Mladinski pevski festival Celje

History of the festival.

The history of the MPF festival from 1935 to the present.

The first idea of uniting youth choirs dates back to the year 1935, by the initiative of The Youth Choirs Choirmasters’ Association from Slovenske Konjice. In 1946 the project was carried out as the first open singing concert of young singers, called “Praznik mladinske pomladi” (The holiday of youth spring). Jurče Vreže, who took over the part of the first conductor of the unique open singing concert, took the lead of 3000 young singers in front of the Prothasi Mansion in Celje. The first Youth Choir Festival was created. Between 1946 and 1961 the event started exceeding its local character. In 1960, the choirs from several cities of the former Yugoslav republics performed for the first time and in 1963 the event, now becoming competitive and organised every two years, attracted young singers from abroad. In 1969, the 8th Youth Choir Festival attracted choirs from abroad to open singing at the Museum square in Celje, which has become a tradition up until now.

Youth Choir Festival Celje 1971
Youth Choir Festival Celje 1971
Youth Choir Festival Celje 1971
Youth Choir Festival Celje 1971

In 1989, once strong connections between nations and nationalities of the former Yugoslavia began to blunt. No one had the premonition that the festival, scheduled for 1991, will not take place. The war in former Yugoslavia started. The substitutional year for the postponed festival was 1992, with choirs from Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary. The arrival of the Bosnia and Herzegovina’s choir was stopped by the war. The foreign countries responded in a smaller number and with fear. “The performing choirs were singing in a relaxed atmosphere, the joint singing was spontaneously joyful, with great approval of the foreign choirs and conductors and the president of the Republic of Slovenia… It was a real European atmosphere.” Those are the memories of György Mihalka, a regular guest of the festival for many years. Since then, our choir manifestation officially become the International Youth Choir Festival Celje. The venue of the festival is our historic city of Celje (visitcelje.eu), center of the Savinjska region with 48.000 inhabitants.

That was truly a European atmosphere.” - György Mihalka

Novi tednik 4. 6. 1992
Novi tednik 4. 6. 1992

Since 1992 ten festivals were organised with participating choirs form Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Portugal, Russia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ireland, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Sweden, Great Britain and Israel. The choirs and choirmasters were evaluated and rated by distinguished members of the international juries: Edvard Goršič, Tomaž Faganel, Jernej Habjanič, Damijan Močnik, Dragica Žvar, Martina Batič, Helena Fojkar Zupančič, Sebastjan Vrhovnik (Slovenia), Vladimir Kranjčević (Croatia), Venno Laul (Estonia), François-Xavier Delacoste, Hansruedi Kämpfen (Switzerland), Johan van Bouwelen, Johan Duijck, Benoît Giaux, Jean-Claude Wilkens (Belgium), Zsuzsánna Graf, Zsuzsánna Mindeszenty (Hungary), Karl Zepnik, Johannes Rahe, Gudrun Schröfel (Germany), Malcolm Goldring, Joy Hill (Great Britain), Bo Johansson (Sweden), Corrado Margutti (Italy) and Anne-Marie Cabut (France).

Youth Choir Festival Celje.

The festival which is an important cultural event of our city and our country since 1946 is still very much alive. It follows the pulse of the time, and it is changing with generations.

Festival is made possible by