Jury members 2020

Mikhail Slavkin, Russia, chairperson

Artistic director of Children’s choir of the Union of composers of Russia “Preobrajhenie” («Transfiguration»), Honored worker of culture of the Russian Federation, winner of the International competitions, member of the Union of composers of Russia. Was born in 1953 in Moscow. One of  the known choir-masters in Russia. The author of choral works and songs for children. Works at the State Children’s Musical Theatre named after Natalia Sats and the Musical Theatre Helikon-Opera. Took part in jury work at the Choir Competitions INTERKULTUR in 1998-1999, 2010-2016 and also at the International Competitions in Finland, Poland, Bulgaria. Artistic Director of the Children’s and Youth Choir “Preobrajhenie”, head of the Foundation of Creative Development  “Preobrajhenie”, member of the Union of Composers of Russia, author of choral works and songs for children and adults, choirmaster at the Natalya Satz Musical Theatre and the Musical Theatre Helikon-Opera, juror at International Choir Competitions worldwide, chairman of the jury of the International Vocal and Choral, competition of Jean Sibelius in Turku, Finland. Since 1978 has worked in Children’s Choral studio «PreobraJhenie» as a teacher of a class of a violin, vocal ensemble, solfeggio and music basics. Since 1985 has worked as Artistic director of studio. In 1997 the studio was given the status of the Union of composers of Russia. In 2013 was invited to a position of the choir-master of Children’s opera studio of the Moscow State Academic Children’s musical theatre named after Nataly Sats.

Michele Josia, Italy

As one of the young emerging composers, Michele Josia's work encompasses film soundtracks, choral and orchestral works, and far more than merely a composer, he's also a well known choir conductor. With his ensemble, he won several first prizes and special awards in national and international choral competitions (Skofja Loka, Maribor, Bad Ischl, Riva del Garda, Bratislava) as well as getting official awards by the government of Slovenia. He was assistant conductor of Fabrizio Barchi, Stojan Kuret, Ursa Lah and co-founder with Mauro Marchetti of the Italian – Slovenian choir “Vocalkor”. With a background experience gained in more than 20 years, Josia has assets of more than 190 concerts in Europe, including the direction and performances of his compositions in renowned international competitions (Maribor, Varna, Tolosa, Vittorio Veneto) as well as in important concert halls such as the Slovenian Philharmonic Hall, the “Cankariev Dom” in Ljubljana (Slovenia) and the Mozarteum Concert Hall in Salzburg. With his ensembles, as conductor, assistant conductor and composer of concert music and soundtracks for films, he recorded 20 CDs. He was attending masterclasses in choral conducting with Stojan Kuret (Slovenia), Peter Hanke (Denmark) and Gary Graden (USA).He is often appointed as a jury member in composition competitions and in international choral competition contests, as well as lecturer in choral conducting and film music masterclasses. A polyhedric and multi-talented musician, Josia combines his academic knowledge of orchestration, composition, human voice and choirs, with the today’s new technology of digital instruments, which perfectly match with visual images. Among his works, Josia collaborated as choir conductor assistant with Ennio Morricone in the preparation of the soundtracks of films such as “Vatel”, directed by Roland Joffè, “Aida degli alberi” (Aida of the trees) by G. Manuli, “Padre Pio tra cielo e terra” (Padre Pio between Heaven and earth) by Giulio Base, “La Piovra 10” by Luigi Perelli, and also in “Giuseppe di Nazareth”, directed by Raffaele Mertes, with music by Marco Frisina. In December 2011, his music was performed by the renowned American composer, conductor and Grammy Award winner Eric Whitacre.

Up to now, Michele Josia wrote 34 soundtracks from documentaries to short films, medium length films and feature films. He won 5 film industry awards and 30 music awards as composer and conductor. Michele Josia is the artistic director of the International Choral Competition "Musica Eterna Roma", member of the International Film Music Society of China, member of the Italian Film Academy, founder member of the Italian Choral Directors Association, permanent jury member for the David di Donatello awards (2009-2019) and member of the European Film Academy.

Tatyana Rudneva, Kazakhstan

Tatyana Rudneva (soprano) she graduated from Kurmangazy Alma-Ata State Conservatory on class of solo signing in 1985. She got the second higher education on specialty “Psychology” in 2007. She graduated from fellowship of Magnitogorsk State Conservatory (Academy) named after M.I. Glinka (Russia) on specialty “Academic Signing”. Term of pedagogical employment is more than thirty years. At the present time she is docent of department “Vocal Art and Conducting” of the Kazakh National University of Arts (Astana. Kazakhstan).

T.N. Rudneva works with all signing voices, conducts class of solo signing and chamber class, reads lecture courses on methods and history of vocal art. Students of T.N. Rudneva class a lot of times were laureates of international and republican contests. Alumni of her class successfully continue professional activity as soloists of opera theatres, philharmonias in the Republic of Kazakhstan, Russia, Germany, and also as pedagogues of academic and variety vocal in musical colleges and higher educational institutions. Scientific and pedagogic activity of T.N. Rudneva is represented by writing of scientific articles and monographs on issues of history of establishment and development of Kazakhstan’s vocal art.

Concert and performance activity of T.N. Rudneva is represented by solo concerts, creative contests, master classes, recordings on television. She sang solemn “Mass” during the official visit of head of the Roman-Catholic Church Pope John Paul the II in Kazakhstan in 2001. She sang solo concert “Ave Maria” dedicated to victims of terror of the XX century for religious confessions of the CIS countries and abroad in 2002. Ten musical and thematic programs were recorded on the republican television: “A.S. Pushkin and Music”, “A. Akhmatova in Music”, “Musical Heritage of Abai Kunanbayev”, “Romances of P.I. Tchaikovsky”, “Russian Romance of the XVIII-XIX Centuries”, “Evening of Classical Operetta” and others. Foundation recordings “Russian Folk Songs” and “Kazakh Folk Songs” were executed on all-Union radio.

Tatyana Rudneva is laureate of international contests, Honoured Worker of Education of the RK.

Justin Smith, USA

Dr. Justin Smith is an assistant professor of music and the director of choral activities at Queens University of Charlotte. He conducts three choirs and teaches courses in music history and conducting. For six years he was the director of choral activities and holder of the Joseph Naumes Endowed Chair in Music at Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon. Under his leadership, Marylhurst choirs grew from eighteen to a hundred singers and from one to three choirs. 
Dr. Smith is the founder and director of the Portland Phoenix Chamber Choir, which has achieved international recognition. The Portland Phoenix Chamber Choir has won awards at the Cork Festival (2016), the European Choir Games (2017) and the Leonardo Da Vinci International Choral Festival (2018). In 2020, they will appear by invitation at the Northwestern Regional Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Spokane, Washington. 
Dr. Smith is in demand as a judge and clinician. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in April of 2012, conducting the Fauré Requiem for MidAmerica Productions, and again in 2015, conducting the Randall Thompson Testament of Freedom. He conducted the Mozart Missa Brevis in Vienna, Austria in the summer of 2016. He is a scholar of American choral music, having been published twice in Choral Journal on neglected choral works of Marc Blitzstein and Vincent Persichetti. Dr. Smith is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Collegiate Choral Organization and the Oregon Music Educators Association. 
D.M.A., Choral Conducting, Moores School of Music
M.A., Choral Conducting, University of Oregon
B.A., Music, Wesleyan University

Tamara Fedoseeva, Russia

Tamara Fedoseeva was born in Moskow in 1948. She was engaged in Children’s choral studio «Young Leninists» from which she graduated in 1965. She returned there as a teacher in 1971 after having graduated from the Moscow musical college named after the October revolution. Her pedagogical and creative activity doesn’t stop. In Children’s choral studio «Preobrajhenie»  Tamara Fedoseyeva heads the chorus «Crane». The chorus participated in the anniversary concerts in the State Kremlin Palace devoted to the 100 anniversary of I.Dunayevsky, M.Blanter, V.Solovyov-Sedoy, B.Mokrousov, A.Ostrovsky; in the Big Hall of the Moscow State conservatory of Tchaikovsky (premiere of compositions of Vladimir Ryabov and Victor Semyonov), in Evgeny Krylatov, Alexander Kulygin, Igor Kadomtsev, Mikhail Slavkin’s  concerts, etc.  In 2013 Tamara Fedoseyeva got the position of a teacher of vocal of Children’s opera studio of the Moscow State Academic Children’s musical theatre named after N. I. Sats.
Tamara Fedoseyeva in 1999 was awarded an honorary title the Honoured worker of culture of the Russian Federation. Her pedagogical credo is «Each child is talented and has to open the talents». 
• Shef choir-master of the Children’s and Youth Choir «Preobrajhenie» 

• Choir-master at the Natalya Satz Musical Theatre and the Musical 
• Juror at International Choir Competitions worldwide

Teemu Honkanen, Finland

Teemu Honkanen is known as a versatile musician. He studied orchestral conducting at the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki) from 1994 to 1999. His tutors were Atso Almila, Eri Klas, Jorma Panula and Leif Segerstam. In 1999, he passed the final exam in orchestral conducting, and a year later, under the supervision of lecturer Matti Hyökki, he also received a degree in choral conducting. In addition, he has a degree in cello. Mr. Honkanen led most of Finland’s professional orchestras, such as the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Lahti and Oulu, orchestras in Helsinki and Tampere. He also conducted the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), and the Norwegian modern classical orchestra Oslo Sinfonietta. Being a choral conductor, Teemu Honkanen worked as artistic director of the Stockholm baroque choir and the choir of St. Matthew (Stockholm). Since 2009, he has been the artistic director of the Key Ensemble Chamber Choir in Turku. In 2002, Mr. Honkanen won the first prize in the national choir conducting contest at the VocalEspoo festival (Finland).

Jan Pirner, Czech Republic

Jan Pirner has been the choirmaster of the childrenʼs choir Radost Praha since 2012. After graduating from grammar school, he went on to study Czech Language and Literature and Music Education at the Faculty of Education of Charles University in Prague (2002–8), and also studied musicology at the Faculty of Arts (2003–6). His first experience with organised music dates back to his childhood days as a member of the boys’ choir Pueri gaudentes; he later joined various professional choirs and chamber ensembles (Kühn Choir of Prague, the Prague Chamber Choir, the Czech National Choir, and the Prague Philharmonic Choir etc.). As a child, he was greatly influenced by the composer and teacher Pavel Jurkovič. In the years 2010–13 he was a director of the Prague Chamber Choir, taking it on tours through most of Europe, Japan, and Lebanon, and repeatedly participating in major music festival (Rossini Opera Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, etc.). Since 2012 he has also been working at the National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture, where he acted as an expert guarantor of choirmaster workshops, administrator of the music library, and editor of the Polyhymnia Bohemica choral series; he is also engaged as an editor of the academic journal Hudební věda (Musicology) at the Department of Music History of the Institute of Ethnology of the Czech Academy of Sciences. In 2016 he received the best choirmaster award at Kaunas Cantat in Lithuania, and the Prague 7 Award for Cultural Achievements. In the same year he has received the national Choirmaster junior price, awarded by the Czech Choirs Association.

Nicolas Farine, Switzerland

Swiss conductor and pianist Nicolas Farine is the founder and co-artistic director, with Swiss composer François Cattin, of Jeune Opéra Compagnie (JOC). He is also assistant music director of the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, alongside Dutch conductor and artistic director Daniel Reuss. In the 2015-2016 season, he premièred AMOK, a new contemporary opera by François Cattin and librettist Orianne Moretti, at the Opéra de Reims (France) and the Théâtre de l’Heure Bleue (Switzerland). He also conducted performances of Udo Zimmermann’s La Rose Blanche (Die Weisse Rose) at the Opéra National de Lorraine. He studied conducting in the USA, Austria and Canada, under the guidance of distinguished teachers such as Otto Werner-Müller (Juilliard School), Salvador Mas Conde (Vienna Musikakademie) and Charles Bruck (Pierre Monteux School). Passionate about opera, he has conducted Faust (Gounod), La Finta Semplice (Mozart), Die Weisse Rose (Zimmermann), Acis and Galatea (Haendel), Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Bastien Bastienne (Mozart), King Arthur (Purcell), along with première performances of Gulliver and Morceau de Nuit by Cattin. Stage directors with whom he has collaborated include Robert Bouvier, Gino Zampieri, Stefan Grögler, François Racine, Anne-Cécile Moser, Cédric Dubois and Orianne Moretti. Nicolas Farine is also very committed to contemporary music. He is vice-president of the Swiss Society for Contemporary Music and has conducted the premières of some twenty symphonic works.

Klaas Stok, Netherlands

Klaas Stok is one of the leading choral conductors in the Netherlands. He is for many years involved in the Nederlands Kamerkoor. As well as being the choir’s main repetiteur, Klaas has conducted various productions of choral music from the 16th century until the present day, including world premières of works by Willem Boogman, Hans Kox, Mauricio Kagel and Geija Kancheli and made several CD recordings. His most recent CD’s (Tehilim and Kagel) got the highest ratings in the press. Klaas Stok has also conducted many other professional choirs and ensembles. Together with Philippe Herreweghe, and in collaboration with the Flemish conservatoires and the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in Antwerp, he was co-founder of the “Kooracademie” (Choral Academy). He is also conductor and artistic director of Consensus Vocalis. Under his direction the choir has given many performances of the major choral works for choir and orchestra, especially Brahms, Bach, Monteverdi and Mozart but also contemporary music. He worked with many instrumental ensembles and orchestra’s, among others Concerto d’Amsterdam, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Holland Baroque Society and the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the staged performance of the Johannes Passion with the “Nationale Reisopera”. Klaas Stok teaches Choral Conducting at ArtEZ conservatory in Zwolle. Sinse last year he is the choirmaster of the Netherlands Radio Choir.
Alongside his conducting obligations he is also city organist and a regular performer on the renowned Bader organ in Zutphen’s St. Walburgiskerk.

Fred Sjöberg, Sweden

Fred Sjöberg, born 1953, is an educated singer and choral conductor at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and Örebro. Among others he has studied with Prof. Solwig Grippe, Prof. Eric Ericson and Prof. Helmuth Rilling. He has been the first conductor to conduct the three major international youth choirs as World Youth Choir (1991 and 2005), World Chamber Choir (1993) and European Youth Choir (1999). He has been the principal conductor for the French National Youth Choir and invited guest conductor for Japan National Youth Choir. When the Swedish organization for young choirs “UngiKör” started he was elected as their first president. In 2000 he was appointed as the “Conductor of the Year” in Sweden by SCDA (Swedish Choral Directors Association) appointed with the Johannes Norrby Medallion 2001 for outstanding and service and development to the Swedish Choral Life. From 1997 to 2004 he was the Music Director and conductor of the biggest sponsor project ever for the Swedish Choral life in Sweden called “Notes for Millions”. From 2000 to 2004 he was also Music Director of the Swedish Choral Centre as well as Artistic Director for Lund International Choral Festival from 2005 to 2006. Since 2009 he is Music Director of Swedish International Choral Centre in Örebro. Fred Sjöberg has been Vice President of Europa Cantat as well as President of the Music Commission of Europa Cantat and has also been Vice President of IFCM. He is Council Member of INTERKULTUR and also on the Artistic Directorium of INTERKULTUR. From 2015 he is General Artistic Director of INTERKULTUR.

Tõnu Kõrvits, Estonia

Tõnu Kõrvits is a rising star of Estonian contemporary music, more and more frequently performed in Estonia and foreign countries. Beside Veljo Tormis’ shamanistic spells, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s energetic explosions and Arvo Pärt’s religious contemplations, Kõrvits’ sound world stands out as highly poetic, full of visionary fantasies. Tõnu Kõrvits graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre’s composition department with Raimo Kangro in 1994. Kõrvits’ music has also been performed by numerous foreign artists and collectives, such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Macao Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Symphony Orchestra, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Tyrolean Symphony Orchestra Innsbruck, Ferenz Liszt Chamber Orchestra etc. As a talented and prolific creator, Tõnu Kõrvits has gained recognition from the Estonian state and cultural institutions a number of times. He was awarded the Heino Eller Music Prize in 2001, the Young Artist Prize by the Board of the President’s Cultural Foundation in 2002 and the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2004 and 2014. In 2011 and 2016, the Cultural Prize of the Republic of Estonia and in 2014, Prize of the Estonian Music Days Festival 2013. Estonian Public Broadcasting chose Kõrvits as the Musician of the Year 2015. Since 2015, Tõnu Kõrvits is an honorary citizen of Clarksdale Mississippi for his music. In 2016, Kõrvits was given the Order of the White Star 3rd Class. This year a solo album «Mirror» was released under the label ECM. 

Jacek Sykulski, Poland

Composer, conductor and choirmaster, was born in Poznań, Poland in 1964.  He graduated from the Jerzy Kurczewski Choir School and the Academy of Music in Poznan, where he majored in clarinet and composition.  In 1987, he came to Canada for a year`s apprenticeship with esteemed Canadian composer and four- time Gemini recipient, Christopher Dedrick (since deceased). Sykulski has been the conductor and the artistic director of the Academic Choir of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań since 1996.  In 2003, he was appointed director of the Poznań Boys’ Choir.  He also directs his own chamber ensemble, ‘Nova Gaudia’.  These groups have performed successful concerts in some of the most prestigious concert halls and churches throughout Europe, Canada, United States, Bolivia, China, Taiwan, and Japan. In 2005 Sykulski composed music for a documentary film about Pope John Paul II, and in 2006 he was commissioned by the President of Poznań to write a piece, entitled “Missa 1956,” for the 50th anniversary of the Poznań ‘June Uprising’.  His “Oratorium Gietrzwałdzkie” for soloists, choir and orchestra, written in 2006, was commissioned by the Mayor of Olsztyn to commemorate the 130th anniversary of the revelation of Mary, Mother of Jesus in Poland. Renowned artists, such as the Taipei Male Choir, Chor Leoni Men’s Choir (Canada), Chicago a cappella, and Affabre Concinu (Polish Chamber Singers) have performed a variety of his pieces over the years.