Novo Concertante Manila, conducted by Arwin Tan, added again to the success of Filipino choirs in the international choral scene. Competing in the inaugural 2012 Asia Cantate International Choral Competition held in Phuket, Thailand from July 15-18, 2012, they were awarded the Grand Prize, the highest in the entire competition besting eighteen choirs from eight Asian countries that included China, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. There were six different categories in the competition: Mixed Choir, Equal Voices Choir, Children’s Choir, Chamber Choir, Senior Choir and Folklore.
In addition to the Grand Prize, Novo Concertante was also recognized for their rendition of Eudenice Palaruan’s arrangement of the T’boli song “Koyu no Tebulul” with the “Voice of Asia” Award for the best interpretation of an Asian composition. The judges declared Arwin Tan as the “Most Outstanding Conductor” in the competition. Novo Concertante emerged as the category winners in both the Folklore and the Chamber Choir Categories.
In each category the choir that is awarded the Gold diploma and the highest score becomes the category winner. After the category winners were announced, the jury chose the five most outstanding choirs to compete for the Grand Prize. These were the Beijing Renmin University Chidren’s Choir from China, St. Louis High School Choir from Indonesia, MiYun Youth Choir from China, Klang Chamber Choir from Malaysia and Novo Concertante Manila from the Philippines. Klang Chamber Choir was awarded as the 1st Runner Up in the competition. Novo Concertante holds the special distinction of being the only choir to receive the only Gold A rating in the entire competition.
The Philippines was represented by the Novo Concertante Manila and the Mandaluyong Children’s Choir. The Mandaluyong Children’s Choir was declared the Category Winner in the Open Equal Voices Category with a Silver B Medal. They also won a Gold C in the Folklore Category and a Silver B in the Chamber Choir category.
The Novo Concertante Manila was originally formed as a recital choir. Its members, composed of music lovers from all walks of life, reinvent themselves continuously while developing a sound that is artistically intelligent. In February 2009 and 2010, the choir was honored with the “Ani ng Dangal” award by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in recognition of Novo’s achievements in the field of choral music.
Choirmaster and founder Arwin Tan has led the choir to win in the 46.Internationaler Chorwettbewerb in Spittal an der Drau, Austria (2009) and the LV Certamen Interncional de Habaneras y Polifonia in Torrevieja, Spain (2009), as well as the Grand Prize in the first-ever A Voyage of Songs International Choral Competition held in Genting Highlands, Malaysia (2003).
The Artistic Director of the 2012 Asia Cantate International Choral Competition, Nelson Kwei from Singapore, aimed to set a high standard of choral excellence among the participating Asian choirs, promoting cultural exchange, raising the standard of choral knowledge and giving all participants the opportunity to learn choral techniques and grow as choristers. The Asia Cantate also premiered the first ever “Voice of Asia” Award to endorse the growing significance of Asian music in the international choral scene.