« Farewell Kenosha | Main | An interview with Peter Eldridge »

August 27, 2007

Madrigal Singers win European Grand Prix for the second time

The Inquirer (The Philippines):

The Philippine Madrigal Singers won the prestigious European Grand Prix for Choral Singing Sunday night in Arezzo, Italy. The Madz, as the choir is popularly known, is the first and only choir to win twice in what is known as the choral Olympics of the world.

It won the European Choral Grand Prix (GPE) for the first time in June 1997 when the Madrigals represented the Tolosa Competition, the first and only Philippine choir to win this competition. When it won the Florilege Vocal de Tours in France in 2006, the Philippine choral group earned the right to represent the Tours in this year’s choral Olympics, held on Sunday at the Church of Sta. Maria della Pieve in Arezzo, Italy.

The Madrigals beat formidable choirs such as Russia’s Vesna Children’s Choir, Hungary’s Cantemus Mixed Choir, Cuba’s Schola Cantorum Coralina and the Taipei Chamber Singers.

“Its overwhelming. Up to now we are very happy and pleased. No words can describe it,” Mark Anthony Carpio, the Madrigal’s choirmaster told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone from Italy.

Carpio said the choral group performed a 20-minute program for the competition which included: John Pamintuan’s arrangement of “Pater Noster,” a French madrigal, a German art song, the American contemporary song “We Beheld Once Again the Stars” by Z. Randall Stroope and a children’s song from Maguindanao titled “Kaisa-isa Nyan” by Nilo Alcala.

The Philippine Madrigal Singers was founded in 1963 by National Artist for Music Andrea O. Veneracion, who led the choir in winning various choral competitions from all over the world. Veneracion passed on her choirmaster’s task to Madz member Carpio, who led the choir in winning the latest choral Olympics.

“I never had the ambition of becoming the choirmaster of a group I have admired for a long time,” said Carpio who took over in 2001. “But I trusted Prof. Veneracion’s decision. She had been praying intensely for this when the Madz won the 1997 GPE."

Carpio was overwhelmed when the Madz made history by winning its second GPE, this time, under his leadership. “Nothing is more enjoyable than to see our hard work pay off. Feeling good about ourselves inspires us to even work harder. As Prof. Veneracion always said in the past, competitions are not the end; they are just means for us to see how well we are on track," Carpio said.

"We worked hard to achieve what we believed is the composer’s desire for each of our pieces. We did a lot of studying and research. But most of all, we did a lot of rehearsals," he added.

According to Carpio, there is no such thing as an ideal sound in any choral competition. The sound that the choir always tries to maintain is a free and relaxed sound but at the same time versatile and flexible.

“I believe there is no ideal or perfect sound for a choir. I have made this conclusion after listening to so many choirs from different countries of different cultures and ages. Each one sounds good but different from each other," he said. "There are qualities that are common to choirs. They are homogenous and the different voice parts are well-balanced. This is what conductors find very challenging: How to make the different individual voices blend together. This is difficult but attainable," Carpio added.

The GPE is an annual choral competition for the winners of six European choral competitions. It was inaugurated in 1989.

The six competitions are the Concorso Polifónico Guido d'Arezzo (International Guido d'Arezzo Polyphonic Contest) in Arezzo, Italy; the Bela Bartok International Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hajdú-Bihar, Hungary; Concorso Cesare Augusto (C.A.) Seghizzi, (C.A. Seghizzi Competition) known more popularly as the Seghizzi contest in Gorizia, Italy; Concurso Coral de Tolosa (Tolosa Choral Competition) in Tolosa, Spain; the International May Choir Competition in Varna, Varna Province, Bulgaria; and the Florilège Vocal de Tour in Tours, France. By winning the Tours competition in June 2006, the Madrigals qualified to join the GPE.

Despite its name, the GPE is not strictly for European choir groups. Any group from around the world can join in the competition in any of the GPE’s six member-cities. The competition is also not limited to adult choirs. Two past winners are children’s choirs. Sweden has produced the most number of GPE winners with four choral groups. Lithuania has three winners, Hungary and the US have two each. Denmark, Japan, Latvia, the Philippines, Russia and Slovenia have one each.

I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at the Cultural Center in Manila several years back and they are a true treasure of the Philippines. My wife is from the R.P. so I have been there often and along with her many US Filipina friends and their ubiquitous "Magic Mic" karaoke I can personally attest to how much Filipinos love to sing!!!

Posted by acapnews at August 27, 2007 8:41 PM


Congratulations to the UP Madrigals!!! More power!

Posted by: dr ray kole at August 29, 2007 4:15 AM

congratulations to Madz!!! together with the University of Southeastern Philippines Harmonia Polifonica Chorale here in Davao City, we had been praying for the madz's triumph with regards to the european grand prix....you have been an excellent role model portraying a superb choral quality.. indeed, madz is an inspiration to the rest of the choir members of the country...

Posted by: university of southeastern philippines at August 29, 2007 10:39 PM

When I heard that the 2007 GPE will be held last May, I checked the internet last June to see if Madz won but i was informed that it will be on the 26th of August. When i checked this september the result of the 2007 GPE and have read that the Madz did it again it made me feel triumphant knowing that only a philippine choir has won the GPE twice. I'm hoping that Madz will visit Misamis Occidental because i live in this province.

Posted by: Anonymous at September 2, 2007 10:13 PM

Madz you are the best.my friends went to watch you in Italy,it just so happen tha I have to work so I did not have the chance to watch you guys but,I´m soooo proud of you! mabuhay ang pinoy! at mabuhay ang Madz!

Posted by: marky at September 8, 2007 3:47 AM

Brown and beautiful!

The Philippine Madrigal Singers has yet again proved that Filipinos are the world's greatest performing artists. Yes, Madz has brought glory and honor to the country by bagging the grand prize in the recently concluded European Grand Prix for Choral Music held in Arezzo, Italy. It was all because of the choral group's unparalleled musical vituosity, technical proficiency and soulful singing. Indeed, the Madrigals are this nation's pride and joy.

To Madz and to Maestro Mark Anthony Carpio, congratulations! May we hear endless awards and accomplishments in the future. We are very proud of each and every one of you. Thank you for reliving the Philippine's legacy in music. You are truly and undeniably the citadel and bastion of choral music in the Philippines; simply the world's greatest. We love you, Madz!

Not only brown and beautiful... BEST as well!

Posted by: Marc Daryl B. Mateo at September 12, 2007 7:10 AM

Dear UP Madrigal Singers,

The best talaga kayo. I was a member of Lyceum Music Ensemble when I was a College. Kelan kaya kayo magpeperform dito sa Pilipinas? Gusto ko kayong mapanood uli. The last time na napanood namin kayo, that was in Carmel Church sa Lipa Batangas. I Don't know what was the occassion then? Nandon si Miss Andrea and her husband as your audience. Rehearsal pa lang parang nasa langit na ako. Then we followed your group at capucin seminary, still sa lipa. I don't know if the members we've watched then are the same members maybe yung iba graduate na or alumni na. Basta ang maliwanag si Mark Carpio ung conductor non. Hoping na mabigyan ako ng schedule ng performance nyo. Gusto ko talaga kayong mapanood at syempre isasama ko yung date kong ka-choir.

Congratulations mga Idols


Posted by: Mark Anthony E. Masalunga at September 17, 2007 2:38 AM

Dear Madz,
Eversince I got your CD compilation about a year ago from SM megamall, I have been listening to your sound every day...at home, in the car on my ipod. I am crazy about you. I am a choir singer here in Houston, Texas and our choir is no slouch but your relaxed, free and flexile sound is what draws me to you.
I will be visiting the Philippines again in October. It would be a gift and a blessing if I could get to hear you again in person... it has been decades since I heard you live.

I am proud of you !!


Posted by: EUGENE BANEZ at September 23, 2007 6:50 AM

Eugene, the Madz will have a homecoming concert on October 27 and 28 at the CCP main theater. If you're already here in Manila by then, that would be your chance to see them perform again. Enjoy the concert!

Posted by: Francisco at October 15, 2007 2:23 AM


You made my weekend so special. I was very fortunate to attend your homecoming concert yesterday (Sunday) at the CCP main theater. I can't be inspired more by your unique singing style and heavenly harmony.
I was able to get an autograph from Mark when Madz performed for our concert in our beloved Marikina City last 21st at the Riverbend Hotel. You guys are a great blessing! Strive to perfect what you do best. Your countrymen are very proud of you.

I'm listening to your Joy: A Choral Celebration of Christmas that we bought yesterday together with your Vocalization by Andrea O. Veneracion as I type this. As a member of a church choir, I'd personally like to improve my 'work-in-progress' skills in making our parishioners' echaristic experience more beautiful. I am optimistic that your center for choirs project will be another great success. I can't wait to listen to another concert with Madz soon. I love you guys madzly! Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino!

Jerome Bautista

Posted by: Jerome Bautista at October 29, 2007 2:44 AM

Hi Mark !!!! I'm so proud of your accomplishments. Bilib talaga ako sa talent ng Pinoy!!!!
I miss watching your concerts in CCP. I hope you could have a concert tour schedule in Texas. Jojo, Jing, and I will definetely be there. Matitiis ka ba namin Mark.hahaha! I will convince Agnes and Cherry to come over too. Manay's too far but I'm sure you'll also have a concert tour in NY. Regards to all. We're praying for you Mark. More power to you. Send my regards to Andoy and my family and to Pansol choir if you have the chance.

Posted by: Mildred at October 31, 2007 1:26 PM

hi po sana po madalaw nio po ang mga taga ang dating daan at maging jugdge sa darating na music summit.marami pong humahanga sa inyo.c may po ito choir din po ako.sana po maka pag concert din po kau d2 sa las pinas city.hindi ko pa po kau na kikita in person pero pagkumanta kau kakaiba talaga.sana po stay parin parin po kau sa mababa.sana makita ko rin po kau.salamat sa DIOS.SANA PO MADALAW NIO PO KAMI D2.AT MAKAKANTA PO KAU SA UNTV CHANEL 37 KAY KUYA DANIEL RAZON MAIPAKITA PO NA MIN KAU SA TV PROGRAM NA MIN SALAMAT PO.GUD DAY PO.17 YRS OLD PALANG PO AKO.PANGARAP KO PO ANG CONSISTENT NA MAGPALSETO SANA MA ADVISAN NIO PO AQ

Posted by: may arevalo at December 7, 2007 12:25 AM

Your music is just beautiful...heavenly...and it touches my soul. I can't help the tears at times listening to your native Philippine songs that reminds me of the good old days back home.
I want to congratulate you for all the honors you brought to the country. Your achievement is enough to make every Filipino proud.
indeed a national treasure.

Posted by: Ed S. Balona at March 21, 2008 12:58 PM

I have watched you perform several times already, in Manila and in Baguio as well. I couldn't stop myself from admiring such beautiful vocal technique and soulful singing you guys do every time you perform. =) Sir Mark, you're really an inspiration to all of us who appreciate choral music.
I'm so desperate to learn such vocal technique though. Where might I be able to purchase "andrea veneracion's vocalization techniques? It was highly recommended to me by one of the American facilitators we had in a music worship seminar.
Thanks and God bless you all! MADZ you're truly the best choir in the world!



Posted by: Christian Hanz at August 10, 2008 9:57 PM

i hope ul visit kidapawan city, i really want to hear ur voices....wish ko un!

Posted by: john mar at October 10, 2008 4:41 AM

Mads ang galing galing nyo talaga.........Bilib talaga ako sa talent ng pinoy....Just keep on winning haa....salamat sa pagtaguyod ng talentong pinoy.....keep up the good work....

Posted by: Angelica B. Licudan at January 16, 2009 9:52 PM

Hi. We are the Philippine Choral guild and we are interested in receiving more news from a capella. Please add us to your mailing list, if you have one. By the way, Filipino composers do have a lot of a capella songs available. You might be interested to find out also. You may contact us at the above email address if you are interested. Thanks.

Posted by: Philippine ChoralGuild at May 25, 2009 6:54 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?