Aarhus Pigekor (Aarhus Girls’ Choir) is associated with Aarhus Musikskole (Aarhus Music School) and consists of 30-40 singers between the ages of 16 to 25.
The history of the choir dates back to the 1940s, under a different name, though. But in 2002 the choir got its present name while and at the same time the musical ambitions increased. The choir primarily has a classical repertoire and has rehearsed and performed choir works of e.g. Vivaldi, Mozart, Fauré, Mendelssohn and Britten. The choir often sings newer works of composers like Per Nørgård, Peter Bruun, Knut Nystedt, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi and many others.
Within the field of rhythmic music, the choir has worked with music of e.g. the jazz pianists Jørgen Emborg and Søren Møller. Most often it sings a cappella but it also enjoys working together with musicians and other choirs, Aarhus Symfoniorkester (Aarhus Symphony Orchestra), Den Jyske Opera (Danish National Opera), Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Danish and foreign choirs.
Aarhus Pigekor sings several concerts during the year in churches in Aarhus as well as in many other towns in Denmark. Aarhus Pigekor is part of Sangkraft Aarhus (an organisation which both promotes singing within the wide population and supports the growth of the elite). The conductor of the choir is Birgitte Næslund Madsen.
The choir is for girls between the ages of 16 to 23. To join the choir, the girls must be skilled choristers, have good, healthy voices and be willing to invest quite some time in the choir. Many of the girls also play an instrument and read music. This is not a requirement, though. At the beginning of each new season, it is possible for new singers to join the choir after an audition with the conductor.
Many of the girls choose to have a career within the field of music either as a music teacher or as professional singers or musicians. Singing in the choir prepares the girls for working seriously and focussed with music and it teaches them to work professionally with their artistic expression.
Rehearsals and Practice
There is one common rehearsal a week and every other week the girls practice with their individual voice groups and they practice at home via study recordings found on the choir homepage. At the rehearsals the work focusses on voice care/technique, sound egality and interpretation. Furthermore, the girls receive aural training and learn about the musical history related to the music which is currently on the program. Finally, a singing teacher works with the girls individually, in pairs or smaller groups for shorter or longer periods of time. Recently the choir has started getting physical choir training and choreography training by the Dutch dancer and choreographer Panda van Proosdij. This takes place in workshops three to four times a year.
During the season and especially in the weeks before the concerts, the girls memorises the entire repertoire.
Attendance to all rehearsals and concerts is mandatory and the girls are also expected to be committed to all other choir activities such as singing in the practice choir for coming conductors and socialising with other choirs during exchange events etc.
The musical activities of the choir consist of secular as well as sacred concerts in Denmark, cooperation with Den Jyske Opera, Aarhus Symfoniorkester, Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, visits by Danish and foreign choirs, including accommodation, friendship concerts, participation in the activities of Aarhus Musikskole, cd-recording and workshops.
Aarhus Pigekor has the ambition to regularly go abroad on a tour or to participate in international festivals and competitions. These experiences motivate and develop the singers because when they participate in competitions or visit elite choirs in other parts of the world they are challenged on their singing skills and level. The girls also find inspiration when they get acquainted with other choral traditions. A positive side effect of the traveling is that it stimulates and strengthens the girls’ inclination to make an effort. The choir has visited Hungary, South Africa, China, Argentine, Canada, The USA, Latvia, The Netherlands and, most recently, Finland.