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The Chamber Choir of the Collegium Musicum Berlin (FU/TU) was founded in 1989 and is made up of 32 singers. In 2011, Donka Miteva took over the musical direction of the Collegium Musicum and has since then led the ensemble to new musical successes while remaining within its traditional lines.
The chamber choir concentrates above all on a-cappella music but also performs works with a chamber music accompaniment as well as choral symphonic pieces. This produces an extremely varied programme, from real standard choral literature to contemporary premieres.
On numerous concert tours at home and abroad, including France, Spain, Italy and Bulgaria, the choir has taken part in various festivals, including the International Festival for Orthodox Music in 2012 in Pomorie/Bulgaria and Festivokal in the Wetterau/Hessen in 2013.
The chamber choir has won prizes at several competitions including the 2nd prize at the 35th. International Competition in 2014 in Varna, Bulgaria, the 2nd prize at the 33rd. International Competition in Vic in Spain in 2015 and in 2016 the 1st prize in the categories for contemporary music, folk songs and the general category at the 44th International Competition in Olomouc, Czech Republic. The choir was also voted „Absolute winner“ by the jury at the Grand Prix Competition.
Cond.: Donka Miteva
Donka Miteva was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and studied choral and orchestral conducting in Sofia and Düsseldorf. There followed master classes under Maestro Gianluigi Gelmetti, Kenneth Kiesler, Benjamin Zander, Jorma Panula or Jin Wang. She received numerous scholarships including from the European Academy Montepulciano, the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena or the „Richard Wagner“ Association in Düsseldorf.
From 2007 to 2011 she worked as choral conductor and music director at the municipal theatre in Münster. Since October 2011 she has been the artistic director and conductor of the Collegium Musicum Berlin.
As a conductor, Donka Miteva has won numerous prizes including one as the best conductor at the 7th International Competition for Young Choral Conductors in St. Petersburg, Russia, the prize for the best conductor at the 35th International Choir Competition in Varna (2014) and the 3rd prize at the 5th International Competition for young conductors Jeunesse Musicales with the Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest in 2014.
The Berlin Chamber Choir OPUS VOCALE combines solo vocal skills with the powerful aura of homogenous ensemble singing. Soloists and trained choral singers regularly come together to perform challenging concert projects. Founded by its artistic director Volker Hedtfeld in 2002, the repertoire of the chamber choir covers a wide range of works from almost all musical eras: from Palestrina to Penderecki, from the polyphonic choral music of the Renaissance and the baroque through the romantic choral literature up to the music of the 20th century.
OPUS VOCALE has mainly concentrated on a cappella music but is also dedicated to the great baroque oratorios. Here, the choir works with young orchestras such as the ensemble callinus, but also with traditionally established musical groups such as the Karl-Forster-Chor Berlin. OPUS VOCALE is also an advocate for contemporary music. The Motet „Des Vaters ewig 's Wort“ from the composer Carsten Borkowski from Dresden was premiered by the choir. There has also been a CD recording of Missa Orbis Factor (XI) by the Tübingen composer Jan Janca. In March 2016, a further CD was published with a recording of "Missa de Angelis" also from Jan Janca.
The choir has recorded two of their own CDs. In September 2011 CD " Missa Papae Marcelli, Christmas Choir Music from the Old Masters" was released, in June 2016, the CD "Reger and his time".
Cond.: Volker Hedtfeld
Born in Dortmund, he learned to play the piano as a child but also the organ, violin and viola. Later, he studied in Cologne, staring with school music. At the end of the 90s he founded his first vocal ensemble shortly before he movd to the University for the Arts in Berlin to first of all start studying orchestral conducting under Lutz Köhler. He later extended his training at the Ecumenical Institute for Church Music and studied choral conducting under Jörg-Peter Weigle at the Hanns Eisler University for Music in Berlin.
In Berlin, through the years, three choirs determined Volker Hedtfeld‘s artistic work: with singers from all over Germany he founded the chamber choir OPUS VOCALE and took over the “Cantorei” of the Reformation Church in Berlin-Moabit. In 2007 he became conductor and Artistic Director of the famous Karl-Forster-Choir, at the same time continuing his work with OPUS VOCALE. For him, the work with the choirs is an exciting task. For some years now, he has dedicated himself, in addition, to instrumental music. In 2009 together with the baroque violinist Monique Steffen he founded the "ensemble callinus", a chamber orchestra whose young musicians specialize in the historically accurate performance of Old Music.
Dependent of the Secretaría de Extensión Universitaria of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, the Coro Universitario de Mendoza was created on May 12, 1965 by its alma mater: maestro Felipe Vallesi. Since 1997, the ensemble has been led and conducted by maestra Silvana Vallesi.
The choir has obtained numerous prizes and awards at local, national and international levels. It is the first Latin American choir to be awarded the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing. The group has done intense artistic work spreading choral music from the universal repertoire with the emphasis on contemporary music, especially from Latin America. It has offered concerts in almost all Argentinian provinces, outstanding performances include those in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon – last visited in June, 2015. The choir has also given performances in many European countries as well as in North and South America. The ensemble does a intensive formative work acting as an instrument in workshops and master classes instructed by prestigious conductors both domestic and from abroad. As part of its pursuit of the 20th and 21st centuries avant-garde, the ensemble elaborates on interdisciplinary actions fusing with the visual arts in what has been coined as Choral-plastic practices.
Cond.: Silvana Vallesi
Born in Mendoza, Argentina, into a family of renowned musicians, she began her musical studies at the age of 8. Graduating from the College of Music in the Faculty of Arts of the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, she obtained a degree in Choral Conducting and a special mention for contemporary music interpretation.
Since 1997 she has conducted the Coro Universitario de Mendoza from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo. With this artistic institution she became the first Latin American conductor to win the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (2009, Tours, France) and also obtained other prizes. Her artistic activity has been highly recognized by specialized critics for her performance of contemporary music. She has worked on the Latin American repertoire together with its composers and with renowned national and foreign conductors in numerous operas and symphonic choral concerts.
Silvana Vallesi has often been invited as a jury member in national and international competitions and as clinician in several international choral conducting seminars and Master Classes. She served for both in Marktoberdorf – as a juror for the International Chamber Choir Competition 2013 as well as faculty member of the International Master Class for Choral Conductors 2007.
ONE is a young adult choir under the baton of Ms Lim Ai Hooi, one of the region’s most prominent choral directors. Established in June 2009, ONE currently consists of 35 singers, all of whom are choral enthusiasts with rich choral performing experience. In June 2012, ONE was invited as a guest choir for the 1st Portuguese Summer Choral Festival. In 2013, ONE took part in the Andrea O. Veneracion International Choral Festival in the Philippines and emerged with the first place in the Chamber Choir category. The choir then took part in the Llangollen International Musical Eistedfodd 2015 in Wales and came back with two second places and an appearance in the Choir of the World Grand Finals. Most recently, ONE achieved Laurea Summa Cum Laude for the Mixed Choirs and Musica Sacra at the Laurea Mundi Budapest in 2016. In 2014, ONE started a new annual concert series where the singers explore new genres of music with overseas clinicians, collaborating with Maestro Werner Pfaff from Germany. The choir was also featured in the Opening Ceremony of the 1st Singapore International Choral Festival in a joint performance with the SYC Ensemble Singers. In December, the choir put up a full length concert titled Seasons – The Earth in Motion in the Esplanade Concert Hall as part of Esplanade - Voices – A Festival of Song. The choir has since collaborated with Maris Sirmāis and put up her third concert in this series with Maestro André van der Merwe from South Africa in August 2016. With a vision to bring a new dimension to choral performances, ONE’s mission is to challenge conventional choral delivery to present a uniquely ONE experience. ONE hopes to engage, entertain and explore new themes and concepts with our audience in every performance.
Cond.: Lim Ai Hooi
Ai Hooi’s philosophy for choral music and teaching stems from her view that a fulfilling musical journey is one that is filled with sincerity, love and excellence. She uses the creation of music as a platform to share and infuse her values and beliefs in her singers, and inspires them to use the beauty of music to craft experiences that touch the hearts of the audience. Born in Penang, Malaysia, Ai Hooi graduated from the Royal College of Music, London with Majors in Piano and Voice. After moving to Singapore, she took on the role as educator and conductor to local school choirs and has since contributed greatly to developing the local choral scene through the nurturing of younger choral conductors and choristers. Her Singapore school choirs have achieved many top awards in both local and international competitions over the past 20 years. Internationally, Ai Hooi has been working as Festival Director of the Singapore International Choral Festival and the Co-Artistic Director of Festival Coral de Verão in Lisbon, Portugal since 2012. She also regularly conducts workshops and adjudicates at choral festivals and competitions in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.
In 2009, Ai Hooi established the ONE Chamber Choir.
Consolatio Choir was established on July 7th 1990 at North Sumatra University (USU) in Medan. At first, it was started as a college students' choir. In further developments, now Consolatio Choir accepts members not limited to North Sumatra University college students, by considering the high standard to ensure the quality and development of the group.
Consolatio Choir commits to the development on vocal musical arts. The choir also holds its existence by actively participates in various places, domestically and internationally.
During its existence, Consolatio Choir had received number of achievements from local to international events. For example, receiving two medals for Musica Sacra and Mixed Youth Choir on the 5th World Choir Games in Graz, Austria, on July 2008. In addition, a gold and silver medal on the 4th World Choir Games in Xiamen, China on 2006. Lastly, gold medal and silver medal on the 2nd Bali International Choir Festival on July 2013.
During its lifetime, Consolatio Choir will keep on carrying out its visions and missions as a participation in developing choir and church music in Indonesia.
Cond.: Tony Siagian
Tony Siagian is the founder and Conductor of Consolatio Choir of Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU), who graduated from Civil Engineering of USU.
He studied music and choir (vocal and music interpretation) mentorized by Edward. C. Van Ness and Dr. Rhoderick Mc.Neill, when he joined Ansambel Nommensen.
Tony Siagian has been actively involved in so many choir events like seminars and symposiums, such as master class for conducting with Wolfgang Seeliger, with Christian Ljunggren about western music from Renaissance to Contemporary Music, and master class for building expressive conducting and Gospel & Spiritual with Prof. Andre de Quadros.
Until now, he is still active in mentoring church choirs and school choirs in North Sumatra and Riau Province.
Kammerkoret NOVA (NOVA Chamber Choir) of Oslo, Norway, is an ambitious amateur ensemble of 32 singers, led by musical director Mr. Yuval Weinberg. Founded in 2001 by Anne Karin Sundal-Ask, NOVA has established a reputation for giving audiences memorable concert experiences, focusing on homogeneous sound and communicating emotions in the music.
To NOVA, international competitions have been a source of motivation to improve. Among the choir's merits so far are three category victories and the Grand Prize of Concorso Polifonico Guido d'Arezzo 2004; participation in the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing 2005 in Varna, Bulgaria; 3rd prize in Polyphony and the Prize for best interpretation of a Basque piece in the Tolosa Choral Contest 2007; two category victories in the Grieg International Choir Festival 2009; and category victory as Best Adult Choir of the EBU choir competition "Let the Peoples Sing" 2009.
NOVA regularly commissions new music or rearrangements. The CD "To Whom We Sing" (2011) consists of newly commissioned settings of Norwegian and British Christmas songs. NOVA's two CDs, "To Whom We Sing" and "Nova" (2008) both received favourable reviews in the press and are regularly played on Norwegian classical radio stations.
Cond.: Yuval Weinberg
Yuval Weinberg has a bachelor's degree in choral conducting from the Hochschule Hanns Eisler Berlin, where he was taught by Professor Jörg-Peter Weigle. Weinberg started his musical education at a young age, as a pianist and singer in the Israeli youth choir Li-Ron. He further studied orchestral conducting with Yi-An Xu at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at the University of Tel-Aviv, where he received a stipend for excellent performance. In Berlin, Weinberg worked with several chamber choirs, like the Neuer Chor Berlin, Enchore and Hortus vocalis (where he also serves as artistic director). As a guest conductor for Li-Ron, he has conducted at several concerts in Europe and Israel. Since 2014 he has been a scholarship holder of the "Dirigentenforum" of the German Music Council. As part of this programme, in addition to other master classes and projects, he has worked with several professional choirs, like the Rundfunkchor Berlin, the Swedish Radio Choir, MDR Rundfunkchor, NDR Rundfunkchor and the chorus of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. Weinberg is regularly invited to conduct other professional choirs, like The Norwegian Soloist Choir, the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks and the Philharmonischer Chor Berlin.
In spring 2016, Weinberg graduated from the master's programme in choral conducting at the Norwegian Music Academy.
The choir was founded in 2003 under the name of Swedbank choir. The choir was renamed to Emils Darzins Mixed Choir in 2014.The choir has participated in various musical events such as amateur choir gatherings in Latvia, international festivals and contests. Moreover, the choir has performed in a cappella concerts as well as instrumental concerts with organ and orchestra and has taken part in theatre plays, Riga Christmas concerts, church services and charity events.
A significant role in the choir’s repertoire has been given to new pieces composed especially for the choir, one of the most extensive ones being E. Esenvalds’s oratorio “Saullēktā” (In The Sunrise) for choir and orchestra. The year 2015 was started with participating in the play “Raina sapni” (Dreams of Rainis) in the National Theatre of Latvia, where the choir performs pieces by Jekabs Nimanis. The play was nominated the best play of the year and the composer received prize for the best theatre music of the year. So far the choir has sung in plays 22 times with more to come.
At Easter time 2016 the choir performed J.S.Bach’s St. John Passion with the Vidzeme orchestra and conductor Andris Veismanis and in summer 2015 participated in the Spittal Choir Competition receiving 2nd place in folklore and 1st place in the original music category as well as the audience choice (sympathy) award.
Cond.: Nora Vitina
The conductor and artistic director Nora Vītiņa graduated from the Riga Dome Choir School where she studied choral conducting under Aivars Krastiņš. She later received a Bachelor of Music in Choral Conducting from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music under Andris Veismanis and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting under Romans Vanags. She has sung as a member of the chamber choir "Ave Sol," the youth choir "Kamēr...," and the State Choir "Latvija." As a conductor, she has worked with the women's choir "Vaiva" in Talsi, Latvia, as well as the mixed choir "Ridzene". Nora has worked as the Artistic Director of the Emīls Dārziņš Mixed Choir since the spring of 2015. Additionally, Nora works as a singer in the world-renowned vocal group "Latvian Voices."
Chamber Choir “Aidija” was found in 1989 in Vilnius in the National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art on the initiative of Romualdas Gražinis. Choir members are mainly former and current students of National M. K. Čiurlionis School of Art, students of the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy. Every year choir “Aidija” holds 30-35 concerts in Lithuania and abroad (Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, China, Finland, Poland, and the Czech Republic).
In 1992 the choir won a laureate in the International Choir Competition in Great Britain, in 1994 in a similar competition in the same country (Llangollen) won the title of best youth choir. “Aidija” is a participant at many music festivals and other cultural events in Lithuania and abroad. In the concerts “Aidija” performs a huge variety of Lithuanian and foreign classical and contemporary composers’ works. In 1992 the choir was awarded the Prize for the promotion of old music from the magazine “Krantai”, in 1993 the choir was given a second S. Šimkus Prize for the promotion of contemporary Lithuanian choral music.
The choir first performed complex works of several Lithuanian composers. It successfully cooperated with the Church Heritage Museum and held here 12 concerts during the period of 2012-2014, most of them – the music-educational program, including lectures on the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Sapiegos, Radvilos, Pacai, Goštautai) and concerts, presenting a wealth of church music. At the present, the lecture-concert project “Musica Sacra: XIV-XXI century church music masterpieces” has been successfully implemented. Listeners are introduced to the Gregorian chant and early polyphony, Renaissance, Baroque composers.
Cond.: Romualdas Gražinis
Romualdas Gražinis studied at the Vilnius M. K. Čiurlionis Arts Gymnasium. In 1985 he graduated from the Vilnius Conservatoire as a conductor and a teacher. He has worked in the M. K. Čiurlionis Arts Gymnasium since 1983. He has participated in the “Nauja Muzika” (“New Music”) Company under the leadership of S. Nakas. In autumn 1989 R. Gražinis studied Gregorian Chant at the Paris Conservatoire under the guidance of Professor Louis-Marie Vigne. Later he continued his studies at the Boulogne Conservatoire under the guidance of Pierre Calmelet. In 1994 he participated in the international master class of P. Philips for ancient choral music. R. Gražinis received a special award for young artists by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and Education in 1992 and 1994.
Romualdas Gražinis became a founder member of „Cantores chorales capellae s. Casimiri“. He has also been the founder and the main conductor of the chamber choir „Aidija“ since 1989. He won numerous international choral music contests with „Aidija“ as well the choir of M. K. Čiurlionis art gymnasium. Since 1990, he has been teaching choral music in the M. K. Čiurlionis art gymnasium. He is the main teacher of Gregorian chant practice in „Ad Fontes“ academy. Romualdas Gražinis is the main conductor and founder of Schola Cantorum Vilnensis.
Chamber Choir Megaron was founded in October 2003 on the initiative of Damijan Močnik, composer and conductor, after several years of its singers already performing together in different groups and predominantly in individual projects. The choir represents the peak of the choir pyramid in the St. Stanislav institution as it mainly unites students who previously received music education in five choirs of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. After 13 years of work, Chamber Choir Megaron has evolved into an excellent choir performing regularly in Slovenia as well as in Austria, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Poland, Canada, USA and thus earning its good reputation at home as well as abroad.
The choir is characterized by a distinguishing, rich sound and inspiring interpretations of music from different stylistic periods. It has won awards at numerous prestigious national as well as international choral competitions.
Chamber Choir Megaron regularly collaborates with renowned orchestras (The Munich Symphony Orchestra, The RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, The Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra), and conductors (David de Villier, Jacek M. Blasczyk, Martina Batič, En Shao, Valerij Gergiev) and participates in challenging vocal-instrumental projects such as W. A. Mozart: Krönungsmesse, B. Britten: The World of The Spirit, G. Faure: Requiem, F. Poulenc: Stabat Mater, D. Močnik: Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem, to mention but a few.
Cond.: Damijan Močnik
Damijan Močnik, born in 1967, completed his musical studies (composition) at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in 1991. He developed his craft by studying abroad, which included coaching with Swedish conductor Eric Ericson.
Since 1993, Damijan Močnik has been the choral conductor and music director at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and since 2000, the artistic director of all musical activities at the St. Stanislaus Institution in Ljubljana. Damijan is the conductor for several choirs, and has won several awards at national and international choral competitions.
Damijan Močnik also works as a composer. In 2006 he was composer-in-residence at the Bavarian Music Academy Marktoberdorf and was invited to be the leader of the Composer's Conducting workshop at Europa Cantat 2006 in Mainz, Germany. His compositional efforts are mainly devoted to the human voice, but he has also composed instrumental pieces. Močnik’s musical speech finds its inspiration in selected texts, and is grounded in rhythmic and melodic stimuli. The melodic narration evolves as a solid form framed in diverse polyphone, polytonal and polychordal structure. Močnik's compositions have been performed all over the world and thrill musicians and audiences around the world with their directness, and numerous dramatic turns with rich, exceptional and mysterious sonorities.
Azusa Pacific University Chamber Singers, directed by Michelle Jensen, DMA (ABD), perform a variety of musical styles and periods ranging from early Renaissance to contemporary a capella. In addition to their performances at local concerts, Chamber Singers has toured Germany, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, and Italy, including featured performances at the Sydney Opera House and the Vatican. They have collaborated with artists and composers including Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre, Hila Plitman, Linda Eder, Sydney Guillaume, Ben Bram and Ralph Carmichael.
In July 2013, Chamber Singers represented the United States in the 50th International Competition for Choirs in Spittal an der Drau, Austria and took first place in both the classical and folk music categories, becoming the first American choir to win the competition since 1987. They were also awarded the Ferdinand-Grossman Award for the best performance of a contemporary work for their performance of Eric Whitacre’s “With a Lily in Your Hand.”
Chamber Singers recently traveled to Ireland and the United Kingdom, singing at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin as well as competing in the International Music Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
Cond.: Michelle Jensen
Michelle is a choral director, clinician, and teacher. Currently in her 15th year conducting Chamber Singers and teaching Music Education at Azusa Pacific University, she has also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern California, where she earned her BM, MME and DMA in Choral Music (ABD). She is represented by the Fred Bock Music Company in the Michelle Jensen Choral Series, dedicated to publishing pedagogical and performance editions of high quality choral literature.
The Georgia State University Singers is the School of Music's premier vocal ensemble. Selected by competitive audition, the choir is comprised of music majors and non-majors, undergraduate and graduate students and represents the diverse population of Georgia State University. In May 2013, the University Singers competed in La Florilege Vocal de Tours where they placed in the mixed choir category. The ensemble's invited performances include appearances before the Georgia Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association and at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards. The Singers' tours have taken them throughout much ofthe United States, including Carnegie Hall on two occasions, and six international tours with stops in France, Belgium, ltaly, Yugoslavia, Finland, Russian, Estonia, Canada and Great Britain. Their new CD, Evening Hymn, was recently released.
Cond.: Deanna Joseph
Dr. Deanna Joseph is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the Georgia State University School of Music where she conducts the University Singers and Ieads the master's program in choral conducting. In 2015, she was the recipient of the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award at Georgia State, where she was selected out of a pool of over 800 faculty.
In May 2013, she was honored with the Prix du chef de choer ( conducting prize ) in the Florilege Vocal de Tours. Deanna Joseph holds conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, where she was awarded the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. She is the founder and artistic director of the Atlanta Summer Conducting Institute (ASCI), a weeklong masterclass that draws conductors from all across the country and takes place annually during June.
Popular choir music
Pop-Up is the name of the 30 singer strong a-cappella vocal ensemble from the University for Music in Detmold, which sings pop songs, jazz standards, song writer titles and is not even afraid of folk music. The members of the group study in the faculties for school music, singing, sound engineering and musical education.
Pop-Up enjoys rhythm, vocal sound painting, colourful harmonies and seeks to make music with each other. At the centre of their work are interesting arrangements for choirs and a stylistic openness for good music.
Pop-Up was founded in 2010 by its conductor, Anne Kahler and in 2012 won the Junge Kunst promotional award from the Volksbank Paderborn Höxter. In 2013, the ensemble took part in the Voc.Cologne and the Aarhus Vocal Festival [DK] and in June 2014 they sang as the background choir to the Rolling Stones in the Düsseldorf Esprit Arena in front of an audience of 50000 people.
Cond.: 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 master classes with Eric Ericsson, Frieder Bernius, Volker Hempfling and Tonu Kaljuste. Choral rehearsals for Pierre Boulez, Marcus Creed and Roger Norrington led her more than once to the SWR vocal ensemble. Workshops with the Real Group from Sweden, Jens Johansen from ''vocal line", Thierry Lalo (Paris] and working closely together with the arrangers Martin Carbow and Oliver Gies all influenced Anne Kohler’s work with jazz choirs.
As a leader of courses and workshops on conducting, vocal training and conducting jazz choirs and as a jury member, she is well known throughout the country. From 1996 to 2009, Anne Kohler was lecturer for choral conducting and singing at the University for Music in Hanover, where she founded the jazz choir ''Vivid Voices". Since April 2009, Anne Kohler has been Professor for Choral Conducting at the University for Music in Detmold.
The approx. 35 singers of Greg is back perform a cappella in the world of pop, rock, R&B and jazz at a level which one only rarely hears from a choir. Most of the titles from the extremely varied repertoire were arranged especially for Greg is back by the conductor, Martin Seiler. Thanks to the vocal percussion and the use of microphones for each singer, the sound and style are more orientated towards a cappella groups than classical choirs. In its still young career - the group was founded in 2011 – the choir can already look back on some important successes, including winning the category P (pop, jazz, gospel) at the famous International Choir Competition in Budapest. Also at the Bavarian Choir Competition in 2013, Greg is back (with the same number of points as two other choirs) left the stage as winners of the category pop/jazz. At the following German Choir Competition in 2014 in Weimar, the choir sang its way to 2nd place. The rapidly growing number of fans, fantastic press reactions and sold out concerts speak for themselves. Greg is back has until now published two CDs.
Cond.: Martin Seiler
Martin Seiler (*1974) has been a solid member of the Southern German a cappella scene for more than 20 years and is known among other things as the founder, arranger and singer of such a cappella groups as SixPäck and CASH-N-GO. In addition to his live appearances he was responsible in TV as arranger and singer for the musical a cappella accompaniment to the weekly „Allerbesten Sebastian-Winkler-Show“ in Bavarian Radio and at the Eins Festival. In 2011 he fulfilled a long time wish and founded with Greg is back an uncompromising pop choir. Almost all the arrangements in the repertoire of Greg is back were written by Martin Seiler himself, in order to provide, if possible, an unmistakable programme. In addition, he regularly appears as a free coach for choirs in Germany and in German speaking foreign countries.
The idea of Jazz'elles came to Jean- Claude Wilkens after a conversation during the 2013 festival Les Choralies in the South of France. A few auditions later he and Herve Noirot, his faithful pianist partner, were surrounded by some lady singers, coming from Belgium, the South of France, the Alps and the Lyon area in order to create this vocal group. Three wonderful musicians have completed the group : John Zidi, bass; Josselin Perrier, drums and Cedric Migazzi, saxophone, as well as Steve Zegree honored us with becoming the godfather of the group.
The ensemble consists of seventeen singers from very different artistic backgrounds. Some are professional musicians or music teachers, some are passionate jazz lovers. Some contribute their experience of the jazz world to the group and make improvisation sound easy, others bring vocal rigor and their long practice of choir singing to the ensemble. All work with great passion and dedication under the demanding yet encouraging direction of Jean-Claude Wilkens, who adds that gradually you find that every singer has secret talents to share .... it's fascinating.
Cond.: Jean-Claude Wilkens
In parallel to mathematical studies, Jean-Claude Wilkens studied music at the Conservatoire of Liege and the Conservatoire of Luxembourg in Pierre Cao's class of choir conducting. He perfected his training by following many conducting workshops.
His career as a music teacher quite quickly gave way to a career in cultural management for various musical organizations, including the International Federation for Choral Music, for which he was Secretary General (1999-2009) and since 2009, for A Coeur Joie (association and publishing house) in France. Even though his professional activities are closely linked to choral music making him a well-known figure in the choral world, Jean-Claude Wilkens has always considered conducting to be a hobby, the passion of an amateur, in the noble sense.
He has toured around the world with the vocal ensemble Hodie, female choir (1988 - 2013), and has been adjudicator in many choral competitions.
Los Cantantes de Manila is a choir composed of students, young professionals and devout musicians. LCDM displays the versatility of the Filipinos by performing serious music from the works of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy to the dance music of Beyoncé.
Since its inception in February 2014, the choir has learned new vocal techniques and were taught the virtues of dedication, respect, humility and loyalty. Under the baton of Darwin Vargas, LCDM won many competitions such as the Grand Prize of the 2015 Busan International Choral Festival and Competition in Busan, South Korea along with its Gold Prize in Classical/Mixed Choir Category and Silver Prize in Pop/A capella category. The group was also given honorable mention in the adult choir category of the 2015 National Music Competitions for Young Artists. In 2016, the group received its first Ani ng Dangal award given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The group was also one of the featured choirs in the 40th International Bamboo Organ Festival performing Johannes Sebastian Bach's "Mass in B minor" under Josef Doller - former conductor of the world-renowned Vienna Boys' Choir. LCDM also received training about baroque music and Bach by Professor Eudenice Palaruan – one of the most sought-after choral clinicians and music educators in the Philippines.
Committed to its mission to be Filipino cultural ambassadors of goodwill, Los Cantantes de Manila continuously harnesses its craft to promote goodwill and excellence through its God-given gift of ethereal music.
Cond.: Darwin B. Vargas
Darwin's love for choral music started at an early age of 16 when he joined Victorino Mapa High School Youth Choir under the tutelage of the Philippine Madrigal Singers alumna, Ms. Aida Aldama-Gallardo.
In his early college days, he joined A Cappella Manila under the brothers Prof. Rodel and Noel Bugarin and became its assistant choirmaster in 2004. In 2005, he joined the world-renowned University of the East Chorale under Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero, ex-resident arranger and alumna of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Exposure to European choirs and attending various workshops in Torrevieja, Spain, Marktoberdorf, Germany and many more developed his ear for refined choral sound and inspired him to be one of the organizers of several choral Masterclasses in the Philippines, featuring world-renowned conductors like Dr. Brady Allred, Vytautas Miskinis and Fred Sjöberg.
He conducted the Presidential Management Staff Chorale in Malacañang in 2011-2013, the BitMicro Choir in 2012, the SMDC Chorale in 2013. Presently, Darwin Vargas is the Musical Director of the Adamson University Chorale, the University of the East Chorale and Los Cantantes de Manila.