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THE CHOIRS

Curtain up for the participating choirs

Mixed choirs

University of Montana Chamber Chorale • USA

The University of Montana Chamber Chorale seeks to embed commitment to underrepresented composers in every program, performing the historic canon while promoting ethically sourced and previously overlooked repertoire. The ensemble prioritizes outreach to rural areas in our state, while seeking broad touring opportunities: UM Chamber Chorale will perform at the Northwest American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conference (March 2022), the 75th Festival of Music at the University of Saarbrücken, Germany (June 2022), Cadogan Hall and Southwark Cathedral in London (Vox Anima London, May 2022), and the Montana International Choral Festival (July 2019, 2022). The Chamber Chorale includes undergraduate and graduate students from a wide variety of majors, including Wildlife Biology, Forestry, Business, Musical Theater, English, Neuroscience, Music Performance, Music Education, and Music Composition.

 

Conductor: Coreen Duffy

Coreen Duffy is director of choral activities at the University of Montana School of Music, where she conducts Chamber Chorale and University Choir, teaches conducting, choral methods, and supervises student teachers. She serves as Artistic Director for the Missoula Community Chorus, which now partners with UM. Under her direction, the UM Chamber Chorale has earned invitations to perform at the Northwest American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conference (March 2022), the 75th Anniversary Festival of Music at the University of Saarbrücken, Germany (May-June 2022), at Cadogan Hall and Southwark Cathedral in London (Vox Anima London, May 2022), and at the Montana International Choral Festival (July 2019, 2022).

Duffy is an active clinician and composer; her works are published by Walton Music, ECS, and Pavane Publishing. A specialist in Jewish choral music, Duffy has presented sessions at national and regional ACDA conferences and at the International Conference of the European Center for Jewish Music (EJZM) in Hannover, Germany. Prior to 2018, Duffy served on the faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where she conducted ensembles and taught classes in conducting, choral arranging, and music history. She also founded the Second Avenue Jewish Chorale, which performed at the Florida ACDA conference. Duffy currently serves several national choral organizations, including as Co-Chair for World Musics and Cultures for Northwest ACDA, as well as Northwest Division Representative on the NAfME Council for Choral Education, and on the Editorial Board for The Choral Scholar, a publication by the National Collegiate Choral Organization.

 

Malang Choral Art • Indonesia

Malang Choral Art was founded as a project choir with the aim to perform diverse choral music programme with a degree of artistic excellency. The singers are gathered from the alumni of the choirs once led by the conductor Budi Susanto Yohanes.
In addition to performing classical choral works, this choir also focuses on developing traditional music, as well as premiering several works by some Indonesian choral composers.

 

Conductor: Budi Susanto Yohanes

Budi Susanto Yohanes is a conductor and composer who has been recognized for his contributions to Indonesian choral music. He has been actively contributing as choral clinician in many parts of the country and frequently invited as adjudicator in various national and international choir competitions.

He is the founder of Gracioso Sonora Choir, the conductor of ITS Student Choir, difertimento vocal ensemble, and Malang ChoralArt. Under his direction, these choirs have been invited to participate in major festivals and also have received numerous international awards.

 

Cape Town Youth Choir • South Africa

The Cape Town Youth Choir (CTYC) was formed in 1997. They practice in Cape Town and membership of the choir is open to anyone who has passed an audition and is able to attend the rehearsals. Currently, the 36-voice ensemble consists of ±10% high school learners, 45% students and 45% working young people.

The choir’s mission is to provide an opportunity for young South Africans to sing in a choir of the highest international standards and to provide a moving musical experience for its audiences. We believe that music speaks directly to the heart; it restores the soul and lifts the spirit! 

Highlights include an a cappella concert in Carnegie Hall (NY) in 2017, a national television broadcast of Handel’s Messiah in 2018, the Grand Prix prize at the 17th “Antonio Vivaldi Choir Competition” in Karpenissi, Greece in 2019 as well both the Publikumspreis as well as the Günther-Mittergradnegger prize for the best performance of a contemporary work at the chamber choir competition in Spittal an der Drau in 2019.

 

Conductor: Leon Starker

Leon Starker completed a B.Sc. degree with Chemistry and Maths as well as the Higher Education Diploma at Stellenbosch University. During his student years he studied singing with Prof. George van der Spuy and sang in the Stellenbosch University Choir.

He holds both an advanced Diploma in Choral Conducting as well as an M.Mus. in Choral Conducting from the Nelson Mandela University where he studied with well-known South African composer-conductor couple, Peter Louis and Junita van Dijk.

Leon has been the conductor of the Cape Town Youth Choir since 2003. Since then, they have performed major works such as the Rachmaninov Vespers, Händel’s Messiah, Arvo Pärt’s Passio (St John Passion) and Karl Jenkin’s Armed Man a Mass for Peace. They have recorded numerous CDs.

They have also travelled the world and have presented concerts in venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York, St Paul’s Cathedral in London, and the Mozarteum Großer Saal in Salzburg. They have participated in international competitions winning gold and most recently winning the prize for the best performance of a contemporary work at the International Chamber Choir Computation in Spittal an der Drau, Austria.

In addition to the Cape Town Youth Choir, Leon conducted the St Cyprian’s Girls’ Choir and currently conducts the University of Cape Town choir. At the 2018 Musica Eterna Roma choral competition in Rome, the St Cyprian’s girls received a gold diploma and Leon was awarded the conductor’s prize.

Leon taught choral conducting at the University of Cape Town College of Music from 2015 till 2018.

Leon’s day job is database developer and SQL programmer. He is married to Louise (a music teacher), and they have three daughters.

 

 

Landesjugendchor Saar • Deutschland

The State Youth Choir Saar was founded in 2008 by the Saarland Choir Association and is considered one of the most important choirs in the Saarland, in particular due to its active youth development in the Saarland choir scene. The choir works on a project basis and therefore hasn’t got a fixed group of members.

Up to and including 2014, the Youth Choir was led by the cathedral choir conductor Alexander Lauer and his wife Stefanie Fels-Lauer, who also founded the choir. In 2017 the conductor Kerstin Behnke took over the artistic leadership. Since 2019 the State Youth Choir Saar has been singing under the artistic direction of Mauro Barbierato and vocal coach Larissa Eckstein.

In 2012 the State Youth Choir Saar won the first prize in the category “early music”, the second prize in the category “modern age” as well as the main prize “best choir in all categories” at the International Choir Competition at the German Choir Festival in Frankfurt/Main.

In August 2014 the State Youth Choir Saar went on a concert tour to South Africa in cooperation with the choir conductor Martin Berger from the renowned Stellenbosch University. In 2010 and 2013 the choir published its CDs “Hear a voice” and "Ecoutez! Listen!"


Conductor: Mauro Barbierato

Mauro Barbierato was born in 1984 in Padova (Italy). After finishing school, he studied organ and organ composition under Prof. L. Medici Turrini at the “C. Pollini” Conservatory, where he completed his studies with a diploma. His music career then led him to the “G. Verdi” Conservatory in Milan, where he studied choral conducting and musical notation (under Prof. G. Acciai) and Basso Continuo (under Prof. C. Farina). He completed his bachelor studies at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts with an artistic and a pedagogical focus. He finished his Master studies in conducting and his postgraduate course in “conducting-concert exam” at the University of Music Saar under Prof. G. Grün. He worked as a musical assistant to Prof. Cosima Osthoff and as a répétiteur at the Opera School of the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts. In April 2012 he conducted the opera "Echt?" at the Schnawwl Theatre in Mannheim and in the 2014/2015 season the opera “Sturm” at the National Theatre Mannheim. He is currently the conductor of the State Youth Choir Saar, the children’s choir of the Saarland State Theatre and of the Robert-Schuman Choir.

At present he is teaching choral conducting and the course „practice-orientated vocal training Italian“ as a lecturer for special tasks at the University of Music Saar. He is also managing the choir and orchestra office at the University of Music Saar. Moreover, he has been a lecturer for choral conducting at the University of Music Mainz since 2020.

 

 

Megaron Chamber Choir • Slovenia

The Megaron Chamber Choir was founded in October 2003 on the initiative of the composer and conductor Damijan Močnik. It unites former students of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium at the St. Stanislaus Institute in Ljubljana, who had been active before in various choral ensembles and had received music education in one or more of the five choirs at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. As such, the Megaron Chamber Choir represents the peak of the choir pyramid of the St. Stanislaus Institute. In the fifteen years since its founding, the Megaron Chamber Choir has evolved into a high-quality choir, which regularly performs in Slovenia as well as in Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, USA and Canada, thereby earning a reputation at home as well as abroad.

The choir is known for its rich sound and exciting interpretations of music from different stylistic periods. It prides itself on having received numerous awards at various national as well as international choral competitions. Megaron Chamber Choir regularly works with renowned orchestras and conductors on vocal-instrumental projects.

In July 2021, choir gave a resounding performance at the Europa Cantat Festival in Ljubljana and presented Slovenian sacred and romantic music.


Conductor: Damijan Močnik

Damijan Močnik graduated from Ljubljana's the Academy of Music in composition and furthered his skills abroad, particularly in choral conducting (including with Eric Ericson). Since 1993, he has been working as music teacher, conductor and artistic leader of the musical activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium of the St. Stanislaus Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Together with his colleagues, he designed and established a choral pyramid, which has become an important aspect of Slovenian choral life. He began conducting in 1986 and has received numerous awards with his choirs. He is also the founder and artistic leader of the Slovenian Children's Choir. Since 2021 he has been a professor of analysis and compositional techniques at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. 

He participates in professional and artistic committees for cho­ral events, regularly lectures for music courses and symposiums and is a juror at choral compe­titions at home and abroad. For his artistic accomplishments and work as a music educator, he was awarded the Prešeren student prize by the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, the Gallus plaque by the Public Fund for Cultural Activities of the Re­public of Slovenia (the highest honour in the area of amateur culture), and the Republic of Slovenia's prize for extraordi­nary achievements in the field of education. 

Močnik is currently among the most performed contemporary Slovene composers. His music has been recorded on numerous CDs, including four exclusively featuring his works: Verbum su­pernum prodiens (Carus, 2003), Adventus Domini nostri Jesu Christi (Astrum Music. 2009), Oratorium nativitatis (Slovenian Philharmonic. 2016) and ... et LUX perpetua (Carus 2017). 

 

 

 

Equal voices

Sonat Vox • Germany

The male ensemble Sonat Vox was founded by Justus Merkel in 2015. As former students of the Windsbach Boys’ Choir, the choristers have enjoyed a sound musical education since early childhood. In addition to the classic male choir line-up with tenors and basses, alto voices are also a part of the ensemble, affording an extraordinary and colourful sound. Their aspiration to their own musical interpretation, their common passion for music and coordinated voices lay the foundation for a high vocal quality.

The ensemble can perform a broad repertoire from Renaissance to modern music thanks to their exceptional line-up. They specially focus on sacred choral a cappella music including works by G. P. Palestrina, F. Schubert or R. Mauersberger among others. The ensemble’s first official tour abroad saw them perform in the United Kingdom in London, Windsor Castle, Cambridge, and Edinburgh, among other places.

Another highlight in their achievements was a special prize awarded by the Bavarian Radio, described as “the best choir in Bavaria by far" in 2020, endowed with the CD production of a sacred mass program.

 

Conductor: Justus Merkel

Justus Merkel was born in Ansbach in 1996. From 2005 he received his fundamental musical training with the renowned Windsbach Boys' Choir under the direction of Karl-Friedrich Beringer. As part of a voluntary social year after his high school graduation in 2014, he worked alongside choir director Martin Lehmann, who took over as director of the Windsbach Boys' Choir in 2011.

In spring 2015 Justus Merkel founded the chamber choir Sonat Vox, which he has conducted ever since.

Alongside numerous a cappella concerts across Germany, he conducted choral and orchestral projects with works such as J.S. Bach’s cantatas, the Mass in B minor and the Magnificat at the Würzburg Bach Days among others.

Under his direction, the choir has already won several awards.

In 2016, the Hessian Prime Minister awarded Merkel with the special prize for winning the first Men’s Choir Festival in Limburg and he was also awarded the choirmaster’s special prize.

Sonat Vox repeated its success in Limburg with an outstanding first place in May 2018..

Together with Professor Vytautas Miškinis, Merkel gave a concert in Hesse in 2018. As part of the concert, Sonat Vox premiered the work I know, which Miškinis had composed especially for Merkel’s choir.

In 2020, he successfully completed his studies in choral conducting at the Carl-Maria von Weber Hochschule for Music in Dresden under the direction of Professor Hans-Christoph Rademann.

 

Women's choir of the Akademický pěvecký sbor Vysoké školy báňské – technické univerzity Ostrava • Czech republic

The women's choir originates from the Academic Choir of the Technical University of Ostrava, formed by current and former students of the universities in Ostrava.

The choir was founded in 2000 and started performing under its current name in 2007. The women's choir is directed by Adam Sedlicky.

The choir's repertoire includes compositions from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic periods, 20th century compositions and contemporary works. Folk songs also play an important role.

In addition to the Czech Republic, the choir regularly performs abroad, for example in Spain, Belgium, Hungary, Argentina, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. The choir often takes part in prestigious festivals and performs vocal-oratorio works such as the Te Deum by Antonin Dvorak or the Christmas Oratorio by J. S. Bach.


Conductor: Adam Sedlický

Adam Sedlický (*1991) belongs to the youngest generation of Slovakian conductors. He studied the piano under Mgr. Art. Darina Švárná and conducting under doc. Štefan Sedlický at the Conservatory in Žilina. In 2016 he finished his magister degree in orchestral conducting under MgA. Jaroslav Kyzlink at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. He then undertook semester studies at the Academy of Music in Krakow, where he successfully participated in the conducting master classes led by the Polish conductor Gabriel Chmur. In 2021 he finished his doctorate at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica.

In the years 2012-2015 he was the Chief Conductor of the “Moravskoslezská Sinfonietta“ and the conductor of the “Májovák“ orchestra in Karviná, with which he also toured in Slovenia and Austria. In the 2015/2016 season he conducted the operetta/musical ensemble of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre in Ostrava. Since 2017 he has been a permanent conductor of the Opera ensemble of the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre and since 2020 a permanent conductor of the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. Amongst others he also worked with the Brno Philharmonic, the State Philharmonic Košice State, the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra, the State Chamber Orchestra Žilina, the Moravian Philharmonic Olomouc, the South Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra České Budějovice and the Trnava Chamber Orchestra.

Besides conducting orchestras he has also dedicated himself to choirs. Since 2015 he has been conducting the Academic Choir of the Technical University of Ostrava, with which he has been very successful. In 2018 he received the „Choir Master Junior“ prize from the Union of Czech Choirs. In 2019 he reached the final of the Italian “Romano Gandolfi International Competition for Choral Conductors“.

 

 

Additional choir

Sy'zan • Germany

Eight female singers get to know each other during their studies at the Mannheim State University of Music and Performing Arts and founded the vocal ensemble [sy'zan] in 2013.

The desire to experience and present a wide repertoire of vocal music for women's voices is always at the centre of the singers' attention: with the independent programmes "Images", "[sy'zan] in Wonderland" and "Nordisk", they perform mainly in south-western Germany.

In the ensemble category of the "Jugend Kulturell" competition, [sy'zan] competed in the finals in Hamburg in 2015. In 2018, they took part in the German Choir Competition, where [sy'zan] won a second prize in the vocal ensemble category as well as two special prizes for contemporary music and folk song interpretation. This year, the women's vocal ensemble produces its first CD together with the Rondeau label.

 

Opening concert

Bundesjugendchor

In August 2021, the Deutsche Musikrat (German Music Council) founded its third ensemble for the promotion of top young singers with an inaugural concert in the Philharmonie Berlin:

Around 50 excellent young choral singers from all over Germany aged 18 to 26 work in successive phases on concert programmes with works from the Renaissance to the present. Anne Kohler, artistic director, is responsible for the continuous vocal pedagogical work on a homogeneous, characteristic sound of the top ensemble.

 

Conductor: Anne Kohler

Anne Kohler studied school music in Hamburg as well as conducting, piano and singing in Karlsruhe. She extended her training with visits to masterclasses with Eric Ericsson, Frieder Bernius, Volker Hempfling,Tonu Kaljuste. Jens Johansen and members of the „Real Group“.

Since 2009 Anne Kohler has been professor of choral conducting at the Detmold University of Music. There she conducts the chamber choir as well as the jazz vocal ensemble "Pop-Up" and teaches a class of choral conductors. Guest conductorships have led Anne to state youth choirs, chamber choirs, the SWR Vokalensemble and the Rundfunkchor Berlin, where she rehearsed for Marcus Creed, Pierre Boulez, Roger Norrington and Ingo Metzmacher.

Stylistic range and flexibility in dealing with different vocal sound ideals characterise the work of Anne Kohler. As a juror and lecturer for conducting courses, choral conducting, jazz choral conducting and vocal training she is internationally successful.

 

 

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