Romans Vanags (President of the Jury, Latvia) – a graduate of Emils Darzins’ specialized music college and of the Department of Choir and Orchestra Conducting of Jāzeps Vitols’ Latvian State Conservatory in Riga (currently named – Jāzeps Vitols’ Latvian Academy of Music). He received diploma in choir conducting as well as in music pedagogy. In addition, he was studying also symphonic orchestra conducting. In 2003 he received professional master’s degree in music. Romans Vanags’ professional work has been connected with conducting and pedagogy. Romans Vanags has been the chief conductor of teachers’ choir named Vanema for years (1984-2004) and since 1990 he has been the principal conductor of the Latvian University female choir named Minjona. Since 1987 he has been chief conductor and artistic director of Jāzeps Mediņš Music School Boys` Choir. In 1990-1993 he worked with Jazeps Medins Music College Symphonic Orchestra. Since 1987 Romans Vanags was employed at the Latvian Music Academy in Riga as professor of choir conducting. He has been the organizer of various courses for conductors in numerous countries around the world and also jury member of many international choral competitions. He has also been appointed as one of the chief conductors of the All Latvian Song Celebration (in 1993, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2008 and 2013) and the Youth Song Festival (in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010) as well. Since 2008 he are also council member of World Choir Games (WCG) organisation. Since 2012 prof. Romans Vanags is the artistic director of WCG 2014 in Riga. The choirs conducted by Romans Vanags have won numerous awards at international competitions (Arezzo, Debrecen, Tour, Varna, Powel River etc.) and made concert tours all over the world. In 2008 Romans Vanags received the highest civil decoration in Latvia – the Three Star Order. As Artistic Director and Choral Conductor, Romans Vanags took part in the most important musical events all over the world (Finland, Hungary, Croatia, USA, Austria, Russia, Malaysia, Italy, Lithuania, Indonesia, Malta, Spain). Since 2010 he has been professor in master-classes and workshops in Conservatories, Musical Academies and Festivals in Italy, South Africa, Croatia, Iceland, China, Finland, Malaysia, Singapore, Denmark, Indonesia.
Artistic Director and Conductor of the Salt Lake Choral Artists in Salt Lake City, Utah, Brady R. Allred (Member of the Jury, USA) has developed “an international reputation for excellence.” Under his direction the Salt Lake Choral Artists, a non-profit arts organization of seven choirs and 300 singers, has achieved critical acclaim for their innovative concerts, Summer Choral Institute program, international tours, and YouTube channels. Dr. Allred was honored by The Salt Lake Tribune and named as one of Utah’s Top 25 Cultural Power Brokers. Known around the world for “exquisite choral singing,” Dr. Allred’s ensembles have been invited to participate in major festivals and competitions around the world. They won the Grand Prize at the Florilège Vocal de Tours (France), the European Grand Prix, and First Prizes at the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, the Tolosa (Spain) International Choir Competition , and the Concorso Polifonico Internazionale in Arezzo, Italy. He was also awarded the Conductor’s Prize in Marktoberdorf, Germany. The Salt Lake Vocal Artists represented the USA at the World Choral Symposium in Argentina and have recently toured to Bulgaria, Turkey, and Japan. Prior to his full-time appointment as Artistic Director of SLCA, Dr. Allred was Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Utah. He was also the Music Director and Conductor for the Butler Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania, Director of Choral Activities at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and Artistic Director and Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh. He has been a guest conductor for the Schumann Chamber Orchestra in Italy, the Wroclaw Philharmonic in Poland, the Symphonic Orchestra of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He has performed with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers and the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus under Helmuth Rilling. He has served on international juries for competitions in Germany, Belgium, France, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand. Dr. Allred earned his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and his undergraduate degree in Theory/Composition and Flute Performance from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, soprano Carol Ann Allred, have traveled and performed extensively as Artistic Ambassadors for the United States Information Agency.
Javier Busto (Member of the Jury, Spain) was born in Hondarribia (Gipuzkoa) on 13 November 1949. A choral singer since childhood, in his youth he was part of various rock and folk music groups. He was awarded a degree in medicine by the University of Valladolid. Selected through national entrance exams for the role of family doctor with the Servicio Vasco de Salud–Osakidetza, he currently practices his profession in Lezo (Gipuzkoa). As a musician he is self taught. He began to enter the world of choral music with the help of the maestro Erwin List. While at the University of Valladolid he became conductor of the Ederki Basque choir (1971-6), a position in which he won Third Prize at a competition in Tolouse in 1975. It was during this time that he began to write his first choral works. Founder and conductor of the Eskifaia Choir of Hondarribia (1978-1994), he won First Prize at Ejea de los Caballeros, Tolosa, Avilés, Tours (France), Gorizia (Italy), Spittal an der Dräu (Austria) and Mainhausen, Marktoberdorf (Germany). He also founded and conducted Kanta Cantemus Korua (1995-2007), in Gipuzkoa, a female choir with which he won first prize at Tours (France) (1997-2007) and in Tolouse (1999). He won prizes for composing at Bilbao, Tolosa, Igualada and Madrid. His works have been published in Germany (Carus Verlag and Ferrimontana); France (Editions à Coeur Joie); the Basque Country (Bustovega and CM Ediciones Musicales); the UK (Oxford University Press); Sweden (Gehrmans Musikförlag) and the USA (Walton, Alliance Music Publishers and Santa Bárbara). He teaches courses and workshops on choral conducting and sits on the jury at choral composition and performance competitions in Germany, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Spain, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Taiwan and Venezuela. He is a member of the technical committee of the Certamen de Masas Corales in Tolouse.
Cristian Gentilini, (Member of the Jury, Italy) Composer and Choral Conductor, earned a degree in classic guitar at the Conservatory of Music Giovan Battista Martini of Bologna, under the guide of m° Eugenio Becherucci. He specialized with professors A. Ponce, A. Diaz and O. Ghiglia. At the same institution G.B. Martini he took the degree in choral music and choir conduction (m° Pier Paolo Scattolin) and the degree in composition (m° Francesco Carluccio). He attended master classes of choir conductions with G. Graden, L. Larsen, G. Grun, F. Heyerick. In october 2003 he was among the 12 final contestants at the International Competition Mariele Ventre for choir conduction. Founder and director of the vocal ensemble Ars Cantus (Bologna), he awarded the 1st Absolute Prize at the 3rd National Contest Riviera Etrusca. He awarded also many Prizes as composer in National and International Contests: 2nd Prize at the National Competition of composition Mozart oggi (Milano 2006); 1st Prize at the National Competition of choir composition Simone Gentile Arezzo 2006); 2nd Prize at the International Competition of choir composition organized by FTSC (Lugano, 2007); 3rd Prize at III International Composers Competition Musica Sacra (Cambridge, 2007); 1st Prize at the First International Musical composition Suono Sonda (Genova 2009). His music is edited by Sconfinarte (Brescia), Sinfonica (Milano), Isuku Verlag (Munich), Carrara (Bergamo), Edizioni Francescane (Assisi). He is the conductor of the Choir A.N.A. of Vergato, Choir CAI Alto Appennino Bolognese and of the Corale Polifonica S. Rita of Bologna. Since 2005 he is founder and co-director of the Chamber Choir Eclectica, specialized in the contemporary choral repertoire. He is professor of Music Theory at the Conservatory Fausto Torrefranca (Vibo Valentia). He is one of the ten selected Gregorian singer at the Schola Gregoriana Benedetto XVI in Bologna.
Born in Częstochowa in 1968, Paweł Łukaszewski (Member of the Jury, Poland) is a graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw, where he studied the cello (with Andrzej Wróbel, diploma in 1992) and composition (with Marian Borkowski, a diploma with distinction in 1995). He also finished the School for Arts Management at the University of Poznań (1994) and the postgraduate course in choral conducting at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz (1996). He took part in the course of computer music in Warsaw (1992), the courses for young composers in Kazimierz Dolny (1992, 1993) and the summer courses in contemporary music in Kraków (with Bogusław Schaeffer, 1993). He has been on the faculty of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music since 1996. In 2000 he gained his Ph.D. in composition (supervisor: Professor Marian Borkowski), in 2007 he received a post-doctoral degree and in 2010 the title of Professor. He worked as a visiting professor in Chile and Argentina (2003, 2006). He has received numerous commissions from Poland and abroad (Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland) and has held many grants, including those from the Częstochowa Town Council (1991-1992), the Professor Bogdan Suchodolski Foundation (1995), the ZAiKS Authors’ and Composers’ Association (1996), the Arts Promotion Fund of the Ministry of Culture (several times) and the President of Warsaw (2010). His honours include First Prize at the Composers’ Competition in Łomża (1988), an honourable mention at the Tadeusz Baird Composers’ Competition (1994), First Prize at the Warsaw Music Academy Competition (1994), Second Prize at the 2nd Young Composers’ Forum in Kraków (1994), Second Prize at the Adam Didur Competition in Sanok (1996), and Second Prize at the 27th International ‘Florilege Vocal de Tours’ Competition in France (1998). He won the ‘Fryderyk’ Awards of the Polish Phonographic Academy (2005, 2006), the Award of the town of St Quentin (for the best performance of a contemporary work) at the Concours Europeen de Choeurs et Maitrises de Cathedrales (2006). He has received the Commander’s Cross of the ‘Order of Polonia Restituta’ (1998), the award of the Mayor of Częstochowa for outstanding compositional achievements (1995), the award of the Rector of the Music Academy in Warsaw (2005), the Saint Brother Albert Chmielowski Award for outstanding achievements in composition, conducting and organization of musical life (2006), the Gloria Artis Medal of Merit for Culture (2011) and the Award from the Primate of Poland (2011). His works have been performed at over 100 festivals in Poland and abroad. His discography includes over 100 CDs (Hyperion, Acte Préalable, Polskie Nagrania Edition, DUX, Musica Sacra Edition, Signum Records), seven of which received the Fryderyk Awards (in various categories – choral music & oratorios, contemporary music, vocal music) and twenty eight were nominated for the award. Over fifty of his pieces have been published in Britain (ChesterNovello), Poland (PWM Edition), Germany (Edition Ferrimontana, Choris Mundi), Italy (Edizioni Carrara) and the United States (Lorenz Corporation). Paweł Łukaszewski has served as the Director of the International Festival ‘Laboratory of Contemporary Music’ (since 1995) and as President of the Musica Sacra Association (since 2000). He is a member of the ZAiKS Association of Authors and Composers, the Presidium of the Council of the Phonographic Academy and of the artistic council of the Gaude Mater International Festival of Sacred Music in Częstochowa. He has sat on the juries of the composers’ competitions in Arezzo, Moscow and Bucharest. He is Artistic Director and Conductor of ‘Musica Sacra’ Choir of the Warsaw-Praga Cathedral and of the Musica Sacra Edition. In recent years Paweł Łukaszewski’s music has gained a high recognition in Britain. His works have been performed (and some premiered) by such renowned choral ensembles from London and Cambridge as The Holst Singers, BBC Singers, Trinity College Choir, Tenebrae, Britten Sinfonia and Polyphony under the direction of prominent conductors Stephen Layton and Nigel Short. Two CDs devoted exclusively to his music have been released by Hyperion.
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. Awarded in many competitions, he 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 3 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 Boheme. Treble voice trainer and chorus master for the 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. From 2013 he is a member of the Artistic Committee of A.E.R.CO – The Regional Choirs Association.
Ilario Muro (member of the Jury, Italy) was born in Vercelli where he studied at the Viotti School of Music. His introduction to singing came at the age of six, when he joined the treble voice choir at San Cristoforo church, Vercelli, under the guidance of the Dominican friars. He was a pupil of the late musician and composer Father Dante Destefanis. He subsequently joined the San Cristoforo polyphonic choir, becoming Choir-Master at the age of just eighteen. He moved to Rimini in 1988 and became Director of the Youth Choir founded three years previously, in 1985, at the parish church of Gesù Nostra Riconciliazione; the choir later took the name Jubilate Deo. Mr Muro attended courses held by Marco Gemmani, by Giovanni Acciai and courses in Gregorian Chant and Semeiotics held by Professors Oscar Chiodini and Massimo Pacifero at the Santa Cecilia Diocesan School of Music, Rimini. Mr Muro has also taken part in each of the annual Rimini International Choral Workshops for choristers and choir directors, held by Andrea Angelini and by Peter Phillips, Director of the Tallis Scholars. With the Jubilate Deo Choir, Mr Muro performs almost exclusively sacred music, specialising in Renaissance polyphonic music. Over the years he has directed the choir in numerous concerts and liturgical celebrations in Rimini and in many other cities in Italy, including St Peter’s Basilica and Santa Susanna church, Rome; Milan Cathedral; Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi and many others. He has taken part in international events including the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Rome in the Jubilee year 2000 where the Jubilate Deo Choir formed part of the Diocesan Choir which sang Mass in St Peter’s Square. Ilario Muro is the Province of Rimini Deputy Delegate to A.ER.CO, the Emilia-Romagna Choirs Association.