Ko Matsushita, (President of the Jury, Japan) Conductor and Composer, born and raised in Tokyo; graduated top of his class from the Kunitachi College of Music, Department of Composition; finished his Chorus Conductor master course at Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary; studied under Yuzuru Shimaoka, Koichi Uzaki, Thomas Meyer-Fiebig, Mohay Miklo’s for composing, the late Reményi János, Erdei Péter for chorus conducting, Masamitsu Takahashi for orchestral conducting, and Somoriai Paula for singing. Mr Ko Matsushita is taking multifaceted approaches to choral music by conducting, composing and teaching. He composes and arranges choral pieces, which are performed not only in Japan but all around the world. He also acts as resident conductor and artistic director of ten choirs, which perform both in Japan and abroad, achieving excellent reports in the competitions they participate in. Recently, one of his choirs, Vox Gaudiosa Chamber Choir, won the Grand Prix at the international competition “Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido d’Arezzo 2011″ in Italy. He receives many invitations from around the world to act as a guest conductor, judge competitions and teach in choral lectures and workshops. In 2010, he became guest conductor of Beijing University Student Choir. Furthermore, he has won best conductor’s award and prizes for superior composition in various international competitions. In 2005, Mr Matsushita became the first Asian to receive the “Robert Edler Prize for Choral Music”. This award is bestowed on the best conductor, composer, or choir for their extraordinary endeavors throughout that year around the globe. He has dedicated his works to American, Hungarian, Spanish, Norwegian, Latvian, Polish, Dutch, Taiwanese, Singaporean, Chinese and Japanese choirs and ensembles. Mr Matsushita’s works are performed by a large number of choirs from all over the world. He is a jury Member of the Japan Choral Association, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Association) School Choir competition, JCA (Japan Choral Association) National Choir Competition, Singapore Youth Festival 2007, Hong Kong Youth Choir Competition 2008, Seghizzi International Choral Competition in Italy 2008, Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain 2009 and 2010 and Florilège Vocale de Tours in France 2011. He is the author of a Junior High School music textbook published by Kyoiku Publishing. Additionally, he is a vice-president of the Tokyo Choral Association and a member of the Japan Choral Directors Association, The Japanese Society for the Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, Japan Composers and Arrangers Association, The Japan Kodaly Society and the International Kodaly Society. Also, he is a representative of the Workshop for Choral Expression. His works are mainly published by Edition KAWAI (Japan), Ongaku-no-tomo Edition (Japan), Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart (Germany), Sulasol (Finland) Annie Bank Edition (Holland).
Vytautas Miškinis (Member of the Jury, Lithuania) is the Artistic Director of the Ažuoliukas Boys’ and Men’s Choir, Professor of Choral Conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and President of the Lithuanian Choral Union. He graduated in Choral Conducting from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 1976 (conducting class of Prof. H. Perelšteinas). He began his career in Ažuoliukas at the age of seven as a vocalist, and continued as Artistic Director from the age of 25. All the achievements of the choir from 1979 have been due to Mr. Miškinis’ leadership. For several years he conducted the Kaunas State Choir and Vocal Ensemble Museum Musicum. With the choirs he has won prestigious prizes at numerous national and international competitions – in Marktoberdorf, Gorizia, Varna, Maribor, Tampere, Mainhausen, Nantes. Currently Mr. Miškinis is an Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the All-Lithuanian Choir Festival. Vytautas Miškinis has led choral performances in Europe, Canada, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, and the USA. A number of compositions for choir with Symphonic Orchestras have been conducted by Vytautas Miskinis. He has also lectured and held seminars on Music Education and conducting in Lithuania and abroad – in the Czech Republic, Korea, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Singapore and the Ukraine. He has participated in numerous national and international choral events as composer and advisor. He has led workshops and has been a Member of the Jury at International Choir and Choral Composition Competitions worldwide. Vytautas Miškinis has composed about 400 religious motets a cappella, 18 Masses, Magnificat, Cantatas, Musicals and about 400 secular songs , which are performed by choirs throughout Lithuania and the rest of Europe. Lithuanian and foreign choirs have recorded his compositions on CD. Many compositions for children’s choirs are published in Lithuania and a couple of religious compositions also in France, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Latvia and the USA. V. Miškinis has several times been awarded prestigious State and Government Prizes such as Honoured Artist of Lithuania, the Prize for Culture and Art, Order of Grand Duke Gediminas, Medal of Duke Žygimantas Augustas. In 2002 as a composer he was nominated “Author of the Year”. In 2010 Carus Verlag Publishing House, Germany, recorded the CD “V.Miškinis Portrait“ (Consonare Choir),Hyperion in UK published the CD “The Time is Endless” (choir of Royal Holloway University).
Graham Lack (Member of the Jury, Germany/UK) studied Composition and Musicology at Goldsmiths’ College and King’s College in the University of London (BMus Hons Lond, MMus) and Music Pedagogy at Bishop Otter College (Cert. Ed.) in the University of Chichester, moving to Germany in 1982 for doctoral studies at the Technische Universität Berlin. He held a Lectureship in Music at the University of Maryland 1990-1998 and has chaired symposia on New Music for the University of Oxford and the Goethe Institut. He contributes to Groves Dictionary and Tempo. Choral works include Sanctus (commissioned by Queens’ College Cambridge), Hermes of the Ways (for Akademiska Damkören Lyran Helsinki) and Estraines (a commission for the King’s Singers, recorded on Signum). The Legend of Saint Wite for high voices and string quartet was a 2008 BBC prize-winner. REFUGIUM, for chorus, organ and percussion was premiered by Trinity Boys Choir London in 2009 and recorded live in 2012 in the Herz Jesu-Kirche Munich for CD and LP release. Other recent works are Four Lullabies (recorded by VOCES8 on Signum), Wondrous Machine (for multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger), Nine Moons Dark for large orchestra, and the cantata The Angel of the East. The cycle Demesnes for Quartonal (recorded on Sony Classical) was performed at the Mecklenberg Vorpommern Festival in 2013 and the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in 2014. The Pencil of Nature for string trio was commissioned by ‘musica viva’ Munich in 2011, and A Sphere of Ether for chorus and orchestra in 2012 by Young Voices of Colorado and Littleton Symphony Denver. Michaelmas Dark for organ solo was premiered at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2013. The Preludes for solo piano are dedicated to Hélène Grimaud (Truth), Dejan Lazić (Strange), Per Rundberg (Charm) and others. The UK premiere of nos. 1-2 was given by Lukáš Vondráček in the Queen Elizabeth Hall London in February 2015, a month that also saw the premiere in Würzburg by the Monteverdi Chor and Vogtland Philharmonie of Sitherwood, for large orchestra, chorus and soprano. Future projects include a violin concerto The Windhover for Benjamin Schmid and a canticle The English Sweate for VOCES8. Graham Lack is Corresponding Member of the Institute of Advanced Musical Studies King’s College London. He was Jury President for the First and Second Competition for Choral Composition held under the auspices of the International Federation for Choral Music and is erstwhile Consultant Editor of the organisation’s quarterly Choral Bulletin. He is currently Artistic Director of the concert series ‘punkt5’ in Schloss Bissingen Germany. His works are published variously by Musikverlag Hayo, Schott, Edition Peters and Thomi-Berg.
Ivo Antognini (Member of the Jury, Switzerland) received a degree in piano in 1985 at Lucerne, where he studied with Nora Doallo. He then studied at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern with pianist Joe Haider. Early in his career he composed music for television and film as well as jazz works. In 2006 he met with Coro Calicantus, a world-class children’s choir, and its director Mario Fontana, and since that time he has devoted his efforts largely to the composition of choral works. He has been described as “an important new voice” by The American Organist Magazine. His choral works have won awards in national and international choral composition events and are performed by top choirs throughout the world. In July 2012, he was invited by the American Choral Directors Association to present his choral music at the Seventh World Choir Games in Cincinnati, USA, where he served as one of the adjudicators. Antognini writes music for choirs of all levels and has a distinctive personal style. In 2013, his O Magnum Mysterium was listed as the “Editor’s Choice” by J.W. Pepper and “Best of the Best 2013″ by Northwest Music (Canada). His choral works are published by Alliance Music Pub., Porfiri & Horváth, de Haske, Hal Leonard, Annie Bank Edition, G. Schirmer, Ferrimontana and others. Ivo Antognini teaches ear training and piano at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (Switzerland). He lives in the village of Aranno with his wife and two children.
Fabio Pecci (Member of the Jury, Italy) studied violoncello at Ravenna’s officially recognized “G. Verdi” Music School graduating with brilliant results. As a cellist his busy concert activity has led him to perform in theatres and concert halls in Italy and abroad. He has been awarded prizes in many competitions and has recorded seven CDs for Tactus, Bongiovanni and other labels. He founded and directs “Le Allegre Note” treble voice choir and “Note in Crescendo” youth choir, with which he has also performed in prestigious theatres. With these two choirs he has over 400 performances, audio and television recordings to his credit. With them he also recorded three albums which include his own choral arrangements. With Note in Crescendo he has held concerts in Berlin, Saint Etienne (Lyon) and in Czech Republic. With Le Allegre Note he also took part in the production of ‘Te Deum’ by H. Berlioz, held in Bologna in October 2008, under the direction of Claudio Abbado, and was responsible for the preparation of the treble voices in Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’. Treble voice trainer and chorus master for the production of ‘Tosca’ staged for the 2010 New Year in Rimini, he was responsible for the treble voices in the production of Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ in many theatres, as well as for ‘Carmina Burana’ by C. Orff, with the soloists of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. An enthusiast of children’s vocalism, he also directs the activity of Rimini’s “Piccole Voci di Carla Amori” and “Una Canzone per Crescere” at Valconca Comprehensive School. As choir director, he has received awards and gained recognition in National and International Competitions. Since 2013 he has been a member of the Artistic Committee of A.E.R.CO – The Regional Choirs Association. As conductor of the youth choir “Note In Crescendo” he represented the Emilia Romagna region at the Choral festival ‘EXPO Milano 2015’.
Francisco José Carbonell (Member of the Jury, USA/Spain) completed his studies in Composition at the Conservatory of Music of Valencia. He moved to Rome to continue his studies in Composition at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, where he obtained the highest level of qualification, “Summa cum Laude”. He also studied Organ, Gregorian Chant and Choral Conducting at the same institute. He has been a member of the “Cappella Giulia”, the choir of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and has received awards in composition competitions in Spain, Italy, England and Scotland. He is currently the Music Director and Organist at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the winner of the MusicaFicta International Competition for Choral Composition 2014.