Ever since it was established in 1997, the ground-breaking Festival of Vocal Music a cappella in Leipzig has been one of the foremost festivals for vocal ensembles in the German-speaking countries. In the very first year that it was held, the vocal ensemble amarcord was particularly keen as the festival's organiser and artistic director to promote young musical talents. And in pursuit of this aim, not only top vocal ensembles but also young, relatively unknown groups have always been invited to take part in the festival.


Since 2003, a young vocal group has each year been awarded the title of the Up-and-coming Young Ensemble. This award has included an appearance at the final concert of the festival in the Great Hall of the Gewandhaus, giving the winners an opportunity to sing to a broad music-loving audience – not just in the concert hall but also at home listening on the radio. The winners also perform their own concerts during the festival in the following year.




A neck-and-neck race with big stylistic variety made for an exciting contest and the decision to award no 1st, but two 2nd prizes (ABA TAANO, Uganda and WindSingers, Hungary) and two 3rd prizes (Frouwenzimmer, Switzerland and United People, Ukraine). ABA TAANO also got the audience prize, dezibelles (Switzerland) won the amarcord special prize with "Luegid vo Bärg und Tal".


After one year suspension the 10th contest took place 2017. As in two contests before the jury decided to award no 1st prize winner. Octavians from Jena (Germany) reached the 2nd prize and also the audience award - they performed at the closing concert and gave a festival concert 2018. The 2nd prize went to Cologne-based ensemble Soundescape (Germany). Ensemble Encore (Stuttgart, Germany) got the amarcord special prize for the best unamplified song


Well known Jazz classics and a hungarian Jazz song, a great performance and outstanding singing – Jazzation from Budapest (Hungary) not only won the jurors over, but also the audience at the 9th International A CAPPELLA Contest. They therefore received both the AWARD and the Audience Prize. Runner-up was the Slovenian ensemble Jazzva and two German ensembles shared the 3rd prize: Unduzo (Freiburg i. Br.) and Sub5 (Hannover). The all-male Ensemble Nobiles from Leipzig was chosen by amarcord for their AMARCORD Special Prize for their performance of "Bis willekommen, Herre Christ". 


The winners of the A CAPELLA AWARD 2014 are from Germany – and this year, even two ensembles won 1st prize: the all-male quartet Delta Q from Berlin and the all-female ensemble Sjaella from Leipzig. The jury praised the high standard of the 8th International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig. 


The jurors of the 7th Contest 2013 decided to award a shared second prize and a third prize. Mixtet from Estonia and the Georgian The Quintessential Five secured the second places with very different repertoires: Mixtet with beautiful pieces of young Baltic composers and The Quintessential Five with incredibly sophisticated compositions and jazz arrangements.




Since 2007, even more importance is being attached to supporting young ensembles. Since then, the Festival for Vocal Music a cappella is therefore in conjunction with the BMW plant Leipzig organising the International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig. The A CAPPELLA AWARD is presented by a jury consisting of highly recognized experts. The audience also votes for the best ensemble by awarding the audience price.


Furthermore, a workshop on ensemble singing has been established in 2011 to support the young vocal groups. The ensembles got the chance to improve their skills by working with an internationally acclaimed singer.




With J. S. Bachs praeludium, self-arranged Latvian Traditionals and César A. Cuis' "Radiant Stars", the ensemble Latvian Voices convinced the audience of Bach city Leipzig as well as the international jurors at the 6th A CAPPELLA Contest 2012, having been awarded first prize.



A novelty in 2013 was the seminar, which was held by University phoniatrist and audiologist Prof. Dr. Michael Fuchs. Participants in the competition had the chance to have their vocal folds filmed while singing and experience Dr. Fuchs' explanations on the structure and function of the vocal tract on their own bodies. Furthermore, Dr. Fuchs held a public lecture on the vocal apparatus.


Within the 5th International A CAPPELLA Contest 2011 the jury decided not to award a first price. Two groups were received 2nd price: Audiofeels from Poland with their special „vocal play“, the imitation of music instruments, and Lalá from Austria, who presented an ambitious repertoire without amplification.


The six singers of JuiceBox. from Germany could inspire the audience by spirit and charm. But the group also convinced the jury through their self-composed music, originality and variety of sounds and received the 1st prize within the 4th International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig.


The six congenial members of the swedish ensemble Vocado competed 2008 at the second International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig against nine international groups and were able to convince the jury completely by their multi-faceted performance.


Within the 3rd International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig 2009 the French ensemble Ommm impressed the jury as well as the audience. The five young vocalists convinced through their self-composed music, technical performance and excellent stage presence and were able to stand up to an international starting field.


The vocal group Sound Affaire from the bavarian town Wolfratshausen stood up to the excellent competitors of the first International A CAPPELLA Contest Leipzig and won the 2007 Leipzig A CAPPELLA AWARD.


In 2006 this festival award is given to a young vocal ensemble from abroad. We are happy to introduce a highly talented and incredibly charming group from the Baltic States as the award-winner: Cosmos from Latvia.


The award-winner in 2005 were the singers of Viva Voce. These five smart boys who came out of the Windsbach Boys Choir capture their audience with charme and smiling ease. They are proving that there is at least one boygroup in Germany who can actually sing.


In 2004 this award went to the all-female vocal quartet NINIWE who had convinced both audience and juries at the German Federal Contest for Rock and Jazz Singing and at the Festival of the New Jazz Generation in Leipzig with their original arrangements of classical and jazz music.


Since its fourth year the Festival of Vocal Music a cappella is giving a promotion award to an up-and-coming young ensemble every year. The award Up-and-coming Young Ensemble of 2003 was given to the Calmus Ensemble who had received a Scholarship of the German Music Council and won the Robert Schuman Music Contest in 2002 for their distinct repertoire of religious and secular music.