The Bangkok Voices was founded by their current conductor in 2005 with the aim to promote and broaden the choral repertoire among its members and the community. It has been receiving constant encouragement and support from Thai National Artist, Khunying Malaival Bunyaratavej. The choir is comprised of musicians, music teachers, students and music lovers with Mr. Alfred John de Veyra, a former member of world renowned “Philippines Madrigal Singers” who lay the foundation for the group as its first conductor.
Since its foundation, the group has regularly performed and has quickly become recognized. Its regular performances aimed not only to introduce new standard choral repertoires to the public, but to educate its listeners. The group has commissioned numerous new choral arrangements of Thai music, giving a greater dimension to many local choir repertoires.
The Bangkok Voices musical renditions have spread out and are integrated into the repertoire of many Thai choirs which use them as a prototype for their own development. Besides ongoing regular public performances, the Bangkok Voices is frequently invited to participate in State functions. They have sung for high dignitaries visiting Thailand and they were frequently invited to participate in many international choral festivals in Southeast Asia and in Europe.
The choir's continuous improvement reflects in its national and international awards. In every choral competition, the Bangkok Voices always achieves a high level of recognition (see Awards & Recognition). Currently, they are recognized to be one of the finest choir groups in Thailand.
Media from The Bangkok Post
Thailand’s award-winning choir The Bangkok Voices recently two gold certificates at the 4th Vietnam International Choir Competition last month. They were one of the two choirs that represented Thailand among 40 others from 15 countries. The event was hosted by the Interkultur Foundation and the Vietnamese government.
The Bangkok Voices won gold in the chamber choirs mixed voices category, and another gold in the sacred choir music category. The four winning songs that choir sang in Hoi An were San-am-luang, a Thai contemporary composition by Dnu Huntrakul; O Sacrum Convivium, composed by Vytautas Miskinis; Amor De Mi Alma, composed by Z. Randall Stroope; and Kalinda, composed by Sydney Guillaume.
The Bangkok Voices are no strangers to such awards, having won two gold medals and a platinum nomination in the first Xinghai Prize International Choir Championships 2012 in China. At the first Asian Choir Games in Jakarta in 2007, they won a gold medal in the mixed chamber choir category and a silver in the gospel and spiritual category.
“The Bangkok Voices is an outstanding choir with a marked, great choral sound, and a fantastic conductor,” said Prof. Dr. Ralf Eisenbei, artistic director of Interkultur and competition organizer. “What is worthy of praise is their amazing interpretations of European and international choral music. The competition piece Christus factus est by Anton Bruckner, which needs great skills and much empathy for the choral literature of Romanticism, was most convincing.”
The Bangkok Voices is a chamber choir with more than 30 volunteers from different backgrounds. Members are between the ages of 18 and above 30, and sing music of all genres, from pop to Thai classics. Formed a decade ago by Dr. Kittiporn Tantrarungroj, who is also their conductor, the choir’s vocal teacher Piyawat Panthana was an original member.
“My efforts of having to practice twice a week paid off,” said 18-year-old tenor Pathorn “Ja” Swasdisuk, who is studying music at Chulalongkorn University. “However winning doesn’t make us the best choir. We have to keep fighting against our own gravity to be better.”
Alisa Jesakul, a 29-year-old soprano, added: “This group gives me the rare opportunity to represent our country abroad. I’m jealous of the support and attention that Thai sports teams get, though I understand that choral music is unpopular in Thailand. However, we hope to get some more support [in the future].”
Dr. Kittiporn said: “Even though choral music is only emerging, it has yet to gain the respect that it deserves n Thailand. Thai people perceive singing choral music as a Western practice because they usually see people sing in in Christian churches. Because Thailand is a Buddhist country, people don’t pay much attention towards choral music.”
Piyawat added: “When Thai people think about choral music, they tend to imagine backing vocalists singing chorus verses – a factor that causes Thai people to not take choral music as seriously as they should. I wish to see some more support that can push us to develop even further.”