors in two categories at the 12th International Choir Festival held in Tallinn, Estonia, in April 2011. The choir has also performed by juried audition at state and division conferences for the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.

Paul is professor of music, chair of vocal and choral studies, and director of choral activities at the UO, where she teaches graduate courses in choral conducting, repertoire and pedagogy, and conducts the Chamber Choir and University Singers ensembles. She earned her doctorate in choral conducting from Stanford University, a master's degree in conducting from UCLA, and a bachelor's degree in music from Pomona College.

Paul served as artistic director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus from 1992 to July 2000. She has presented interest sessions at national and international music conferences. She appears frequently as adjudicator, clinician and honor choir director throughout the United States.

- from the UO School of Music and Dance