Get to know the hosts of Eurovision Choir of the Year

Eurovision Choir of the Year will be hosted by Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre and Latvian Television’s culture presenter Eva Johansone. We caught up with them ahead of the show to find out more about what we can expect from the very first Eurovision Choir of the Year.

 

Eric Whitacre is a Grammy-winning composer and conductor. His concert music has been performed throughout the world by millions of amateur and professional musicians alike. He is visiting Latvia for the first time. “I got a phone call about Eurovision Choir of the Year. The producers reached out to me and I thought it might be fun. I knew it was in Latvia and I had never been before, I wanted to be a part of it,” he said.

Eva Johansone is a Latvian Television journalist who presents culture, music and arts news and often hosts live broadcasts of major cultural events in Latvia. She explained that Eurovision Choir has been a personal story for her; “I started to play the violin at the age of four and I also joined choirs, so many people in Latvia sing. It was a natural choice to have this event here in Riga. When I was very happy when they asked me to host, it’s a real honour,” she said.

Eva Johansone performing during rehearsals

Both Eric and Eva believe that the format of Eurovision Choir is not only unique but also important for choral singing and indeed Europe. “The competition is not the most important part, it’s about having all these singers from around Europe to perform on an international stage,” said Eric. “My hope is that people will watch and have not only a new appreciation for singing but also a cappella music and maybe even join a choir themselves,” he added.

“It’s important to have a common voice in Europe and choirs are the best form to unite and express how different we are but we are also the same,” explained Eva. “I love the campaign we have launched, Breathing Together. We all breathe the same air, we are at one when we sing, that’s what this event is all about. It’s going to be a great show, seeing musicians performing live with only their voices, their instrument.”

What are our two hosts most looking forward to? For Eric, it’s a combination of the music and the experience of presenting for the first time. “I will open the show conducting all the singers who will perform a piece that I wrote called Fly To Paradise. This is very exciting as it will be with hundreds of singers,” he said. “My co-host Eva Johansone is incredible and fun and smart and I am looking forward to being with her. Of course, I’m also looking forward to hearing the beautiful singing from all over Europe, the different styles, the difference pieces, it’s going to be a good night!”

Eric conducting during the rehearsals in Riga

Whilst Eva has presented before, Eurovision Choir of the Year will be the first time that she has hosted a show in English. “I am looking forward to greeting Europe, it’s the first time in my life and maybe the last time, that I will say “hello Europe”. I am very proud that my country is starting this competition because we are the land of choirs and I am proud that people will be looking to Latvia on Saturday.”

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