Carmina Slovenica


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Carmina Slovenica
Partizanska cesta 12, SI-2000 Maribor
Phone386 (0) 2 251 2215
Fax386 (0) 2 252 5224
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Karmina Šilec, Artistic Director
Phone386 (0) 41 695 112
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Minja Lednik, Organiser
Phone386 (0) 31 652 662
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Past Events

Best known for being a highly innovative and widely acclaimed "vocal theatre" ensemble, Carmina Slovenica also stands for a production house that deals with festival and concert organisation, musical education and publishing, and other related projects. Most of these activities are led or conceptualised by Karmina Šilec, the artistic director and conductor of the main Carmina Slovenica ensembles, distinctive for intertwining choral music with theatrical and other performing elements.

Straddling the fields of "classical", "ethnic", and "avant-garde" musics, Carmina Slovenica's complex multi-media events have premièred at numerous prestigious theatres and concert halls all over the world. The ensembles, as well as Karmina herself, have received a number of international awards for their artistic prowess.

Carmina Slovenica 2004 Adiemus.jpg



The predecessor of Carmina Slovenica is the Maribor Youth Choir, led by the legendary conductor Branko Rajšter (1930–1989). Active since 1964, it regularly toured around Europe and won numerous youth choir competitions abroad. The Maribor Youth Choir was awarded the BBC Radio Award and even received the Prešeren Foundation Award, being the first choir ever to be honoured this way.

Karmina Šilec became Rajšter's successor in 1989 and the choir continued its illustrious journey. It was renamed into Carmina Slovenica in 1997, when it was also formally registered as a cultural institute.


The main ensembles of CS are the Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica, the Carmina Slovenica Concert Choir, and the Ensemble ¡Kebataola!. The latter explores works from the 9th century alongside contemporary ones and often utilises chants, songs, and arrangements of various folk tunes. In a way characteristic for the work of Karmina Šilec (who leads all three ensembles), ¡Kebataola! integrates electronics, video, visual arts, and literature, juxtaposing contrasting elements from both ancient and contemporary musics.

CS's choral school activities feature two children choirs (both of which also transcend the boundaries of regular choir performing) and vocal soloists. In addition, CS also organises regular stand-alone workshops, seminars, and lectures. Other CS activities include the International Choregie Festival, the Attacca Festival, the Attaca concert cycle and residence programme, the CStudio exhibition ground, and a publishing programme (featuring almost 20 music releases, a number of DVDs of their performances and also a few books).

Karmina Šilec

Though primarily a choir conductor and artistic director, Karmina Šilec has for many years been researching new artistic approaches that radically expand the established conception of "chorality". She has been developing these practices under the concept of Choregie.

Otherwise, she was also the conductor for the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra performance with the Carmina Slovenica and collaborated with the Slovene National Theatre Maribor Opera and Ballet Choir. For several years she was also a professor for choral conducting at the University of Maribor (Slovenia). As a jury member she has judged more than 50 competitions worldwide. She is also a member of several artistic committees and often invited to lecture on music and theatre. She is the director of the Vocal School Carmina Slovenica.

She has received more than 20 of the highest international awards and special recognitions, among them the award from the ITI – International Theatre Institute "Music Theatre Now" in the category Music beyond Opera, and the prestigious International Robert Edler Prize for Choral Music for her exceptional contribution to the world choir movement.

Carmina Slovenica Karmina Šilec.jpg


The word choregie is rooted in Ancient Greek, and the concept itself also draws from Greek tragedy and the role of the choir in it. Additionally, it implies the merging of the terms choir and choreography. It represents two fields – the artistic principle of vocal theatre stage projects and a specific method of working with ensembles, developed by Karmina Šilec. It should be noted that in many of her stage projects, she is also the stage director, set designer, and choreographer.

Carmina Slovenica Vocal Theatre

Being the central part of Karmina Šilec's work, this genre-blurring ensemble is involved in the most ambitious, complex, and persuasive stage projects of Carmina Slovenica. Its materials range from early music scripts and ritual chants to the latest avant-garde, all performed with a top notch vocal execution. It has received the Prešeren Award and many of the highest awards at international choral competitions.

Carmina Slovenica's recent stage productions include Fortuna Won't Be Fauvel's Match, Toxic Psalms, When the Mountain Changed its Clothing, Perspective East, Scivias, Vampirabile, Slovene Sounds, Adiemus, and From Immemorial Times. All of these award-winning productions were performed at many international festivals and broadcast by EBU and Eurovision.

International performances

Carmina Slovenica has performed on concert stages worldwide, from Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Grand St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall, Esplanade Singapore, Teresa Carreño Theatre Caracas, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, RadialSystem Berlin, San Francisco Symphony Hall to Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Jahrhuderthalle Bochum, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, and Auditorium Rome.

In addition, the choir has presented its programmes at important international music festivals such as the World Music Days, the World Symposium on Choral Music, the European Symposium on Choral Music (all three organised by the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM)), the Eastern Festival in Moscow, the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, the Polyfollia, the America Cantat, the Choir Olympics, the Europa Cantat, the Prototype Festival in New York, Festival d'Automne á Paris, the KunstFestSpiele Herrenhausen, the Ruhrtriennale, the Lublin Theatre Confrontation Festival, the Melbourne Festival, and the International Festival Beijing.

Carmina Slovenica was also the first female ensemble, other than the choir of the Sistine Chapel, to sing at a ceremony of the Pope in St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.


In 2016, the music theatre production When the Mountain Changed its Clothing, created in collaboration with Heiner Goebbels, was recognised as the Golden Mask Winner in the nomination "The Best Foreign Production Presented in Russia in 2015".

Some of the other victories include one for the most outstanding choir at the European Music Festival for Young People (BE), the Golden Gate International Children's and Youth Choral Festival (US), the Des Moines International Children's Choir Festival (US), the International Youth Choir Festival Kalundborg (DK) (where they received the maximum number of points), and the International Choral Kathaumixw (CA). They have been awarded a Ford Motor Conservation and Environmental Grant and the Silver Order of Service of Republic of Slovenia for "extraordinary contribution to the Slovenian and international music culture".

See also

External links


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