2020 BOVICELLI Competition

International Singers’ Competition on the Diminution Practices of the 16th and 17th Centuries


Pia Praetorius: Über den Bovicelli Wettbewerb 2020


In 2020, the Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung [Weißenbrunn Castle Foundation] is organising the first competition for singers on the diminution practices of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The focus of this year’s competition will be Giovanni Battista Bovicelli, the person after whom the competition is named, who taught a new style of embellishment at the end of the 16th century. His treatise, Regole, passaggi di musica, gives today’s singers a lively insight into the performance practices of the Renaissance and early Baroque periods.

As gatherings in person are not currently possible, the competition will be staged virtually, in the form of video contributions to be published here on the website and on YouTube.



  • Singers of any age may apply.
  • The competition entry comprises one work selected from the literature list.
  • A Special Award is offered for a singer’s own diminutions of a given motet or chanson in the style of Bovicelli. It is possible to apply for this Bovicelli Award in addition to the other Award.
  • For all works on the literature list, we have provided accompaniment recordings for download. Participants may also use their own accompaniment.
  • The competition entry must be submitted in video format, unedited, via Wetransfer or similar platforms to the Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung: info@schloss-weissenbrunn.de. Reference: Competition Entry Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung together with a document, comprising name, address, work performed and short CV including date of birth. Your personal data will be exclusively used for the implementation of the competition, and will be processed in accordance with our data privacy statement.
  • Recordings which have already been published as well as concert recordings etc. are not admissible as competition entries.
  • Deadline for submissions is 20 May 2020.
  • If your entry is accepted, the Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung will publish it as a competition entry on the Musikakademie website and on YouTube. By submitting the entry, participants agree to its publication.
  • The names of the winners will be published on the Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung website on 03 June 2020.
  • Further details as well as recommendations for sound and video recordings are available for DOWNLOAD IN PDF FORMAT.



  • First prize: 3,000 € as well as an invitation to perform in the Schloss Weißenbrunn concert series
  • Second prize: 1,500
  • Third prize: 750 €
  • Audience Award: 500 €
  • Bovicelli Special Award: 3,000 € as well as an invitation to perform in the Schloss Weißenbrunn concert series



  • Jürgen Banholzer. Organ, harpsichord, singer, musicologist
  • Thomas Boysen. Lute, theorbo, Baroque guitar. Munich and Würzburg Music Academies
  • Charles Daniels. Tenor
  • Josué Meléndez. Cornetto, recorder, diminution. Trossingen Music Academy
  • Catherine Motuz. Historic trombone. Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
  • Pia Praetorius. Conductor, music of the 15th to the 18th centuries. Head of the foundation Schloss Weißenbrunn Stiftung



  • Jürgen Banholzer, Thomas Boysen, Martin Erhardt and Maria Morózova-Meléndez



  • Ulrike Hofbauer. Singing. Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
  • Martin Erhardt. Historic improvisation, recorder, harpsichord. Weimar and Leipzig Music Academies



Special thanks to all those who have accompanied and supported the idea with their advice on its content: Josué Meléndez and Catherine Motuz for valuable help in preparing the competition, Ulrike Hofbauer for advice and thoughtful contributions, Charles Daniels for recording examples of trilli, tremoli and other gratie, as well as Jean Tubery for offering his recordings of Bovicelli––both of which will help participants by giving them examples to hear and eventually imitate.

We would like to thank Dr Helen Roberts and Septenary Editions for all their help and for the opportunity to use the Passaggi App for our competition www.septenaryeditions.com. We also thank Gawain Glenton and Oliver Webber, who allowed the Septenary edition of Bovicelli’s treatise to be distributed for this competition, and for the provision of extra material. septenaryeditions.com/catalogue

Heartfelt thanks to Marco Gemmani and the edition http://www.cantoressanctimarci.it for making available free of charge the music used for the competition, comprising works by Sances, Tarditi and Rigatti. The website, in addition, boasts a fantastic wealth of works from the archives of San Marco.

Particular thanks to the continuo players, Jürgen Banholzer, Thomas Boysen, Martin Erhardt and Maria Morózova-Meléndez. It was a special challenge to record this music without singers, a process which cost some nerves and time, and which was an extraordinary experience for all involved. Even though joint music making was painfully missed, these recordings in their very varied styles are an inspiring example of the continuo practices of those times.



MATERIALS: Videos and recordings, Learning materials for diminutions, treatises