Competition Announcement

Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition and Folklore Festival
th July 2018 Debrecen, Hungary

The Municipality of Debrecen announces to host the Béla Bartók 28th International Choir
Competition and Folklore Festival between 5-8th July 2018.
Founder and Honorary Life President of the Competition:
  • György Gulyás
President of the Competition:
  • Szabolcs Komolay
Artistic Committee:
  • Miklós Csemiczky
  • Csaba Somos
  • Máté Szabó Sipos
  • Ágnes Török
Director of the Competition:
  • József Balogh
Logistics Director:
  • Edit Bódor
Logistics manager:
  • Tibor Korponai

Artistic manager:

  • Zsófia Tóth

Organizers of the Competition:

  • Főnix Event Organizing Public Benefit Status NP LTD
  • Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen

1. Aims and purposes of the Competition:

  • to present and perform pieces of contemporary choral music in an intelligible and convincing way
  • to popularize high-level collective singing and vocal folk music
  • to strengthen the relationship between contemporary music and the general public
  • to extensively familiarize the values of choral music
  • to promote the meeting of composers and choral artists of different nationalities
  • to support the international publicity of the cultural wealth of Debrecen

2. Terms and conditions of participation

The Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition is open to both amateur and professional choirs. Choirs may enter the competition in maximum two categories, moreover are welcome to participate in the accompanying folklore festival.
Singers who might be members of several choirs are only allowed to sing in one ensemble in each category of the contest.

Choirs may enter the competition in the following categories, with the number of members and age-limits indicated below:





CHILDREN'S CHOIRS Maximum age limit: 15 years*
(born after 5 July 2003)
max. 50 singers
YOUTH CHOIRS Maximum age limit: 21 years*
(born after 5 July 1997)
Youth equal voices: max. 50 singers
Youth mixed choirs: max. 50 singers
(female ans male choirs)
Minimum age limit: 18 years for female choirs
(born before 7 July 1998)
max. 40 singers
--- Vocal ensembles: max. 12 singers
Chamber choirs: 16 - 24 singers
MIXED CHOIRS --- min. 25
max. 50 singers

 *10 percent of the number of singers in a choir may be 1 year older at the most

The Artistic Committee reserves the right to cancel any of the categories in case of fewer than three entries in the category.

3. Rules and Regulations

Only „a cappella” works may be presented at the competition. The use of an untuned percussion instrument is allowed in one piece in each round of the competition as long as it can be considered as an integral part of the given piece and its use is indicated in the score submitted. Even in such cases a previous approval from the Artistic Committee is also required. (The competition for the Grand Prize is an exception to this rule. See Chapter 5 of the Competition Announcement)

The competition consists of a semi-final and a final round. In each round, competitors must present one compulsory piece and a selection of optional works (free choice). In both the semi-finals and the finals the competing choirs must start their programme by performing the compulsory work, followed by the optional pieces. (For time limits of the programme see Chapter 3.3)

3.1 Compulsory works:

In both the semi-final and the final rounds of each category, a set piece - written by a Hungarian composer - is to be performed.


SEMI-FINAL Ilona Meskó: Jinger Ring - I. Splish-splash, III. Days
Editio Musica Budapest (14651)
FINAL Péter Andorka: Kirakós - IV. Szomorkodó, V. Cipőfűző
Editio Musica Budapest (14993)


SEMI-FINAL Béla Bartók – Kánon
Editio Musica Budapest (20005)
FINAL Zoltán Kodály: Fancy Dal
Editio Musica Budapest (5884)
SEMI-FINAL Jenő Pertis: Három szerelmes vers - 1. Nehéz szívem, 2. Altató
Magyar Kórusok és Zenekarok Szövetsége (ISMN 979-0-9005269-0-8 BUDAPEST 2008
FINAL Péter Tóth: Vivamus!
Kontrapunkt Zeneműkiadó (K-0174)
SEMI-FINAL Miklós Kocsár : Salve Regina
Editio Musica Budapest (KI09)
FINAL Miklós Csemiczky: Four Sacred Songs - III. Caeli Deus sanctissime
Kontrapunkt Zeneműkiadó (K-0219)
SEMI-FINAL Sándor Szokolay – Három epigramma régi stílusban
Editio Musica Budapest (13483)
FINAL Béla Bartók – Székely dalok (movements 2., 3., 4.)
Editio Musica Budapest (4675)


SEMI-FINAL György Orbán: Salve Regina
Hinshaw Music Inc. (HMC1498)
FINAL Barna Szabó : Lachrymarium - IV.  Me, me and none but me
Kontrapunkt Zeneműkiadó (K-0204)


SEMI-FINAL Rezső Ott  : Vivat, crescat, floreat!
Editio Musica Budapest (14827)
FINAL János Vajda: Psalm 117
Kontrapunkt Zeneműkiadó (K-0301


SEMI-FINAL Lajos Vass : Nocturne
Editio Musica Budapest (5976)
FINAL Levente Gyöngyösi : O magnum mysterium
Kontrapunkt Zeneműkiadó (K-0320)

3.2 Optional works

Composition of the programme:

The optional programme in both the semi-finals and the finals must contain solely contemporary choral works composed after 26th September 1945 (i.e. the date of Bartók's death) + Bartók.

It is compulsory to perform at least one composition written after 1990 in each round.
Choirs including a piece written after 1st January, 2013 in their programme, automatically enter the competition for a special prize to be awarded for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece . (See chapter 6)

The choirs must also perform a piece written by a foreign composer (who is not a native of their country of origin) in their optional programme.

The optional programme should facilitate the demonstration of the artistic qualities of the choirs in a complex and comprehensive way.

3.3 Time limits of the performances

The time frame (excluding the duration of applause, rearrangement) allowed for the performance of the optional programme in both rounds is as follows:

  • Children's Choirs, Youth Choirs, Equal voices and Vocal Ensembles
    minimum 8 minutes, maximum 10 minutes,
  • Chamber Choirs and Mixed Choirs 
    minimum 10 minutes, maximum 12 minutes
The compulsory piece(s) shall not be considered in the time limits specified above. (See also Jury Regulations, Chapter 2.3)

3.4 Other regulations

3.4.1. The scores of the compulsory pieces shall be sent to the choirs from abroad by mail – in accordance with the number of participants – after their application has been accepted and the registration fee has been received.

3.4.2. We wish to call your attention to copyright responsibilities. Concerning the copyright and publishing rights of the performed works, all responsibility shall rest with the individual choirs. The organizers shall not take any responsibility for any breach of such rights.

3.4.3. The compulsory as well as the optional works must be performed in the original key, with the following exceptions:

  • a different key version written by the composer,
  • the composer's instruction referring to the same effect.

In such cases the jury must be informed previously, and at the same time provided with the composer's instruction and the differing score version.

3.4.4. Compositions performed at the competition must be sung in the original language or in an official translation.

3.4.5. Optional works (movements) from the programme of the semi-final may not be performed again in the finals. If a choir competes in two categories, the optional works (movements) of their choice may not be the same for both categories.

3.4.6. The order of appearance in the competition will be decided by the Organizing Committee by drawing lots.

3.4.7. Changes in the submitted and accepted programme may be implemented not later than 1 March 2018. Such changes should be approved by the Artistic Committee.

3.4.8. Conductors are kindly requested to the careful consideration of the Competition’s choral traditions with a notable past and to refrain from performing pieces that exaggerate the acoustic effects and spectacular elements.

4. Prizes of the Competition


  • 1st  prize - 1.200 €
  • 2nd prize - 1.000 €
  • 3rd  prize -    800 €


  • 1st  prize - 1.400 €
  • 2nd prize - 1.200 €
  • 3rd  prize - 1.000 €


  • 1st  prize - 1.600 €
  • 2nd prize - 1.400 €
  • 3rd prize -  1.200 €
5. Grand Prize of the Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition

The Organizing Committee announces a competition for the
 of the Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition

The amount of the prize: 2.000 €
The conductor of the grand prize winning choir is awarded 500 € as a special prize, at the same time gets invited to the jury of the Béla Bartók 29th International Choir Competition in 2020.

The competition for the Grand Prize is open for choirs earning the first place in their own categories. In case the winner of the given category does not wish to enter the competition or no first prize has been awarded, the choir taking the second place may compete for the Grand Prize. If a choir wins first prizes in several categories, it may enter the competition for the Grand Prize in only one category. In such case it will represent the category it has received a higher score of points.

Choirs are supposed to indicate their intention to enter the contest for the Grand Prize, provided they meet the necessary requirements, when applying for the competition. Official entries for the Grand Prize need to be submitted during the course of the competition, following the announcement of the results (the official announcement of a victory in the given category) in each category. The competition for the Grand Prize is held only if a minimum of three choirs have been entered.

The order of appearance in the competition for the Grand Prize shall be the following:

  • Children's Choir 
  • Youth Choir
  • Equal voices
  • Vocal Ensemble / Chamber Choir
  • Mixed Choir
In the competition for the Grand Prize, a selection of works composed in the 20th and 21st centuries may be performed. The quality and the level of difficulty of the performed pieces must reflect the spirit and traditions of the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition. It is especially desirable to choose pieces written by composers from the turn of the millennium.
Choral works with musical accompaniment may also be performed in the programme for the Grand Prize but with a maximum of five instrumental participants. Only one piece or movement the choir has performed in the general competition may be repeated here with the maximum time limit of 8 minutes at the most. The conductors of eligible choirs wishing to enter the contest for the Grand Prize must receive an approval of their programme from the Artistic Committee. Music scores of the programme shall be submitted in 11 copies.
The net time limit („pure singing time”) for the programme is minimum 12 and maximum 15 minutes.
The winner of the Grand Prize is invited to the Competition for the “European Grand Prix for Choral Singing” held in every year alternately in Arezzo, Debrecen, Maribor, Tolosa, Tours and Varna. This competition is organized for the Grand Prize winners of the six respective choir contests to compete for the European Grand Prix. The Grand Prize winner of the Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition will be invited to the competition for the “European Grand Prix for Choral Music” (EGP) 2019.

6. Special prizes

A special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece may be awarded to one choir for the high-quality and authentic rendering of a piece written after 1st January 2013 as part of their optional programme.
The jury may also award additional prizes offered by cultural or musical institutions and various sponsors.

Besides competition prizes, the jury shall award a certificate to the winning choirs. All choirs participating in the competition shall receive memorial certificates.

7. International Folklore Festival

Applications to appear at the concerts of the folklore festival are welcome from all participating choirs.
Choirs are expected to perform either traditional folk songs in the form of unisono or polyphonic singing, with or without instrumental accompaniment, to demonstrate the living traditions of their respective countries. Modern adaptations of original folk tunes may also be presented.
Performances in national costumes would be greatly appreciated by the audience and the organizers alike.

The net time („pure singing time”) allowed for the presentation is minimum 10 and maximum 12 minutes.

The choirs participating in the folklore festival shall be awarded folklore diplomas by the jury.
8. Concerts in church buildings - Musica Sacra
On the closing day of the competition (Sunday, 8th July 2018), all participating choirs are invited to sing during Church Services or Holy Masses of different religious denominations in Debrecen and its vicinity. Choirs are requested to arrange a programme of ceremonial music containing at least three short compositions.

9. Registration and Application
Applications for the Choir Competition are required to be submitted electronically as well as by mail in two steps:
9.1 Registration

Please indicate your intention to participate at the competition via email at info@bbcc.hu, or at our website: http://www.bbcc.hu/registration.
Besides issuing your request to participate, the registration email should also contain a brief presentation of the choir (no more than 1200 characters).
9.2 Applications

Registered choirs will be informed about their successful registration at the same time will be provided with a detailed guideline on how to arrange and submit their competition material.
To be forwarded:
  • 1 copy of application form per category (If the choir enters several categories separate application forms are required for each additional category).
  • a short introduction about the choir in a publishable quality (ca. 800-1200 characters) in English and Hungarian
  • a list of the names of those arriving (choir members, conductors, escorts)
  • in the case in children's and youth choirs, dates of birth should also be indicated
  • 3 digital photos of 300 dpi about the choir, and 2 digital photos about the conductor(s)
  • the scores of the optional pieces in 5 copies (bound and arranged in the order of performance), with the following data: composer's name, date of birth, year of composition and the pure singing time of the piece
  • a minimum 15-minute-long recording of an a cappella programme of contemporary choral works (all good quality audio formats are accepted) from the last one year of the choir
  • a short description of the contents of the optional pieces in Hungarian and/or in English
Application materials will not be returned to the participants, as they need to be retained for documentary reasons.

Optional appendix:
To promote the competition and the choirs, short, introductory videos are warmly welcome to allow the audience to get to know the participating groups before the competition starts. The promo materials submitted or shared via the internet may introduce the choirs even in an informal, funny way, thus providing the audience with the peculiarities of each ensemble. Why don’t you make use of this promotional opportunity?  The materials of each registered choir will automatically be uploaded on our home page and on our social networking pages

 Application deadline of the Béla Bartók 28th International Choir Competition

30th November 2017

Application material is considered valid and complete when all necessary data and attachments have fully been sent electronically and by mail not later than the application deadline.
The Organizing Committee reserves the right to refuse incomplete or delayed applications.
Béla Bartók International Choir Competition
Főnix Rendezvényszervező Nonprofit Kft.
Hunyadi u. 1-3.
Competition office

E-mail: info@bbcc.hu


+36 20 322 5714 Zsombor Zilinyi Artistic issues
+36 70 933 9914
+36 52 518 441
Tibor Korponai Registration, application
+36 52 518 425 Lívia Lakatos Travel, accommodation, catering

10. Conditions of participations

10.1 Accomodation

10.1.1 Invited choirs
Considering the artistic quality of applications, the choirs to be invited to the contest shall be chosen by the Artistic Committee. The performing members of the invited choirs (numbers as specified under chapter 2), their conductors shall be provided accommodation in Debrecen from the beginning to the end of the competition free of charge by the Organizing Committee.

The service begins on 5th July 2018, 12.00 and ends on 9th July 2018, 10.00 (a.m.).
The invited choirs,
both from abroad and from Hungary, shall be accommodated in youth hostels.

Should any choir wish to stay in a hotel, the difference in price between the youth hostel and the hotel (see below) is to be paid not later than on arrival at the Competition Office. If you prefer hotel accommodation please indicate it in your application.

Expenses of higher quality accommodation:

5* Hotel - single room 105 €/person/day
5* Hotel - double room 70 €/person/day
4* Hotel - single room 75 €/person/day
4* Hotel - double room 66 €/person/day
3* Superior Hotel - single room 63 €/person/day
3* Superior Hotel - double room 40 €/person/day
3* Hotel - single room 45 €/person/day
3* Hotel - double room 37 €/person/day
Breakfast and taxes are included.

The accommodation of higher quality and any other additional services booked can only be modified or cancelled free of charge by 5th June 2018 at the latest. If modified or cancelled later, the additional charges resulting from the modification are to be paid.

10.1.2 Choirs with no invitation, escorts, and folklore festival only

Choirs of sufficient artistic quality – attested by the Artistic Committee - wishing to participate in the contest, but not invited at the expense of the organizer, shall have to pay a reduced accommodation fee.

The same practice applies to the escorts accompanying the choirs and to those ensembles who wish to participate solely in the folklore festival.

Reduced accommodation prices:

5* Hotel - single room 115 €/person/day
5* Hotel - double room 77 €/person/day
4* Hotel - single room 83 €/person/day
3* Hotel - single room 50 €/person/day
3* Hotel - double room 41 €/person/day
Youth Hostel, rooms with 3 - 4 bed 30 €/person/day
Breakfast (excluding youth hostels!) and taxes are included.

10.2 Meals

10.2.1 Invited Choirs
The performing members of the invited choirs (numbers as specified under chapter 2), their conductors shall be provided half-board catering (breakfast and dinner) in Debrecen from the beginning to the end of the competition free of charge by the Organizing Committee.
The service begins on 5th July 2018 with dinner and ends on 9th July 2018 with breakfast.

Full board may be requested – at the choir's own expense – whose difference in price is to be paid not later than on arrival at the Competition Office. Further information on requesting full board please inquire at the competition office personally.

Request for the extra meals can only be modified or cancelled free of charge by June 5th 2018 at the latest. If modified or cancelled later the additional charges resulting from the modification are to be paid.

10.2.2 Choirs with no invitation, escorts, and folklore festival only
Visitors belonging to this group may request half-board (breakfast and dinner) catering at 16€ /person/day. For further information regarding other fees of additional catering, please contact the Competition Office.

Any prices published in this announcement are only for information and liable to change. However, if any such change should occur, participants shall be notified directly.

10.3 Registration fee

After receiving a confirmation of acceptance of the application for the competition, invited choirs are requested to transact the registration fee within a period of 15 days to the following address:

Name and address of bank: OTP Bank Nyrt.  4025 Debrecen, Pásti u. 1-3.
IBAN: HU17 1176 3385 2498 3882 0000 0000
In the comment box, please write the following: " Registration fee for the Béla Bartók Choir Competition"
Account holder: Főnix Rendezvényszervező Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft. (H–4026 Debrecen, Hunyadi u. 1-3.)

Registration fee depends on the number of the competing choir members, it is 15€ per person, which has to be paid after each performing choir member and the conductor(s).

Minimum amount of the registration fee is 350€ per choir, and Vocal ensemble is 250€/ ensemble.
Participants sending their application material by 30th September 2017 at the latest are offered a special early registration fee of 10€ per person by the Organizing Committee with a Minimum amount of 250€ per choir.

Transaction costs are paid by the sender. A (photo) copy of the proof of transaction and the precise invoicing address should be sent to the Competition Office once the transaction has been completed.  In case of withdrawal, registration fees will not be refunded.
In case of any difficulty in transacting the registration fee, choirs are expected to contact the Competition Office.

 10.4 Travelling

Travelling expenses to and from Debrecen shall be covered by the choirs. Upon request, the organizers may assist with issues regarding travelling. During the competition all means of travelling for the choirs –in Debrecen and to venues of concerts outside Debrecen –is arranged by the organizers.

10.5 Miscellaneous conditions

Choirs may be requested to give additional concerts by the Organizing Committee. Choirs may not charge for these occasions or any other individual performances, including radio and television broadcasts as well as film and sound recordings made during the competition, at the same time they relinquish all their performance rights.

Choirs that have qualified from the semi-final but fail to participate in the final due to any fault of their own shall refund all expenses incurred.

Debrecen, 20th April 2017.

Szabolcs Komolay
President of the Competition