The conductors of the competition (25-27 June 2021)

A total of 21 conductors representing 16 countries have been admitted to the competition

Marco Barbon (Italy) | João Barros (Portugal) | Lucia Birzer (Germany) | Kristina Bogataj (Slovenia) | Tanguy Bouvet (France) | Mateja Černic (Italy) | Jurgita Česonytė  | (Lithuania) | Matīss Circenis (Latvia/Germany) | Nicola Forlin (Italy) | Masis Aram Gözbek (Turkey) | Elisa Huovinen (Finland)| Hyunju Kwon (Republic of Korea) | Alexandra Makarova (Russia) | Ingrit Malleus (Estonia) | Luca Scaccabarozzi (Italy) | Chiara Selva (Switzerland) | Anastasiya Shchyrba (Ukraine) | Johanna Soller (Germany) | Tamás Szarka (Hungary) | Federico Viola (Italy) | Shino Yamasaki (Japan)

Marco Barbon (Italy)

In 2011 Marco Barbon graduated in piano at the Music Conservatory A. Steffani of Castelfranco Veneto (Italy). He has attended choral conducting masterclasses at the Royal Academy of Music in London with P. Russill and R. Rassmussen, and courses held by G. Graden, B. Holten, L. Donati and M. Berrini. In 2014 he graduated in speech therapy at the University of Padua (Italy), specialising in clinical and artistic speech therapy with S. Magnani in Milan. In 2016 he conducted the Coro Giovanile Veneto within the project Officina Corale del Futuro designed by Feniarco. In 2017 he concluded a three-year training in choral conducting at P. Righele Choral Conducting Academy. In June 2018 he was selected to participate in the G. Dima International music competition, Choir conducting section in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). In 2019 he won the 2nd prize at the R. Gandolfi International competition for choral conductors (Parma, Italy) and the 2nd prize at the 4th National Choral conducting competition Le Mani in Suono (Arezzo, Italy). He was selected to participate at J. Vītols 6th International choral conductors competition (Riga, Latvia). He is currently the conductor and artistic director of several children, youth, and adult Italian amateur choirs. In 2019 he founded the professional vocal and instrumental ensemble La Morsure, with which he performs mostly baroque and contemporary music. In the last years he conducted a masterclass for choirs organised by ASAC Veneto. In 2019 he obtained a Master of Music (MMus) in Renaissance and Baroque Singing at the Music Conservatory B. Marcello of Venice (Italy). He is currently studying for a MMus in choral conducting and choir music composition with M. Berrini at the Music Conservatory A. Steffani and at the Hochschule für Musik Saar in Saarbrücken (Germany). 

João Barros (Portugal)

He holds a master’s degree in choral conducting and the bachelor’s degree in music education and choral conducting from Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa (Portugal). His music studies started at Conservatório D. Dinis where he studied piano with E. Cabral. In 2012, João studied singing at Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional with N. Villalonga and orchestra conducting with P. Lourenço. In 2013, as an Erasmus student, he attended the F. Liszt Academy of Music in Kecskemét (Hungary), studying choral conducting with L. Nemes and singing with R. Darázs. As a singer, João has recently sung with Tenso Europe Chamber Choir, Officium Ensemble, Coro Gulbenkian, Meestes&Gazellen performing in 12 different countries. João has participated in several choral conducting masterclasses all over Europe where he most recently worked with G. Grün, N. Ferris, A. Van der Merwe, R. Vanags and B. Scott. In September 2017 he was invited by World Masters in China to lead masterclasses and workshops for more than 4000 music teachers and choral conductors, working with choirs of different age and level. In 2018 he founded the Nova Era Vocal Ensemble and became the artistic director of Coro ISCTE and Coro de Câmara Outros Cantos. In 2019, with Nova Era Vocal Ensemble, he won two gold medals at the Festival Coral de Verão and a Choir of choirs’ prize, gold medal, at the Festival Vocal Art Choir Competition. In the same year, João was offered an Interkultur scholarship for conducting achievements and got an opportunity to conduct the Rundfunk-Jugenchor Wernigerode (Germany). Since 2018 he has been leading workshops for music teachers organised by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Since September 2019, João is guiding the teachers training Zoltán Kodály’s music education and methodology in Cidade da Praia and Mindelo (Cape Verde) in association with the Hungarian Embassy in Portugal and the Ministry of Education of Cape Verde.

Lucia Birzer (Germany)

Lucia Birzer is a conductor and composer. She was born in 1995 in Eichstätt (Germany) and went to the musical high school where she started to learn different instruments and got in contact with conducting and composing.
She is currently studying with J. Puschbeck at the F. Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar (Germany). Beside the school, she completed a conducting course at the Bayerischer Musikrat and received an award as the best participant. During her time at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München she studied musical education, completing it with a state examination. She went on studying choral conducting with M. Gläser, M. Steidler and A. Herrmann, as well as with L. Fuhry and E. Wycik (Weimar) in orchestral conducting. Lucia has worked with different choirs like the Audi Jugendchorakademie, the Madrigalchor der Musikhochschule München (semi-professional choir) and the Philharmonische Chor Erfurt. She is currently engaged as musical director at the Philharmonie junger Christen in Augsburg (Germany). One of her compositions was awarded with a prize at the composition competition of the Mädchenchorfestivals Sidebyside 2021. Further compositions will be premiered at concerts at the choir music fair of the Deutscher Chorverband. Lucia Birzer is scholarship holder of the Deutschlandstipendium.  

Kristina Bogataj (Slovenia)

Based in Helsinki (Finland), she is a Slovenian choral conductor. She primarily acts as an artistic director of three Finnish choirs and collaborates with several others in a project format. She has also served as an opera chorus master. Besides conducting engagements, she is active as a continuo player, singer, pianist, interdisciplinary artist and music educator. Kristina graduated from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana (Slovenia) in 2017 and continued her studies at Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (Finland). A pianist from an early age, she took part in music competitions and was playing in duos, chamber groups and orchestras. While attending Gimnazija Kranj high school with its rich musical life and performing with Gimnazija Kranj Symphony Orchestra, Kristina was also introduced to the dynamic Slovenian choral scene. She became a member of several prominent Slovenian choirs, with the most notable roles and achievements as a member of Carmen Manet female choir from her native town Kranj (winners of Eurovision Choir of the Year in Riga, 2017). During her conducting studies, Kristina performed in various productions, concerts, performances, and operas – as a conductor, singer, or pianist. She has participated in several masterclasses and seminars working with R. Norrington, D. Hill, J. Doyle, N. Corti, A. van der Merwe, G. Graden, and others. Her work was recognized at the festivals and choral conducting competitions in Slovenia (Maribor 2020, Koper 2021) and abroad (Versailles 2019, Svendborg 2021). She has worked as music teacher in several schools and currently carries out her music teaching activity at the International School of Music in Helsinki (Filnland). Kristina’s work merges honesty and curiosity with high-level performing, through utilizing an individual’s musicianship and respect – towards themselves and the world around us.

Tanguy Bouvet (France)

Tanguy Bouvet is a French choral conductor. He started his musical training at an early age, studying multiple instruments before graduating in piano, composition and chamber music at the Music Conservatory of Tours (France). His interest in choral music led him to conducting the Angers Cathedral Choir for three years. He subsequently furthered his studies in choral conducting at the Conservatoire national supérieur de Musique et Danse de Lyon, where he obtained a master’s degree in 2017, studying under N. Corti and L. Sow. During this time, he participated in many masterclasses with conductors including M.M. Gervais, G. Pedersen, J. Suhubiette, P. Agnew, P. Spicer and D. Kurz. He was able to gain experience conducting a wide range of repertoire, ranging from C.P.E. Bach’s Magnificat to B. Britten’s A midsummer night’s dream, not forgetting J. Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, among other major choral works. Based in the French city of Angers, Tanguy combines his artistic career with significant didactic activity at the Music Conservatory of Angers and the Université Catholique de l’Ouest. He has been teaching both choral singing and choral conducting in these two institutions since 2018. He is also regularly invited to musical training seminars as a clinician. He currently works as assistant conductor to N. Corti with the Ensemble Spirito, based In Lyon. In this position, he also serves as chorus master for the Orchestre National de Lyon (L’Enfance du Christ by H. Berlioz, Requiem by G. Fauré, 9th Symphony by L.V. Beethoven) and as associate conductor of the Jeune Chœur Symphonique, a youth choir with which he explores the repertoire for chamber choir.  

Mateja Černic (Italy)

Mateja Černic has studied piano and singing at the E. Komel music school in Gorizia (Italy). She graduated in education (2008) and in Slovene language and literature and comparative literature (2013) at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). In 2014 she completed her studies of music education at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, specialising in choral conducting with M. Vatovec. In 2018 she graduated in choral conducting at the Conservatory N. Bonporti in Trento (Italy) with L. Donati. She attended different seminars and master classes studying with A. Martinolli, R. Rassmussen, S. Schreier, L Donati, G. Grun, B. Holten, G. Graden, M. Berrini. In 2017 she achieved the 3rd prize at the National choral conducting competition Le Mani in Suono (Arezzo, Italy). In 2016 she reached the final at the Zvok mojih rok Conductor competition (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and in 2018 she was chosen to participate at the Berlin International masterclass for choral conducting with the Rundfunkchor Berlin (Germany). In 2019 she was mentioned in the list of the best candidates who registered to the World Choral Conducting Competition in Hong Kong. She attended the choral conducting course of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in 2018, 2019 and 2020. As singer she has been a member of many important choirs: Academic Choir T. Tomšič, Arnold Schoberg Choir, Italian National Youth choir, Ut Insieme Vocale Consonante, Siena Cathedral Choir G. Chigi Saracini and Utopia and Reality Chamber Choir. As jury member she has partecipated at international and national choir competitions and she is often invited to different trainings programmes for conductors and vocal coaches as guest lecturer. Since 2007 she has been conducting the Girls Choir Bodeča Neža (Italy) with whom she has won several prizes including a special one for the best conductor at the National choral competition F. Gaffurio (Quartiano, Italy) in 2016, second prize at the Fleischmann International Trophy competition (Cork, Ireland) in 2017 and a special prize at the International May Choir Competition G. Dimitrov (Varna, Bulgaria). Since 2014 she has been conducting the chamber mixed choir Goriški komorni zbor of Nova Gorica (Slovenia): with this choir she won the first place at the Slovenian regional Competition in Postojna in 2017 and the golden diploma in 2019.

Jurgita Česonytė (Lithuania)

Jurgita Česonytė was born in Lithuania in 1993. She began her musical education at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts in Vilnius with R. Songaila. In 2019 she graduated in choir conducting under J. Prinz at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (Austria). Since October 2019 she has continued her master’s studies of choral conducting under H.C. Rademann at Hochschule für Musik C.M. von Weber in Dresden (Germany). In 2010 she was awarded 1st prize at the National J. Aleksa Competition for Young Conductors in Lithuania. In 2016 she got a special scholarship from the city of Graz (Sonderstipendium der Stadt Graz). In June 2017 she won 3rd place and audience‘s prize at the Northern Choir Conducting Competition in Denmark. In June 2018 she participated at the 17th edition of the G. Dima International music competition for choral conductors and was awarded the G. Dima Special Prize. In 2019 she participated at the 8th International Choir Conducting Competition Towards Polyphony and got to the final. In 2020 she received the scholarship C.M. von-Weber-Stipendium im Programm des Deutschlandsstipendiums. She attended masterclasses held by F.M. Bressan, F. Benfer, P. Russill, R. Börger, C. Groza and R. Sund. She has rehearsed with choirs like Slovenian Philharmonic (2018) and Cappella Nova Graz (2019). In July 2019 she was invited to work and perform with Aidija Choir, conducted by R. Gražinis, at the T. Mann Festival in Nida (Lithuania). In August 2019 she worked with HIB.Art.Chor conducted by M. Fürntratt and she also taught singing lessons to the children and youth choirs. Since November 2020 she has been working as choir conductor with Junges Ensemble Dresden. She is also assistant conductor of the choirs Singakadmie Dresden and Dresdner Knabenchor.  

Matīss Circenis (Latvia/Germany) [withdrawn]

Matīss Circenis is a 23-year-old conductor from Riga (Latvia). Born in Germany, he has been playing piano and singing since the age of 5 and he took conducting lessons since the age of 15 with M. Klišāns. From 2004 to 2017 he attended the National School of Arts Riga Cathedral Choir School (RCSS). Since 2017 Matīss studies at the J. Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, professional bachelor's degree study programme in choral conducting, with A. Veismanis. In 2019 and 2020 he studied conducting at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands as part of the Erasmus exchange programme. As singer, he has travelled across Europe, Israel, Japan and the USA singing with several professional and amateur choirs, as well as a soloist and conductor. Matīss has worked with many important choirs in Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands and other countries. He also collaborated with several orchestras in his country and abroad. He works as a choirmaster and conductor in the mixed choir Vēja Balss of Carnikava (Latvia) and sings in the professional chamber choir Ave Sol in Riga. He is also the Boys’ Choir teacher at the Riga French Lycée. Matīss has successfully participated in various international conducting competitions in Latvia, receiving the 1st prize in the 1st S. Broks International young conductors competition and the 3rd place in the 2nd I. Kokars International young conductors competition in 2016. In the Spring of 2019, he took part at the 1st International choral conducting competition Aegis Carminis in Slovenia, where he received a special prize for the most promising young conductor. In 2019 he won the 6th J. Vitols International choral conductors competition.  

Nicola Forlin (Italy)

Nicola Forlin is a pianist, choral conductor and composer. He was born in Aosta (Italy) in 1992. In 2014 he graduated in piano and in 2017 he achieved the second level academic diploma in piano at the Conservatoire de la Vallée d’Aoste. He sang in many choirs and, from 2011 to 2014, he was a singer of the Italian National Youth Choir conducted by L. Donati and D. Tabbia. At the moment he sings in the male choir La Rupe conducted by D. Monetta. In 2009 he started his activity of choral conducting with Coro La Manda of Hône (Italy). Over the years he attended many masterclasses in choral singing, conducting and composing studying with M. Berrini, L. Donati, L. Scaccabarozzi, Y. Kinoshita, L. Leo, P. Lawson and Z.R. Stroope. In 2017 he concluded the three-year Choral conducting school Il respiro è già canto in Turin and he is currently attending the two-years master in Scuola Superiore per direttori di coro G. d’Arezzo. From 2017 to 2019 he was the conductor of the Regional Youth Choir of Aosta Valley and he is nowadays a member of the executive board of the ARCOVA, the Regional Association of choirs. He won many prizes in national choral competitions with Coro La Manda and in 2017 he was awarded as best choral conductor of the National choral competition F. Gaffurio (Quartiano, Italy) and in 2018 at the Lago Maggiore National polyphonic choral competition. In 2019 he won the 1st prize at the 4th edition of the National choral conducting competition Le Mani in Suono (Arezzo, Italy). His choral compositions have been performed in many national choir festivals and competitions. He works as music and piano professor in high schools and he usually leads choral activities in the primary school.   

Masis Aram Gözbek (Turkey) [withdrawn]

Masis Aram Gözbek was born in Instanbul in 1987. He is currently studying orchestral conducting at the Music department of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory in Istanbul (Turkey). Since 2011 he has been invited to some of the most prestigious festivals winning several international awards with Boğaziçi Jazz Choir including two World Championships. He attended competitions, festivals and masterclasses in countries like USA, China, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Latvia, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria and North Macedonia. He led some workshops and performances with choirs abroad like the Dekoor Close Harmony (The Netherlands), La Choraline (Belgium) and the Swiss Youth Choir. He won YTU Rectorship award and The most successful young person award at the Turkey finals of the 19th TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons), the Young conductor special award at the 35th International May choir competition G. Dimitrov (Varna, Bulgaria) and also The music entrepreneur of the year by the METU Young Entrepreneurs Society. He was invited as a jury member to the European music festival for young people (Neerpelt, Belgium) in 2018 and 2021, to the International May choir competition G. Dimitrov (Varna, Bulgaria) in 2019 and to the World choir festival international choral competition of Hong Kong in 2021 and as a guest conductor to the European festival of youth choirs (Basel, Switzerland) in 2018. He was also selected as one of the 12 finalists in the World choral conducting competition 2019 in Hong Kong. He was a lecturer at the Opera and Concert Singing Department of the Haliç University Conservatory (2019-2020). He is the founder and the artistic director of Boğaziçi Jazz Choir, Boğaziçi Youth Choir and MAGMA Choirs with more than 850 amateur singers of all ages. He is leading workshops and seminars about choral music and regularly working with choirs as a guest conductor both in different cities of Turkey and abroad. He has been a trustee of Yücel Cultural Foundation and also a member of Music Commission at Choral Culture Association since 2018.    

Elisa Huovinen (Finland)

Elisa Huovinen was born in Finland. In early childhood she studied violin, piano and singing and, after attending the music high school, in 2016 she graduated at the Conducting Department of the Sibelius Academy of Helsinki (Finland) and in 2017 at the Music Pedagogy Department of Metropolia University of Applied Sciences of Helsinki. She studied over the years with M. Hyökki, N. Schweckendiek, T. Kaljuste and J. Sivén. She attended many international masterclasses with renowned choirs and conductors including Ars Nova Copenhagen (conducted by P. Hillier), Stuttgart Kammerchor (conducted by F. Bernius). In 2018 Elisa was the winner of the 1st Finnish choral conductors’ competition of Tampere (Finland) and of G. Dima International Music Competition for choir conductors of Cluj-Napoca (Romania). Nowadays, she is the artistic director of Somnium Ensemble, Akademiska Sångföreningen and Finnish Youth Choir. She has also worked with professsional choirs both in Finland (Helsinki Chamber Choir, Tampere Cappella) and abroad (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Male Choir, Transilvania Philharmonic Choir). Since 2017, Elisa has also been teaching choral conducting in Sibelius Academy. In addition, she is a very active singer and she has worked in many professional ensembles (I Dodici Renaissance Ensemble, Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir, Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble). Since 2018, she is the board chairwoman of the Finnish Choral Conductors’ Association that actively works to improve the position of choral conductors and the interaction between conductors and choirs.   

Hyunju Kwon (Republic of Korea)

Hyunju Kwon was born and raised in South Korea. She studied choral conducting and singing at the National University of Arts in Seoul and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2008. The courses given by the German professor of choir conducting M. Behrmann left such an impression on her that she decided to continue her studies in Germany. After several years of experience with choirs in Korea, she began her master course in choral conducting at the University of Music in Karlsruhe (Germany) with D. Kurz where she graduated in 2016. As part of her extensive musical activities, she has also conducted several choirs across Germany and has sung with many choral groups, including the Württembergische Kammerchor. For one year, in 2016, Hyunju became musical assistant of the music director V. Stoertzenbach at the University of Stuttgart Academic Choir and Orchestra. After this experience she decided to study orchestral conducting in the master’s course at the University of Music and Performing Arts of Mannheim (Germany) with S. Blunier. In June 2019 she conducted her final concert with the Philharmonie Baden-Baden. In Germany she gained experience as a conductor with the Academic Orchestra of the University of Stuttgart, as well as at the Academic Orchestras of the Universities of Music in Karlsruhe and Mannheim, the Kurpfälzische Kammerorchester, the Südwestdeutschen Kammerorchester Pforzheim, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Stuttgarter Philharmoniker. She received further musical impulses and inspiration from masterclasses by S. Halsey and F. Bernius, among others. Currently, she is working on her Konzertexamen’s degree in choral conducting at the University for Music in Saarbrücken (Germany) with G. Grün.  

Alexandra Makarova (Russia)

Alexandra Makarova was born in Leningrad in 1986. In 2010 she graduated at St. Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire as a choral conductor in the class of B. Abalyan and in 2016 she obtained her master degree. She currently teaches choral conducting at the Glinka College. She was a prize winner at the International J. Vītols Conducing Competition in Riga, Latvia (4th prize and Special Prize of the Latvian Radio Chorus, 2009), All Russian Competition (3rd prize, 2011) and the International B. Tevlin Choral Conducting Competition in Moscow (1st prize, 2014). She was awarded as a best young conductor at International Choral Competition Markoberdorf (Germany, 2015), and as a best conductor at Florilege Vocal de Tours International Competition (France, 2018). Since 2009 she has been conducting the Festino Chamber Choir of St Petersburg; under her leadership the choir took part in many competitions and festivals winning several prizes. In 2013 she founded the Chamber Choir of St. Petersburg Polytechnical University. She has also conducted the student choir and chamber choir of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, the chamber choir of the Moscow Conservatoire, the student choir of the Latvian Academy of Music, the Latvian Radio Choir, the chamber orchestra Camerata Nordica, the chamber choir Lege Artis, the Ave sol chamber choir, the Eric Ericcson chamber choir, the Lege Artis chamber choir, the student choir of University for Music in Saarbrücken and the Chamber orchestra Camerata Nordica. She is author of several articles about choral music of St. Petersburg’s composer D. Smirnov.  

Ingrit Malleus (Estonia)

Ingrit Malleus was born in 1995 and attended the Tallinn Music High School studying violin, singing and choral conducting with I. Kõrvits. Since 2014, Ingrit studied choral conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre of Tallinn (Estonia) with T. Kapten. In 2016/2017 she was an Erasmus exchange student at the Hochschule für Musik H. Eisler in Berlin (Germany) in the class of J.P. Weigle. Since 2018 she studied again at the Estonian Academy of Music with T. Kaljuste and at the Hochschule für Musik H. Eisler of Berlin with J. Doyle. In 2019/2020 she was an Erasmus student at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (Finland) in the class of N. Schweckendiek and since autumn 2020 she has been continuing her studies there. She studied singing with W. Heinrich, O. Heikkilä and currently is studying with O. Kähkönen. She has won the 1st prize at the Choral conductor’s competition in Estonia (2012, 2014), the 3rd prize in the 8th International choir conducting competition Towards Polyphony 2019 in Wroclaw (Poland). She was one of the finalists at the Estonian competition for young conductors 2019 receiving two special prizes. From 2013 to 2015, Ingrit was the choir master and assistant conductor of the mixed choir Akord of Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, becoming the main conductor in 2015-2016. She has also conducted choirs, such as Philharmonischer Chor Berlin, Consortium Vocale, Ensemberlino Vocale, Children’s, Youth and Chamber Choirs of Tallinn Music High School, Musamari Children’s and Girls' Choirsr, Mixed choir of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. In 2015 she attended the European Academy for choral conductors with R. Rasmussen in Fano (Italy). In 2018 she participated at the AOIC choral conducting summer school in Ireland with L. Nemes and in 2019 she attended the International masterclass for choral conductors in Marktoberdorf with Z. Pad, the International masterclass in Hannover with S. Halsey and the masterclass of Sibelius Academy with R. Norrington. In summer 2020 she was an active participant at the Orchestra conducting masterclass Järvi Academy with P. and K. Järvi. From 2016 to 2020 she has participated at several projects with the choir of the European Choir Academy. Since 2015 Ingrit sings regularly in the chamber choir Voces Musicales.

Luca Scaccabarozzi (Italy)

Luca Scaccabarozzi was born in 1983 and in 2009 he graduated in piano at the G. Verdi Conservatory in Milan. In the same year, he also obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Milan. Afterwards he specialized in piano at the Florence Musical Academy. During his career he attended several piano and chamber music masterclasses with worldwide renowned teachers, winning several 1st and 2nd prizes in national and international competitions. As a conductor, he was enrolled in a 3-year specialization program at the Milan Choral Academy under the artistic direction of M. Berrini, getting a diploma in choral conducting in 2012. He also got a master’s diploma in choral conducting at the Scuola superiore per direttori di coro G. d'Arezzo under the supervision of renowned conductors such as P. Broadbent, J. Busto, N. Corti, L. Donati, G. Graden, L. Marzola and R. Rasmussen. In 2009 he founded the Ensemble Vocale Mousiké that he is currently leading as artistic director. During the last years the ensemble participated to national and international choral competitions and was awarded with many first prizes. Luca was awarded as the best choral conductor at the Fermo national choral competition, at the Lainate national choral competition and at the Città di Vittorio Veneto national choral competition. During his career as a conductor, he performed in renowned national and international festivals, such as MITO Settembre Musica, Le chiavi d’argento, Festival Internazionale della musica corale and Festival Voce!. He is also frequently invited as a guest conductor for choral and orchestra collaborations in Italy, especially in the baroque repertoire. As a singer, he attended singing and vocality courses with C. Baldy, M. Scavazza, L. Serafini, S. Mingardo, F. Bettini, D. Shen and M. Scifo. He stably collaborates as a singer in professional choirs and ensembles. During the last years he performed with UT Ensemble Vocale Consonante, Aletheia consort, La Rosa dei Venti and the Italian National Youth Choir. Luca is also extensively involved in music teaching as a piano professor in several music schools and as a choral conducting teacher in seminars and courses. He is frequently invited as a jury member in national and international choral competitions.  

Chiara Selva (Switzerland)

Born in 1996, Chiara Selva is a musician from Basel (Switzerland). She is a conductor, a choral singer and plays cello and double bass. In 2020 she graduated in choral conducting at the Hochschule für Musik FHNW of Basel with R. Immoos. In the same year as part of an Erasmus exchange she has begun her Master's studies with G. Grün at the University for Music in Saarbrücken (Germany), Currently, she is continuing her studies in Basel with R. Immoos. Chiara has participated in workshops and masterclasses with F. Markowitsch, T. Kamioka, C. Fender and G. Türk. She conducts the Vokalensemble kor in Basel and currently sings in several ensembles, including the Swiss National Youth Choir conducted by N. Fink. She frequently works with children as music teacher in schools. Since 2017 she has been working closely with the theatre ensemble Theater Junges M directed by S. Löwe singing, playing music on stage and doing musical coaching and also participating in productions. Alongside six other performers, Chiara Selva is on tour in Swiss museums with Via Egnatia, I am not alone, a live soundscape.  

Anastasiya Shchyrba (Ukraine)

She graduated in 2019 at the Department of choral and opera-symphonic conducting at Lviv National Music Academy M. Lysenko (Ukraine). She studied with H.O. Fleichuk and I.S. Yuziuk specialising at Lviv Musical College S. Liudkevych with O.M. Samotos. As a conductor she was special prize-winner of the National competition I. Frankivsk in 2013. She received the 3rd prize and the audience choice award at the Mykolaiv National conducting competition in 2017. In 2019 she was awarded the 2nd prize at the 1st National competition of young conductors M. Kolessa in Lviv (Ukraine). Since 2020 she is artistic director and main conductor of Voice Orchestra - Creative Choir. She founded the choir and instrumental group Taize-Lviv conducting it since 2014. The main mission of the choir is the musical score of the Taize prayers in different churches of Lviv and other cities. She is the choirmaster of the National folk children's and youth choir Radunytsia. She attended many workshops and participated in the organisation of several choral events. Anastasiya is also an organ player and teaches singing and music theory. She was a singer of the chamber choir Soli Deo and collaborated with the association Haliciana Schola Cantorum which promotes old music in comparison of Eastern and Western traditions (2016-2018). In 2017 she was assistant of the Swiss conductor A. Nordmann at the workshop for swiss and Ukrainian choral singers. Since 2018 she is the choir leader of the Lviv State University of Life Safety Cadet Choir. In 2020 she attended a course in Music management sponsored by Ukrainian Culture Foundation. In the same year she was a speaker at Problems of choral performance conference in Kharkiv (Ukraine) with the speech Interactive methods working with choirs. She collaborated with Crescendo international ecumenical community for professional musicians. She is co-founder of the music laboratory ARTDIENCE.    

Johanna Soller (Germany)

Johanna Soller is a German conductor, harpsichordist and organist. She studied choral conducting in Munich with M. Gläser, harpsichord with C. Schornsheim, organ and church music with B. Haas and graduated entirely with distinction. She appeared as a guest conductor with the MDR Radio Choir Leipzig, the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging, the Munich Bach Choir, the Munich Symphony Orchestra and the Via Nova Choir Munich. She collaborated with ensembles such as the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the Hofkapelle München and the Zürcher Singakademie and was invited to perform at Theater an der Wien and festivals like the International Händel Festival in Göttingen, Thüringer Bachwochen and AUDI Summer Concerts in Ingolstadt (Germany). She has taken rehearsal for conductors such as Z. Mehta, U. Schirmer, N. McGegan and L. Cummings. As a scholarship holder of the German Conductors’ Forum, she collaborated with the Bavarian Radio Chorus, the Philharmonic Choir Berlin and the Kammerchor Saarbrücken. In addition she attended masterclasses and internships with Collegium Vocale Gent (P. Herreweghe), Gaechinger Cantorey (H.C. Rademann) and Kammerchor Stuttgart (F. Bernius). In 2013 she founded the chamber choir Vocalconsort München. She is also founder and artistic director of the Capella Sollertia, a highly professional baroque ensemble. In 2019 she both performed the St. Matthew’s Passion with J. Prégardien as evangelist and founded her own concert series of Bach cantatas in Munich Cantate um 1715. In 2019 she was appointed musical director of the Munich Chamber Opera and has conducted amongst others G.F. Handel’s Giulio Cesare. Furthermore she is a lecturer for thorough-bass and score reading at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich and organist at St. Peter’s church in Munich. She won several prizes, such as the second prize in the Prague Spring International Music Competition 2013. She was awarded a scholarship of the German National Music Competition and therefore admitted into the Bundesauswahl Konzerte Junger Künstler, a funding programme of Deutscher Musikrat. In 2020 she was awarded the Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis.  

Tamás Szarka (Hungary)

Tamás Szarka was born in 1994. He was accepted to the music teacher department of ELTE, Institute of Arts Communication and Music of Budapest (Hungary) in 2013, where he studied with Z. Mindszenty and Á. Erdős. Two years later he started his BA studies at the orchestra and choir conductor department of Liszt Academy, studying with C. Somos, I. Párkai, V. Jobbágy and Z. Cseri and finishing in 2018 with an honorary diploma. In the last years he completed his studies at the Academy’s choir conductors MA outstandingly. Since 2017 he’s been the second conductor of the Lantos Choir of Budapest. At the R. Lantos Choral Conducting Competition he received a special award in 2018 and ranked 2nd in 2019. He attended several conductor masterclasses studying with I. Meskó and the MÁV Orchestra (2013, 2014), G. Vashegyi (Mozart Masterclass, 2015), N. Popmihajlov (Orthodox Church Music, 2017), D. Afonso (Brazilian Choir Music, 2017), P. Ordasi (Choir Education and Sound, 2018), E. Whitacre (Analysis and conducting his compositions, 2019), S. Praham-Connolly (English Choir Music, 2020) and F. Bernius with Kammerchor Stuttgart (Bach Motets for double choir and Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater, 2020). In October 2019 he attended a masterclass with K. Strausz and Honvéd Férfikar (Hungarian Male Choir) attracting particular interest.

Federico Viola (Italy)

Federico Viola was born in 1995. He studied music education, choral conducting and composition at the Conservatory of Trento (Italy) getting the highest marks. He studied choral conducting at the Summer Academy of Accademia Chigiana in Siena (Italy). He currently teaches music in primary and high schools. He co-conducted many choirs in Trentino Region such as Ccoro polifonico Castelbarco and Coro polifonico V. Gianferrari. Since 2015 he conducts coro Santa Chiara of Trento and since 2017 the youth choir Camusa Moire. He actively takes part as a tenor singer in many choirs such as the Italian National Youth Choir (since 2017), the Siena cathedral choir G. Chigi Saracini and Ut Insieme Vocale Consonante. In 2016 he sang in Eurochoir. With these choral groups he performed many concerts and attended many choral activities in Austria, Slovenia, France, Estonia, China and Taiwan. In 2020 he won the 1st prize at the National choral conducting competition Le Mani in Suono (Arezzo, Italy).  

Shino Yamasaki (Japan)

Shino Yamasaki was born in 1992 and graduated in Music and Mathematics education in 2016 at Shimane University (Japan). She started to study choral conducting with C. Matsubara in 2014. Since 2017, she has been studying choral conducting with A. Veismanis in the Bachelor’s Program of Choir Conducting at J. Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in Riga (Latvia). Besides her studies, she participated in choral conducting masterclasses with K. Putniņš, C. Rydinger and E. Westberg working with choirs such as the Orphei Drängar Ensemble Singers, the Camerata Musica Limburg, the Erik Westbergs Vokalensemble. As conductor, she has collaborated with the Hiroshima Youth Choir and with the JCA (Japan Choral Association) National Youth Choir. She has also worked with the Latvian Radio Choir and the professional chamber choir AVE SOL as an instructor of Japanese pronunciation and interpretation music singing. As a choral singer, she has been performing with the professional chamber choir AVE SOL since 2017. She was also a singer in Youth Choir Kamēr, the Elizabeth Singers, Japan Chamber Choir, Noema Noesis and several choirs. Shino participated in several auditioned project choirs to experience wider repertories, such as the World Youth Choir (2012), the Asia Pacific Youth Choir (2014), the JCA National Youth Choir (2012, 2014-2017, 2019). In 2021 Shino has conducted The Ritual of Voice, a collaboration performance stage related to the International Exhibition The Voice of Glass Collaborative, which took place in Latvian National Art Museum Riga Bourse.

Admitted conductors to the competition (25-27 June 2021)

A total of 21 conductors representing 16 countries have been admitted to the competition. In view of the large number of applications received (78), the pandemic situation that has significantly affected all music activities and the high level of the entrants who have applied for the competition, the organisers have decided to increase from 18 to 21 the number of conductors admitted to the first stage round. The following stages numbers remain the same.

Participants to the competition (alphabetical order):

  • Marco Barbon (Italy)
  • João Barros (Portugal)
  • Lucia Birzer (Germany)
  • Kristina Bogataj (Slovenia)
  • Tanguy Bouvet (France)
  • Mateja Černic (Italy)
  • Jurgita Česonytė (Lithuania)
  • Matīss Circenis (Latvia/Germany)
  • Nicola Forlin (Italy)
  • Masis Aram Gözbek (Turkey)
  • Elisa Huovinen (Finland)
  • Hyunju Kwon (Republic of Korea)
  • Alexandra Makarova (Russia)
  • Ingrit Malleus (Estonia)
  • Luca Scaccabarozzi (Italy)
  • Chiara Selva (Switzerland)
  • Anastasiya Shchyrba (Ukraine)
  • Johanna Soller (Germany)
  • Tamás Szarka (Hungary)
  • Federico Viola (Italy, winner of the 5th National competition for choir conductors Le mani in suono, automatically admitted)
  • Shino Yamasaki (Japan)
Reserve list (entrance order):
  • Maria Grazia Marcon (Italy)
  • Felix Renner (Germany)
  • Adrian Büttemeier (Germany)
  • Shujun Zhao (China)
More details about the participants will come soon.

The 78 entrants were qualified by the artistic committee composed of Jean-Claude WIlkens (European Choral Association-Europa Cantat), Marco Berrini (Feniarco), Dario Tabbia (G. Verdi Conservatory of Music in Turin), Davide Benetti (Associazione Cori Piemontesi).

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