The jury of the competition is made up of 5 well-known conductors. Here the names and CVs.
The work of Frieder Bernius has received great acclaim throughout the world; he is internationally in demand as both a conductor and a teacher. Frieder Bernius is the artistic director of the Kammerchor Stuttgart, Barockorchester Stuttgart, Hofkapelle Stuttgart and the Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart. The cornerstone of his exceptional career rests in the creation of the Kammerchor Stuttgart in 1968, which he soon turned into one of the leading ensembles of its kind. The creation of the Barockorchester Stuttgart and the Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart in 1991 is testament to the stylistic versatility of Frieder Bernius. Whilst the Barockorchester concentrates on playing 18th century music on period instruments, the Klassische Philharmonie performs 19th to 21st century pieces with modern instrumentation. The bringing to life of the Hofkapelle Stuttgart in 2006 finally dedicated an ensemble to the music of the 19th century. Frieder Bernius has given concerts at all major international festivals, directed the World Youth Choir on several occasions, been invited to four World Choral Music Symposia and has led the first National Youth Choir of Germany in 2020. In 1987, Bernius launched the International Festival of Early Music in Stuttgart, transforming the regional capital into a centre of historically-informed performance practice and a place of much-revered rediscoveries of forgotten musical treasures. Frieder Bernius' work is documented on many audio recordings and CD albums, so far totalling 110 recordings and 50 international CD awards. Bernius completed an edition of Mendelssohn’s Sacred Works to commemorate Mendelssohn’s anniversary year in 2009. Frieder Bernius was awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande and the Verdienstmedaille of the State of Baden-Württemberg, in 2004 he received the Schwäbisch Gmünd Prize for European Church Music and in 2009 was honoured by the City of Leipzig with the Bach Medal.
Josep Vila i Casañas is one of the most recognised choral conductors in Spain. His specialism is the a cappella repertoire, as well as choral and orchestral literature down the ages. He is as well a composer with a large number of works for choir and orchestra. He conducts the Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid. He has served as the resident conductor of the Cor Lieder Càmera (1990-2006 & 2019-2022), the Orfeó Català choral society (1998-2016), the Cor de Cambra of the Palau de la Música Catalana (2011-2016) and the Radiotelevisión Española Choir (2007- 2010). He has made recordings for Ficta, Columna Música, La Mà de Guido, Ars Harmonica, Solfa Recordings, Anacrusi, TVC Disc and RTVE. He has worked as guest conductor with choirs and orchestras such as the MDR Rundfunkchor in Leipzig, the Spanish National Choir, the Swedish Radio Choir, the World Youth Choir (2010 and 2019), the Turkish State Choir, the Venezuelan Simón Bolivar National Youth Choir, the Radiotelevisión Española Orchestra, the Catalan Baroque Orchestra, the Andorran National Classical Orchestra, the 1750 Academy, the El Vallès Symphonic Orchestra and the Malaga Symphonic Orchestra. In his role as a chorus master, he has worked alongside leading orchestral conductors on the international music scene, among them D. Barenboim, D. Gatti, S. Rattle, G. Dudamel, M. Minkowski, J.-C. Spinosi, R. Jacobs, L. Maazel, H. Rilling and F. Brüggen. As a composer, his main area of interest is music for voice and instruments: Sanctus-Benedictus (1992) and Salve Regina (2001) are his works most frequently performed around the world. Other recent works include Te Deum (2010), Missa Sanctus-Benedictus (2015), for two a cappella choirs; the oratorio Veni Creator Spiritus, first performed at the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona in 2016 and the Missa Sagrada Familia for choir, organ, brass ensemble and percussion (2018) awarded with the price Josep Anselm Clavé for the best choral work composed in Catalonia that year. Since 2005, he has taught choir conducting at the Catalonia Music High-school. He also teaches workshops, seminars and masterclasses on a regular basis in a number of cities in Europe and Latin America.
Maria Goundorina was born in Novosokolniki in Russia and grew up near Moscow, where she started singing in choirs at the age of seven, taking up conducting when she was fifteen. She studied at the Ippolitov-Ivanov Music College and at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (with B. Tevlin) and later at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm with A. Eby, also following courses in musicology at the University of Vienna. In 2005, Maria moved to Stockholm to study choral conducting with, among others, A. Eby and C. Rydinger Alin at the Royal Academy of Music. Maria graduated in choral conducting in 2008. Her ideals in terms of choral sound have been influenced by these cities and her studies, but also by her own experiences as a singer and conductor. She has been a member of the Chamber Choir of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and Mikaeli Chamber Choir, and has conducted numerous Swedish choirs, including the Swedish Radio Choir, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir and the choir of the Royal Swedish Opera. Maria has been one of the finalists in the Vienna Competition for Young Choir Conductors, where she also received the award for Best interpretation of a romantic work. She was awarded an Eric Ericson’s travel scholarship, and was one of the finalists in the international Eric Ericson conductor competition in 2009. Since 2010 Maria Goundorina has been artistic director of Allmänna Sången. She also teaches choral conducting and singing and Russian music at courses in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Since 2015 Maria Goundorina has been teaching choral singing at the renomated choral school in Stockholm - Adolf Fredrik Musikklasser.
He is one of those secluded conductors and far from the stereotype of the globetrotting artist but he is also one of the few Italian conductors to be invited to conduct orchestras and groups of the highest prestige, such as Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Orchestra & Choir, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Teatro La Fenice Orchestra & Choir in Venice. Regular guest of the main concert societies and of the major symphonic, ancient and contemporary music festivals - such as Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Biennale di Venezia, MiTo Settembre Musica, Sagra Musicale Umbra-, among his many experiences he has had the opportunity to work alongside musicians such as C. Abbado, L. Berio, F. Brüggen, M.W. Chung, C.M. Giulini, L. Maazel, M. Nyman, A. Pärt , G. Prêtre, M. Rostropovich, G. Sinopoli. Eclectic, unconventional, sporting and anti-social media, he has chosen to follow his passions rather than an obligatory career, selecting both the repertoire and the concert and musical activity in general. While a preference for Italy, he has also conducted in various theaters and concert halls in Europe and South America, ranging from the Overture by J.S. Bach to Rendering by L. Berio, from Handel's Oratories to various operas by Mozart, Gluck, Rossini and some Verdi, collaborating with many soloists such as P. Berman, R. Brautigam, R. Buchbinder, M. Campanella, B. Canino, A. Carbonare, G. Carmignola, P. De Maria, E. Dindo, M. Fröst, A. Lucchesini, B. Lupo, S. Mingardo, M. Pletnev, G. Sollima, and for many years he has dedicated himself - until its closure in 2009 - to the Athestis Chorus & Academia de li Musici, a professional choir and orchestra ensemble with period instruments. With a constant passion for the choir and the symphonic-choral repertoire, he was the youngest choir master of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome (2000-2002), has conducted many other choral ensembles including the World Youth Choir (2005 and 2016), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Estonian National Male Choir, Italian Youth Choir, Le Choeur National des Jeunes and the choirs of various Opera Houses in opera and lyric-symphonic productions and with different choral ensembles he won won five first and two second prizes in national and international competitions. He was a member of the artistic commission of Feniarco and of European Choral Association, has recorded for the RAI and radio and television stations in many countries and he has recorded for Amadeus, Chandos Records, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Virgin.
Musician from Turin, he graduated in composition and choral music at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Turin. He also studied piano and orchestra conducting. As a De Sono scholarship holder, he studied in Stockholm from 1998 to 2001 with G. Graden, and later his assistant, and with E. Ericson, T. Kaljuste, F. Bernius, R. Rasmussen. In 2001 he won the second prize at the first edition of the International competition for young choral conductors in Budapest. Since 2005 he has been the artistic director of the Associazione Piccoli Cantori di Torino where he directs the music school and its choral ensembles, the Piccoli Cantori di Torino and the Giovani Cantori di Torino. For the association he has conducted more than 300 concerts, created the festival Voci in movimento, devised musical theater shows, participated in a Creative Europe project, recorded 5 CDs (including the latest Giro Giro Canto 8 for Feniarco). He is the founder (2003) and artistic director of the G Choir, with which he has held about 150 concerts and several tours in Italy and abroad. He was founder and artistic director of Torino Vocalensemble (2000-2012), Coro 900, Siryn Vocal Ensemble and Ensemble Diagonale. In the three-year 2017-2019 he was co-conductor of the Coro Giovanile Italiano. As choirmaster he has collaborated with Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestra dei Pomeriggi Musicali, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and others. He has worked for the Teatro Regio of Turin and the Teatro Comunale of Bologna. He has premiered works by A. Pärt, D. Del Puerto, J. Mäntyjärvi, N. Campogrande, E. Camoletto, A. Colla, L. Marconi, C. Margutti and other composers. He has been teaching at the School for Actors of the Teatro Stabile di Torino since 2016, the Holden School in Turin, the School for Choir Directors of the Fondazione Guido d'Arezzo, the Arcom Laboratory for choir conductors. He has held masterclasses and courses in choral conducting, choral singing and interpretation, both in Italy and abroad and is frequently invited as a jury member in competitions for choirs and conductors. As a composer he has composed works performed, among others, by Voces Nordicae, S:t Jacobs Kammarkör, Stockholms Musikgymnasiums Kammarkör, Ensemble Cantissimo, Coro Claudefaula. He was artistic manager of the Festival Europa Cantat Torino 2012, artistic director of the International competition for young choral conductors (Torino, 2015), member of the artistic commission, vice-president and, from 2018 to 2021, president of European Choral Association.