St Peder’s Concert Choir
St Peder’s Concert Choir is a choir with high musical ambitions.
The choir is based in Randers, Denmark, and was established in 1980 by Karsten Blond. The choir comprises approx. 30-40 well-trained singers.
The choir’s repertoire is primarily contemporary scandinavian choral music.
St Peder’s Concert Choir performs at concerts throughout Denmark and tours regularly. St Peder’s Concert Choir participates in choral competitions at high level and has won a number of international prizes.
St Peder’s Concert Choir consists of 30-40 singers, who share an ambition to create music of top quality.
We are quite catholic in our choice of musical works, but at the heart of our repertoire lies the contemporary choral music of Scandinavia. For instance, we sing – among others – works of: Vagn Holmboe, Niels la Cour, John Høybye, Knut Nystedt, Sulo Salonen.
The choir has over the years given many concerts in Denmark and abroad, performed on the radio og TV and sung a number of major works with orchestral accompaniment.
Since august 2014 Brian Stenger Poulsen has conducted the St Peder’s Concert Choir. Brian who is also the assistant organist at St Peder’s Church, has trained the choir since 2008 as a voicecoach.
Since 1988 St Peder’s Concert Choir has regularly taken part in international choral competitions and festivals with great success. Of particular note, the choir won 1st prize in the mixed choir category in 1992 and 1996 at the renowned -and demanding- international Béla Bartók Choral Competition in Debrecen, Hungary, and their 1st and Grand Prix in Ventspils, Lithuania, in 1994. In 1999 the choir acheived the title ‘Category Winner’ and Gold Diploma at the first international Choral Competition in Wernigerode, Germany. At the Bohuslav Martinu Festival in Pardubice, in the Czech Republic in 2003, the choir won two gold diplomas, a category 1st place, and a special prize for their performance of Geoffrey Poole’s “Wymondham Choruses”.
We took part in the competition ‘Tonen 2000’ in Poeldijk, Holland in 2008. In 2010 the choir participated in the 13th ‘Concorso Corale’ in Riva Del Garda, Italy, and won a gold diploma. Most recently in 2012, the choir won a gold diploma at the ‘Canti veris Praga’ in Prague.
Recently, we have in 2014 won second prize at the renowned and demanding international Béla Bartók Choir Competition in Debrecen, Hungary, as well as a special prize for best performance by János Vajda Alleluja.
The choir has released several CDs. This is a summary of St Peder’s Concert Choir recordings.
Scandinavian Church Music in Randers
By Klaus Lyngbye, organistblat.
Scandinavian choral music. St Peder’s Youth Choir and St Peder’s Concert Choir, Randers, Brian Stenger Poulsen, conductor and Karsten Blond, conductor and organist. Works by Hugo Alfvén, Knut Nystedt, Sparre Olsen, Bo Holten, Bernhard Lewkovitch, Jesper Madsen, Niels la Cour, Brian Stenger Poulsen and Ola Gjeilo. The CD is recorded and produced by Viggo Mangor for Paula in the spring of 2013. PAULA PACD175
Tradition for choral singing can lead to great things. And a long tradition can lead to even greater. Such a tradition may be said to exist at St Peders Church in Randers, where Karsten Blond has spent his long productive career as the inspiration behind an exemplary tradition of excellence in choral singing, which not only raises the quality of church services, but also gives greater possibilities for concerts.
A focus on lifting the standard of the religious choral repertoire contributes to a heightened respect in the locality for the church and its activities. It is also a stage in the musical education of many talented young singers, who in the process, may be said to receive a vaccination which lasts for the rest of their lives.
As they have shown on their previous CDs with works of the composers Holmboe and Nystedt, and their Christmas CD, Scandinavian Church Music is fine evidence of this continuing tradition. As the title suggests, the CD presents scandinavian choral music, though the majority of the pieces originate from Denmark and Norway. Hugo Alfvén represents Sweden with a single track
The participating choirs are St Peter’s Church Concert Choir and its Youth Choir, both conducted by Karsten Blond, who also plays organ works by Jesper Madsen and Knut Nystedt.
With the exception of Alfvén, the music chosen spans over a period from 1952 to 2006, as works by Nystedt and Lewkovitch take up most playing time. Bernhard Lewkovitch is represented by his Mass op. 10 with all 5 sections, tunefull and particularly suitable church music, ”a largely overlooked work, is a testimony to the composer’s abilities to find an integrated, personal musical expression, an individual voice of nuances and contrasts which is nonetheless inspired by influences from contemporary music”. The style can be recognised from his op. 11, the three motets, with its intense use of cross stands and changing rhythms.
Knut Nystedt provides both the Concert Choir and the Youth Choir with some of his increasingly classical motets, where ‘Søk Herren’ for the Youth Choir in particular hits the target, just as Niels la Cours’ ‘Prayer of Francis of Assisi’ does. Jesper Madsens final composition is included the prize-winning ‘Perikope’ for youth choir and organ, together with Bo Holten’s ‘Haec Dies’. It was interesting to become acquainted with the norwegian Sparre Olsen’s (1903-1984) euphonious pieces, as well as Brian Stenger Poulsen’s (f.1970) and Ola Gjeilo’s (f.1978) contemporary works.
In the accompanying booklet one can read that the choirs have over the years participated in many national and international competitions and won many prizes. I’m not surprised. The performance is of high quality, with precise intonation, fine balance, good dynamics and audible text. Hopefully, this CD will inspire colleagues and their choirs in the future. It deserves to.
Choral music in weightless beauty
by Monica Papazu, firstname.lastname@example.org. Randers Amtsavis, 05.03.2012
REVIEW: A week ago, St Peder’s Concert Choir returned home from an international choir competition in Prague, where they won a gold diploma and 1st place in their category. This elite choir, conducted by Karsten Blond, has in the process added yet another trophy to the long line of national and international prizes, which has been the crowning acheivement of their work over the years.
Last Saturday, together with St Peders Youth Choir, the Concert Choir performed the same programme they had used in Prague for a large audience in their home church. The concert also marked the end of Korby Randers Week.
Even though every concert by St Peder’s choirs are of the highest quality, this concert was exceptionally good. The music was infused with a sublime perfection.
With each moment in time so full of impressions, it felt as if time stood still. Purity, precision, perfection and fervour – everything was in place.
At the same time, the concert was an introduction to the mysteries of sound. The pure, wonderful sound that opens up a whole world. That the sound revealed itself in this way was also due to the pieces chosen.
The program consisted, with the exception of two older pieces, which blended well with the others ( T. L. Vittoria from the 16th century and C. E. b. Weyse, from the Danish Late romantics), of newer church music which is characteristic of St Peders Choir’s repertoire: The Norwegian Knut Nystedt ( b. 1915), Niels La Cour ( b. 1944), Bernhard Lewkovitch ( b. 1927) and Ola Gjeilo (a very talented young Norwegian) and central europeans: Zoltán Kodály (d. 1967) from Hungary and Zdenek Lukas ( d. 2007) from the Czech Republic.
In common with them all is a minimalistic expression rooted in Gregorian chant, a concentration towards attaining a pure tone, movement in small intervals, even the smallest of which is expressive and seems to encapsulate all of the mysteries of music. Some of the most beautiful church music there is.
And it was indeed church music -a song which carries its words and creates the invisible aura of the words’ meaning, lifting the spirit in prayer to meet a beauty which is not of this world.
In Prag and Randers alike, this music strikes a chord deep in peoples’ hearts.
DOKS-magazine, May 2011
The choir sang phenomenally well, sublime and with spirit – a pleasure to the eye (!), ear, soul and mind. The program was taken from relatively recent times, with Herbert Howells (who was born in 1882) as the most senior composer and Ola Geilo (born 1978) as the youngest. In particular, Pooles ‘Ave, Rex, Angelorum – Tutivillus’ brought a grin to people’s faces, as it also required certain acting skills.
Brian Stenger Poulsen (conductor 2014 – )
Brian Stenger Poulsen trained General Music Teacher and classical singer at the Royal Academy of Music in 1998 and 2004, and PO by Vestervig Church Music School in 2013, he was in 2008 appointed organist at St. Peter’s Church. With its broad educational background and his experience, he can continue and further develop the Concert Choir, so it can maintain its place as an internationally recognized choir.
Karsten Blond (conductor 1980 – 2014)
Karsten Blond (b. 1944) has been organist and cantor at St Peders Church in Randers since 1974. He graduated from The Jutland Music Conservatory in 1973.
Karsten has since supplemented his education with courses in direction and received several prizes in conducting.
Karsten has successfully created a musical ‘food chain’, from which he harvests talented singers for the concert choir. This process, together with Karsten’s musicality forms the basis for the choir’s high quality of musical performance.
Contact and booking
To book the choir, please contact either our director or chairman:
Kasper Christiansen Wittrup Laursen
Nyvangsvej 29, 1 th.,
8920 Randers NV
St Peder’s Concert Choir
St Peders Hus
SE-nr: 32 11 14 40