Akademski pevski zbor Tone Tomšič University of Ljubljana unites students from all departments of the University of Ljubljana, which share a great love  of singing and an unceasing wish to perform at the highest artistic level.

The choir continues the tradition of the Akademski pevski zbor v Ljubljani (Academic Choir of the University of Ljubljana) founded in 1926 by France Marolt, which consisted of male singers only. In the years between 1938 and 1940 Marolt also conducted the Female Academic choir. After the cultural silence held during the Second World War, the choir recommenced its activity, this time as a mixed choir under a new name, Akademski pevski zbor Tone Tomšič. The choir has always been led by recognized conductors such as: France Marolt, Radovan Gobec, Janez Bole, Lojze Lebič, Igor Lavrič, Marko Munih, Jože Fürst, Jernej Habjanič, Stojan Kuret and Urša Lah. From 2009 to 2014 it was led by conductor Sebastjan Vrhovnik. From September 2014 until September 2015 the choir was once again directed by Stojan Kuret. Since October 2015 the choir is led by Jerica Bukovec.

Photo: Jana Jocif

Since its beginnings APZ Tone Tomšič has been guiding Slovenian choral singing, not only as far as its performance and techniques are concerned, but also due to its choice of programme. The choir’s repertoire includes works from all musical periods, while special attention is paid to modern choral music. APZ with its commissions and competitions encourages both young and already acknowledged Slovene composers to create new pieces and with first performances of their works furthers the recognition of Slovene choral music at home and abroad. The choir performs all over Slovenia, participates in vocal-instrumental projects (C. Orff: Carmina Burana, G. Verdi: Requiem, G. Puccini: Messa di Gloria, J. Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem, A. Nordheim:  Wirklicher Wald, L. Lebič: Zgodbe/Fables), records pieces for Slovenian National Radio (RTV Slovenija) archives and organises educational seminars for choral conductors (mentors: Peter Hanke, Jesper Grove Jørgensen, Denmark and Ragnar Rasmussen, Norway).

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The choir lives up to its reputation with successful performances at many festivals and competitions both in Slovenia and abroad. APZ Tone Tomšič’s greatest international achievements are its victories on prestigious Grand Prix competitions (Tours: 1980 under Jože Fürst, 1984 under Jernej Habjanič and 1999 under Stojan Kuret; Gorica: 2001 under Stojan Kuret; Varna: 2001 under Stojan Kuret and 2007 under Urša Lah, Arezzo: 2012 under Sebastjan Vrhovnik) and the two victories on the Grand Prix of Europe in 2002 in Arezzo under Stojan Kuret and in 2008 in Debrecen under Urša Lah. Even before the founding of the Grand Prix competition the choir excelled at prestigious competitions, with victories on competitions such as the C. A. Seghizzi in Gorica, 1963 under Lojze Lebič, 1965 and 1967 under Marko Munih and 1980 as the absolute victors under Jože Fürst.

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With the conductor Sebastjan Vrhovnik the choir has achieved a number of successes: in July 2010 they achieved two silver medals at the international choral competition in Cantonigrós, Spain in July 2010, two golden medals in categories of mixed sacral music and mixed folk music, and a title of the winner of Grand Prix of Rimini 2010, at the international competition in the Italian city of Rimini in October 2010. In April 2011 the choir competed in the world renowned Cork International Choral Festival in Ireland, and won first prize in the category of mixed choirs – The Fleischmann International Trophy. In Cork the choir was also awarded the Heinrich Schütz Perpetual Trophy for best interpretation of the song “Die Mit Tränen Säen” by Heinricha Schütza. In July 2012 the choir won a gold medal – mixed choirs – and a silver medal – folk – at the international choir competition in Spittal an der Drau (Austria). On this competition the choir was awarded the special prize for the performance of a modern work – “Kip” by Tadeja Vulc. In August 2012 the choir attended the international competition Polifonico in Arezzo (Italy) where it achieved two gold medals in the categories of Historical overview and Historic period (after 1920). On this competition the choir also won the Grand Prix of Arezzo that qualified them for the Grand Prix of Europe 2013.

In December 2013 the choir performed at the international choir competition Cro Patria in Split, where it won the gold medal in the category of obligatory works, as well as awards for best performance of a novel work and best foreign choir. The choir was also awarded the title of the absolute winner of the competition. In April 2014 the choir took part on the national competition Naša pesem in Maribor, where it won first place in the category of mixed choirs and a golden plaque. The choir also received two special prizes, the first for the best mixed choir and the second for the best performance of a 19th century work, “Wo ist ein so herrlich Volk” by Johannes Brahms.

Under the conductor Stojan Kuret the choir competed on the international choir festival Zlatna Vila in Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina) in May 2015. The choir won the award for best performance of a modern work, “Križemkraž” by Nana Forte.

In 2016, under the artistic guidance of Jerica Bukovec the choir attended two competitions. In July the choir competed on Festival Internacional de Música de Cantonigròs (Spain), where it achieved first place in the category of folk song and second place in the category of mixed choirs. In September of the same year the choir also performed at the Rimini International Choral Competition in Rimini (Italy), where it achieved gold medals in the categories of sacred music, folk music and mixed choirs.

In April of 2018 the choir participated in the national choral competition ‘Naša pesem’ in Maribor, where it acchieved 91 points, the absolute 3rd place of the competition and a golden plaque, despite fierce competition. The jury also awarded the choir with two special awards, for the best performance of a Slovenian contemporary piece written since 1998 and for the best performance of a foreign piece written since the 20th century.

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In 1996 the APZ Tone Tomšič received the highest national commendation, the Zlati častni znak svobode Republike Slovenije, for its many achievements and contributions on the national level. In 2000 the choir also received the Plaque of the city of Ljubljana and in 2003 the Zlati znak Javnega sklada Republike Slovenije za kulturne dejavnosti.

Translated by Lovro Kotnik