Jury 2019

PETER PHILLIPS – The United Kingdom

President of the Jury 

Peter Phillips has dedicated his career to the research and performance of Renaissance polyphony, and to the perfecting of choral sound. Having won a scholarship to Oxford in 1972, he gained experience as an undergraduate in conducting small vocal ensembles, already experimenting with the rarer parts of the repertoire. He founded The Tallis Scholars in 1973, with whom he has now appeared in over 2,200 concerts and made over 60 discs, encouraging interest in polyphony all over the world. As a result of this commitment Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars have done more than any other group to establish the sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of Western classical music. Peter Phillips also conducts other specialist ensembles. He is currently working with the BBC Singers, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Choeur de Chambre de Namur. He is patron of the choirs of Merton College (Oxford), Sansara (London), El Leon de Oro (Spain), and of the Festivals of Portsmouth and Clifton; he also hosts the annual Tallis Scholars Summer Course in Avila (Spain). In 2014 he launched the London International A Cappella Choir Competition in St John’s Smith Square, attracting choirs from all over the world. In addition to conducting, Peter Phillips is well-known as a writer. For 33 years he contributed a regular music column (as well as one, more briefly, on cricket) to The Spectator. In 1995 he became the owner and Publisher of The Musical Times, the oldest continuously published music journal in the world. His first book, English Sacred Music 1549-1649, was published by Gimell in 1991, while his second, What We Really Do, appeared in 2013. During 2018 BBC Radio 3 will broadcast his view of Renaissance polyphony, in a series of six hour-long programmes. In 2005 Peter Phillips was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, a decoration intended to honour individuals who have contributed to the understanding of French culture in the world. In 2008 Peter began an association with Merton College, Oxford, where he helped to found the chapel choir, and where he is a Bodley Fellow.



Member of the Jury

Fabio Pecci studied violoncello at Ravenna’s “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 500 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 Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden 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. He was responsible for the treble voices in the production of ‘Carmen’by G. Bizet and “Tosca” and Bohème by Puccini, in many theatres, as well as for ‘Carmina Burana’ by C. Orff, with the soloists of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome. He is an enthusiast of children’s vocalism and directs 5 children and youth choirs. As a choir director, he has received awards and gained recognition in many National and International Competitions, with eigth first prizes. Since 2013, he is a member of the Artistic Committee of AERCO  – The Regional Choirs Association. He was a teacher at the “Spring Festival” by FENIARCO in Montecatini 2016 and 2017 and as conductor of the youth choir “Note In Crescendo” he represented the Emilia Romagna region at the National Choral Festival at ‘EXPO Milano 2015’.  He is the Artistic Director of the “City of Riccione” Choral Competition and member of the Jury in many Choral Competitions.


DAVID SLATER – Australia 

Member of the Jury

David Slater is an experienced conductor, having worked under Stuart Challender, former Chief Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted student, amateur and professional orchestras and choirs throughout the world, and many seasons of musical theatre. Mr. Slater founded and directed a number of award-winning music organisations which include contemporary music ensembles, orchestras, choirs, youth orchestras and musical theatre companies. He is a regular guest conductor of orchestras and choirs, workshop conductor for schools, music camps and festivals, and conducts masterclasses in many parts of the world, most recently in Austria, Latvia and Russia. In 2016-2017 he has worked with Barnsley Youth Choir (UK), Beecroft Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Chamber Choir of Harbin University (China), Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra (USA), Guangzhou Radio and Television Children’s Choir (China), Kreisler Strings (Australia), New Jersey Youth Symphony (USA), OJPA Orchestra of Alicante (Spain), Open Arts Choir (Northern Ireland) and Zhong Zheng String Orchestra (Taiwan). Mr Slater is an Australian composer and a Represented Artist with the Australian Music Centre. He studied at the University of Sydney followed by post-graduate studies in Germany. His work, twice short-listed for Australia’s richest composition award, includes many genres from the concert hall to TV, film and advertising. It encompasses solo, chamber, choral and orchestral music from professional to student levels. He receives regular commissions and his work is performed throughout Australia and on every continent. Mr Slater has over 35 years’ experience as a music educator at tertiary and secondary level with 25 years as Director of Music in elite schools. He has taught and lectured in 3 Australian states, has been a consultant on music curriculum and given seminars in several countries. He is passionate about the place of music in society and in education, and has promoted the creation, study and performance of great music throughout his career. He is sought after as a performance adjudicator, having worked with many organisations, festivals and eisteddfods. Positions have included final year examiner in three Australian states and jury member for festivals around the world. These include the World Choir Games in Sochi (Russia), the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna (Austria) the Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo de’Medici International Choral Festivals in Florence (Italy), the European Choir Games and Choral Grand Prix of Nations in Riga (Latvia) and the Queen of the Adriatic Sea International Choral Competition in Cattolica (Italy). He has won many major awards for composition, conducting and services to music in the community, including the Symphony Australia Prize, the National Award of the Orchestras of Australia Network and Australia Day awards for services to music in the community. He has published articles on music and music education and is Australia’s representative to the World Choir Council.


HIRVO SURVA -Estonia  

Member of the Jury

Hirvo Surva studied choir conducting at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School (1983, conducting teacher Silvia Mellik) and at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (1990, conducting class of professor Ants Üleoja). He has been actively participating as a conductor in the Estonian Song Festivals, and was the Artistic Director of the 8th (1997) and 9th (2002) Youth Song Celebration as well as of the 26th Estonian Song Celebration in 2014. Hirvo Surva has been a member of the jury in many music competitions organized both in Estonia as well as abroad. Since 2001, he has been the Chairman of the Association of Estonian Choral Conductors. In 2006 and 2010, he was a visiting Resident Professor at the University of Oregon in the US and since 2008 he works as a teacher in Tallinn Music High School. He also teaches choral conductors as a Docent at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Hirvo Surva´s choirs have successfully participated in many international competitions and have won several prestigious awards. Hirvo Surva has received wide recognition: he was named the best conductor at the International Choir Festival Tallinn (2001, 2003). In 2002 Hirvo Surva received the annual grant of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia. In the same year, he also received the Outstanding Young Person Award of the Junior Chamber International Estonia (TOYP). In 2003 he won the Conductor of the Year Award by the Estonian Choral Association. In 2004, he was given the Badge of Honour by the city of Rakvere and in 2004, he received an Honorary Decoration from the city of Tallinn. In 2008 he was given the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Award and in 2012 the Gustav Ernesaks Award and in 2014 the title Person of the Year by Postimees newspaper, the Musician of the Year title by Estonian Public Broadcasting and in 2015 he received Estonian State Decoration The Order of the White Star III class.


BAN SHENG TOH  – Singapore 

Member of the Jury 

Starting out essentially as a self-taught musician, former Physics teacher Toh Ban Sheng completed two master’s degrees in Choral Conducting and Voice from the USA with the support of a National Arts Council Bursary. Toh has since come to be recognised as an eminent conductor and music educator with an illustrious track record, having garnered more than 70 gold awards at international and national competitions. An active member in the international choral scene, Toh is a highly sought-after adjudicator, clinician and guest-conductor in both Europe and Asia.  He has also written for the International Choral Bulletin and had his music published in the United States. His choirs have won numerous Grand Prix, Category Champions and Special Jury Prizes in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Slovakia, and he has been honoured with Conductor’s Prizes seven times.  With Raffles Singers, he presented two concerts successfully at the 11th World Symposium on Choral Singers in Barcelona. At home in Singapore, Toh’s choirs have twice won the highest national accolade of Best Choir of the Year Award. He has also served as a Music Specialist with the Ministry of Education. Among many other notable appointments, he conducted the 800-strong National Day Parade Combined Choir at the National Stadium on live telecast. In recognition of his artistic achievements and contributions in the Singapore music arena, Toh was conferred the Young Artist Award in 2006 by the National Arts Council. He is currently the director of five award-winning choirs in Singapore schools and junior colleges, in addition to directing the Raffles Singers and Amoris Singers.  Since 2014, he has been serving as the Artistic Director of International Choral Festival Orientale Concentus held in Singapore. His self-titled biography, The Accidental Conductor was published in 2010. The Choral Series under his name with Earthsongs Music Publication (USA) was launched in 2012.