Let the Peoples Sing

Let the Peoples Sing (known until 1964 as Let the People Sing) is an international choral competition currently organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The final, encompassing three categories and around ten choirs, is offered as a live broadcast to all EBU members. The Silver Rose Bowl is awarded to the best choir in the competition.

Let the Peoples Sing
Let the Peoples Sing 2019.jpeg
Logo for the 2019 edition held in Barcelona
Awarded forSinging
Sponsored byEuropean Choral Association
LocationVarious (in 2019, Palau de la Música Catalana)
CountryVarious (in 2019, Spain)
Presented byVarious national broadcasters (in 2019, Catalunya Ràdio)
Formerly calledLet the People Sing
Reward(s)The Silver Rose Bowl
First awarded1961; 61 years ago (1961)
WinnerBarbaros in 2019
WebsiteLet the Peoples Sing
Television/radio coverage
NetworkEurovision and Euroradio


The competition was first organised by BBC Radio in 1957, originally as a national contest for amateur British choirs under the title Let the People Sing, and ran until 1982 as a weekly series each year.[1] The final round of the first competition was broadcast in the Light Programme on 23 April 1957 and was followed four days later by a special concert relayed from the Royal Albert Hall.[2] In the two subsequent years (1958–59) the final concert was held at the Royal Festival Hall.[3][4] The contest also led to new choral works being commissioned.

In 1965 the annual competition became an international one, with participation extended to include choirs from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden.[5] It was further extended in the 1970s with entrants also coming from other countries with radio networks belonging to the EBU, each of the networks organising the national qualifying rounds leading to the international finals. Broadcasters submitted tapes of the choirs which they entered, and these were then listened to and evaluated by the professional jury who decided the winners in each category. There was no broadcast of the entire competition at this time. In 1993, the Euroradio-networked choral competition moved to a biennial schedule,[6] held in the autumn of odd-numbered years. In 1995, at the initiative of Danish Radio, it was decided that while recordings would continue to be used for the preliminary rounds, however the finals should be hosted as a live radio event. These were broadcast via the Union's Euroradio satellite network, with the choirs performing in their home cities to listeners across Europe and to the jury. Since 2001, the finalists have been invited to perform at a concert by the host broadcaster. The competition has become more or less a festival with many more concerts and a supporting workshop program.

After the 1982 competition, the BBC ceased broadcasting the national selection and international heats, and for a number of years aired only the final round. The BBC had hosted the international finals since its inception. In 1983, German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (as part of the national consortium ARD) hosted the final round, they were later joined as host by Finnish broadcaster Yle from 1987; both took over the organisation of the competition held on an alternating basis in Cologne and Helsinki respectively.[7][8] The 1991 competition finals was the last to be held in Finland until 2017.[9]

In 1984, BBC Two broadcast a new national competition in association with Sainsbury's supermarket; Choir of the Year ran every two years until 2002,[10] however after Sainsbury's sponsorship ended that year,[11] it was taken over by BBC Radio 3 (supported by Arts Council England and Sing Up) in 2005[12] where it continued until 2016.[13] BBC Four aired highlights of the final.[14] The winning choir often proceeded to represent the UK at the international Let the Peoples Sing competition.

Since the late 1990s, Radio 3's broadcast of Let the Peoples Sing has moved away from the main evening concert (except when hosting in 2011), towards coverage in specific choral programmes such as Performance on 3 (1999, 2003), Choirworks (2001–03), Choir and Organ (2007–2011), The Choir (2009, 2013–15) and since 2017, Through the Night.[15] BBC Radio 3 hosted the 2001 and 2003 competitions live from the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in London[16][17] and the 2011 edition was staged at the new MediaCityUK studios in Salford, Greater Manchester.[18]

In 2019, the competition took place in Spain for the first time and was hosted by Catalunya Ràdio, at the 2,049-seat Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona on 13 October. The previous competition, hosted by Finnish broadcaster Yle, took place at the Helsinki Music Centre on 15 October 2017.[19] German radio station BR-Klassik hosted the 2015 edition in Munich at the Funkhaus studios.[20] Luxembourg’s Philharmonic Hall was the host venue in 2013.[21]

In November 2021, the 60th anniversary was celebrated with the BBC Singers performing a dedicated concert at St Peter's Church, Eaton Square, in London that was later broadacst by BBC Radio 3 and many other EBU radio stations.[22][23]


The competition has three categories, with a winner selected in each category in addition to the overall winner of the Silver Rose Bowl.

  • Children and Youth (no members over age 25)
  • Adult (any age)
  • Open, for choruses who perform music of particular cultural traditions or styles (e.g. folksong, gospel, barbershop, jazz, traditional music, etc.)

List of winnersEdit

By competitionEdit

Let the Peoples Sing – Winners of the Silver Rose Bowl (since 1961)[24]
Year Choir Chorus Master Country of Origin Host city
1961 Glasgow Phoenix Choir Peter Mooney   Scotland   London
1962 Barrhead Philomen Singers Mina Forrest   Scotland
1963 Orpington Junior Singers Sheila Mossman MBE   England
1964 Redhill Madrigal Singers Joyce Hooper   England
1965 Glasgow Phoenix Choir Peter Mooney   Scotland
1966 Orphei Drängar Eric Ericson   Sweden
1967 Orphei Drängar Eric Ericson   Sweden
1968 Rodna Pessen Michel Milkov   Bulgaria
1969 Mariakören Västerås Bror Samuelsson   Sweden
1970 Louis Halsey Singers Louis Halsey   England
1971 Tapiolan Yhteiskoulun Kuoro Erkki Pohjola   Finland
1972 NRK Jentekor Marie Foss   Norway
1973 Gara Iskar Cultural Center Chorus   Bulgaria
Ifjúsági Egyetemi Chorus   Hungary
1974 ELTE Béla Bartók Chorus László Kovács   Hungary
1975 NRK Jentekor Marie Foss   Norway
1976 Ontario Youth Choir Jon Washburn   Canada
1977 Veszprém Város Vegyeskara István Zámbó   Hungary
1978 Franz Liszt Chamber Chorus   Hungary
1979 Exeter College Choir   England
Marktoberdorf Large Chamber Choir   West Germany
1980 Candomino Tauno Satomaa   Finland
Váci Vox Humana József Maklári   Hungary
1981 NRK Studio Chorus Marie Foss   Norway
1982 Stockholm Motet Choir Per Borin   Sweden
1983 "Julia Banyai" Elementary School Choir Katalin Weiser-Kiss   Hungary   Cologne
1984 Frankfurt Chamber Chorus Hans Michael Beuerle   West Germany
1985 Bergen Cathedral Choir Magnar Mangersnes   Norway
1986 Gösta Ohlin Vocal Ensemble Gösta Ohlin   Sweden
1987 Chamber Chorus of the Franz Liszt Music Academy, Weimar Gerd Frischmuth   East Germany   Helsinki
Hollabrunn Chamber Chorus Herbert Böck   Austria
1988 Bergen Cathedral Choir Magnar Mangersnes   Norway   Cologne
1989 Phoenix Chamber Choir Cortland Hultberg   Canada   Helsinki
1990 Jubilate Astrid Riska   Finland   Cologne
Konzertchor Darmstadt Wolfgang Seeliger   West Germany
1991 Balsis Māris Kupčs and Kaspars Putniņš   Latvia   Helsinki[9]
1992 New Zealand National Youth Choir Karen Grylls   New Zealand   Cologne[25]
1993 Universitetskoret Lille MUKO Jesper Grove Jørgensen   Denmark   Vancouver
1995 Det Norske Solistkor Grete Helgerud   Norway   Manchester[26]
1997 Det Jyske Kammerkor Mogens Dahl   Denmark   Brussels[27]
1999 Embla Norunn Illevold Giske   Norway   Budapest[28]
2001 Choir of the Latvian Music Academy Arvīds Platpers   Latvia   London
2003 Pro Musica Dénes Szabó   Hungary
2005 Children's Chorus of the Tallinn Music High School Ingrid Kõrvits   Estonia   Cologne[29]
2007 Schola Cantorum Tone Bianca Dahl   Norway   Wuppertal[30]
2009 Girls' Choir of the Classical Diocesan Gymnasium Helena Fojkar Zupančič   Slovenia   Oslo[31]
2011 The Swedish Chamber Choir Simon Phipps   Sweden   Salford[32]
2013 Cor Infantil Amics de la Unió de Granollers Josep Vila i Jover   Spain   Luxembourg City[33][34]
2015 Aarhus Girls' Choir Helle Høyer Vedel   Denmark   Munich
2017 Collegium Musicale Endrik Üksvärav   Estonia   Helsinki
2019 Barbaros Jonas Rasmussen   Denmark   Barcelona

In 1973, 1979, 1980, 1987, and 1990 the Silver Rose Bowl was awarded ex aequo.

In 2015 the Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC) became the first American choir to place first in the competition's history of 54 years. After Sunday's competition performances among YPC, the Aarhus Girls' Choir from Denmark and the Romanian Radio Children's Choir, the judges named the Danish choir the winner. However, on Monday morning, the judges rethought their initial decision and determined that the American chorus should tie with the Danish choir for first place in the Children's and Youth category. However, the Aarhus Girls' Choir ultimately prevailed in the finals of the competition.[35]

By countryEdit

The table below shows the years that a country won the Silver Rose Bowl.

Country Wins Years won
  Norway 8
  • 1972
  • 1975
  • 1981
  • 1985
  • 1988
  • 1995
  • 1999
  • 2007
  Hungary 7
  • 1973
  • 1974
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1980
  • 1983
  • 2003
  Sweden 6
  • 1966
  • 1967
  • 1969
  • 1982
  • 1986
  • 2011
  England 4
  • 1963
  • 1964
  • 1970
  • 1979
  Germany 4
  • 1979
  • 1984
  • 1987
  • 1990
  Denmark 4
  • 1993
  • 1997
  • 2015
  • 2019
  Scotland 3
  • 1961
  • 1962
  • 1965
  Finland 3
  • 1971
  • 1980
  • 1990
  Bulgaria 2
  • 1968
  • 1973
  Canada 2
  • 1976
  • 1989
  Latvia 2
  • 1991
  • 2001
  Estonia 2
  • 2005
  • 2017
  Austria 1
  • 1987
  New Zealand 1
  • 1992
  Slovenia 1
  • 2009
  Spain 1
  • 2013

Years in italics indicate joint wins (ex aequo)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Let the Peoples Sing - UKGameshows". www.ukgameshows.com.
  2. ^ "Light Programme Choral Event 1957: Let The People Sing". 23 April 1957. p. 37 – via BBC Genome.
  3. ^ "BBC Home Service Basic - 23 February 1959 - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Let the People Sing". 31 January 1958. p. 46 – via BBC Genome.
  5. ^ "Let the Peoples Sing". 29 May 1965. p. 12 – via BBC Genome.
  6. ^ "VIDEOTIEŠRAIDE! Konkursa "Let the Peoples Sing 2017" Fināls Helsinku "Musiikkitalo"". klasika.lsm.lv.
  7. ^ "EBU.CH :: LTPS History". 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Chronik der ARD | Internationaler Chorwettbewerb". web.ard.de.
  9. ^ a b "Let the Peoples Sing -kilpailu Helsingin Musiikkitalossa". yle.fi.
  10. ^ "Belfast choir wins top accolade". 18 November 2002 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  11. ^ Maddocks, Fiona (5 December 2010). "Choir of the Year 2010 – review" – via www.theguardian.com.
  12. ^ "BBC - Press Office - Radio 3 highlights Jan to Jun 2005 classical music". www.bbc.co.uk.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 3 - Radio 3 in Concert, Choir of the Year 2016". BBC.
  14. ^ "BBC Four - Choir of the Year". BBC.
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 3 - Through the Night, Let The Peoples Sing 2017 semi-finals (1/2)". BBC.
  16. ^ "BBC Programme Index". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  17. ^ "BBC Programme Index". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  18. ^ "BBC Radio 3 - Let the Peoples Sing 2011, Part 1". BBC.
  19. ^ "YourClassical from American Public Media". www.yourclassical.org. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Let the Peoples Sing: Auszeichnung für den Aarhus Pigekor - BR-Klassik". www.br-klassik.de. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Spanish Choir Wins 'Let The Peoples Sing' Competition 2013 In Luxembourg". Pizzicato. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  22. ^ "The Gift to Sing: 60 Years of 'Let The Peoples Sing'". BBC Music Events. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 3 - Radio 3 in Concert, The gift to sing: 60 years of Let the Peoples Sing". BBC. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Winners of the Let the Peoples Sing Silver Rose Bowl" (PDF). Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Choir pays way around world". 30 June 2000. Retrieved 20 October 2019 – via www.nzherald.co.nz.
  26. ^ "Let the Peoples Sing 1995". 23 October 1995. p. 126 – via BBC Genome.
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2005. Retrieved 10 October 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Performance on 3 Let the People Sing". 8 November 1999. p. 134 – via BBC Genome.
  29. ^ "YOUTH CHOIR OF TALLINN MUSIC HIGH SCHOOL Sacred choral works from all over the world". patmosfestival.gr.
  30. ^ "Junges Vokalensemble Hannover - Ereignisse". www.vokalensemble-hannover.de.
  31. ^ Bratt, Anne Christine (19 January 2009). "Finalists Let the Peoples Sing". NRK.
  32. ^ "Wellensian Consort perform in Let the Peoples Sing". 15 October 2011.
  33. ^ Union (EBU), European Broadcasting (14 October 2013). "Let the Peoples Sing: Winning performances". www.ebu.ch.
  34. ^ "Let the Peoples Sing". Philharmonie Luxembourg.
  35. ^ Newhouse, Brian. "Better late than never: New York choir to share choral laurels with Denmark singers". www.classicalmpr.org.

External linksEdit