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PREVIEW | The Philippine Madrigal Singers Bring IntenSIXTY To Toronto

By Anya Wassenberg on May 15, 2024

The Philippine Madrigal Singers (Photo courtesy of the artists)
The Philippine Madrigal Singers (Photo courtesy of the artists)

The Philippine Madrigal Singers are on a tour that is taking them across Canada from west to east from April through July 2024. They’ll hit Toronto on May 26, presented by, and in concert with, Babεl Chorus.

Founded in 2018 by Dr. Elaine Choi, the Babεl Chorus uses choral music to build intercultural connections. The choir performs Canadian and Chinese repertoire, and has toured Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei, along with working with schools and other local choirs.

IntenSIXTY: The Philippine Madrigal Singers’ 60th Anniversary Celebration

The University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers, aka Philippine Madrigal Singers, known affectionately The Madz, were founded by Prof. Andrea O. Veneracion, Philippine National Artist, as their founder and first choirmaster. It began simply back in 1963, with friends and colleagues who gathered at the University of Philippines College of Music to sightread madrigals for fun during off hours.

As the choir and its reputation grew, they began to tour, and today travel internationally twice a year. This will be their first Canadian appearances in decades, a tour that celebrates their 60th year, as well as commemorating 75 years of Philippine-Canada diplomatic relations.

Mark Anthony Carpio became the second choirmaster of the Madz in 2001, continuing its traditions of choral excellence and innovation, along with representing the Philippines internationally as cultural ambassadors.

They have competed in many of the world’s preeminent competitions for choirs, and taken home the top prize several times, including the Grand Prix in the 2016 Concurso Internazionale di Guido d’ Arezzo inArezzo, Italy. The Madz made history as the first choir in the world to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing twice in both 1997 and 2007, and as the first Asian choir to earn the BrandLaureate Premiere Award by the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation (2012).

The Philippine Madrigal Singers were named as Artists for Peace by UNESCO in 2009, for “putting fame and influence at the service of UNESCO’s ideals and efforts to promote cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue, and a culture of peace.”

The Madz sing in a semi-circle, without a conductor, and have stuck to their musical roots in specializing in polyphonic madrigals, a type of song that was popular during the Renaissance in Europe. Their expanded repertoire also includes a wide variety of music, such as Filipino and international folksongs, contemporary and avant-garde music, opera, and pop music.

It’s a rare opportunity to hear them performing in the city.

  • Details and tickets for the May 26 concert at the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church [HERE]. Find information on all their remaining tour dates [HERE].

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