Jury 2023:

Romuald Twardowski
Margrethe Ek (Norway)
Margrethe Ek started conducting at the age of 14. Ek studied music for eight years, including master in singing, an education in music performance and presentation, and a diploma in conducting from the Norwegian Academy of Music. She has written a book of the health benefits of singing in a choir (Cantando 2012). An article of choir and health benefits are to be published in the bulletin of international federation of choral music (IFCM). Ek currently works as a teacher in music at two local high schools. She has previously worked at the University of Oslo within the subjects of song and conduction for 11 years. Being a conductor filled with energy and dynamic presentations, she has conducted several ensembles at high levels within several genres – both choirs and instrumental ensembles (symphony orchestras and wind ensembles). Ek’s different ensembles have often been seen on national TV and radio, and they have participated in choir contests at international levels with great results. Margrethe Ek has been acknowledged as both a lecturer and a visiting conductor for both businesses and musical ensembles in Norway. She is often invited to be a judge in both national and international choir contests. Today Margrethe Ek is the conductor of Moss Ensemble Consensus, founded in 2010.

Ko Matsushita (Japan)
A Conductor and a 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, 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 with 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 10 choirs, which perform both in Japan and abroad, achieving excellent reports in competitions they participate in. Recently, one of his choir, Chamber choir “Vox Gaudiosa” won the Grand Prix international competition “Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido d’Arezzo 2011” in Italy. From around the world he receives many invitations to act as a guest conduct, 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. His works are mainly published by Edtion KAWAI (Japan), Ongaku-no-tomo edtion (Japan), Carus-Verlag, stuttgart (Germany), Sulasol (Finland) Annie Bank Edition (Holland). In 2012, with his choir won 1st place at the Krakow Advent & Christmas Choir Festival (Poland)

Rihards Dubra
Rihards Dubra (Latvia) Was born in Riga. He studied music first in Jurmala School of Music, after that at the Emils Darzins College of Music. In 1989, he graduated from the Latvian Music Academy composition class under Adolfs Skulte (as an elective he learned symphonic conducting), and in 1996 earned his master’s degree at the Latvian Academy of Music under Juris Karlsons. During his studies, he began to teach harmony and composition at the Jurmala School of Music. Presently he is a professor Ventspils Music School. His other sphere of work is involved with the organ and liturgy. Rihards Dubra was the organist at the Riga Our Lady of Suffering Church, and, as of 1999, he is the cantor of the Riga St. Mary Magdalene Church. The basic genres of the composer’s creative work are large-scale genres for voices with accompaniment, choir music, organ music and symphonic music. Irrespectively of his genre choice, Dubra’s basic creative interests turn to sacred music. “As the belief is the only purity in this world, I cannot see anything better, only to write sacred music,” the composer comments on his creative activities. The composer’s activities at St. Mary Magdalene congregation in Riga and singing in the group Schola Cantorum Riga from its very beginning give inspiration for his creative work. The basis of Rihards Dubra music style is the unification of minimalism and neo-romantic tunes with the intonation, form and philosophy of Gregorian, Medieval and Renaissance music. “My music often is meditative; I like to stop a moment and to check it for some time. It is not possible in life, but music lets manage the impossible – light, longing and eternity speak to us feeling every moment…” Rihards Dubra’s music has been performed in several countries of the world: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland, England, France, Austria, Italia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Argentina, USA and others.

Ambrož Čopi (Slovenia)
Ambrož Čopi graduated from the composition class of Dane Škerl and completed his post-graduate studies in the class of Uroš Rojko at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. His compositions received awards at numerous composer competitions and are included on CD’s: Lyrical Aquarelles (by the Academic choir APZ Tone Tomšič, conducted by Stojan Kuret) and Birdies were still dreaming (ČarniCe, conductor Stojan Kuret), as well as on various CDs by other national and foreign choirs. His compositions are published by the publishing houses Astrum, DSS, and Sulasol. For his outstanding achievements during his study Ambrož Čopi was awarded the Young Musician Award in 1995, in 1997 he won the Prešeren Prize of the University of Ljubljana. He works as a prof at the Music Gymnasium Koper and Konservatory of Music Ljubljana. He conducts the Youth Mixed Choir of Gymnasium Koper, the Choir KGBL, until 2007 he had conducted the Chamber Orchestra »Vladimir Lovec« (2005–2007). Already at the time of his study he founded the Chamber Choir Iskra Bovec (1992), 1998 he took the conductor’s position in the newly founded Nova Gorica Chamber Choir (Komorni zbor Nova Gorica) till 2004 and in the Mixed Choir Obala Koper (till 2007). Since 2004 he has been the conductor of the Academic Choir of the University of Primorska. The choirs brought him nine gold medals from national competitions, fourteen first places and several gold awards from competitions abroad: the Grand Prix of Varna (Bulgaria, 2008), Tonen 2000 (the Netherlands, 2006), Prèveza (Greece 2003 and 2006), the »Franz Schubert« from Vienna (Austria, 2001), Cantonigròs (Spain, 2000 and 2011), Fortlauredale (the USA, 1999), Samobor (Croatia, 2011), Ohrid (Macedonia, 201and Gdansk (Poland). For his interpretations he was awarded several special prizes; he further received prizes for exceptional achievements with the choir, and was selected the best conductor of the competition. In 2009 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the University of Primorska for the achievements with the APZ UP choir. As a professional adjudicator and a member of the competition juries he is regularly invited to various choral events and competitions, and as a lecturer he is involved in choral music seminars at home and abroad.

Siedlik Włodzimierz Siedlik (Krakow, Poland)
A graduate of the Academy of Music in Krakow (diploma with the highest distinction), the Liturgical Institute of the Pontifical Theological Academy in Krakow (diploma with distinction) and Voice Emission Study at the Music Academy in Bydgoszcz (diploma with honors). In March 1990, he became a laureate of the Polish National Competition for Choir Conductors in Poznań. In the years 1990–1992, he was the director of the Paderewski Center in Tarnów. In 1991 he founded the Tarnów Chamber Orchestra. In the years 1992–1996 he was the director of the State Music School Complex in Tarnów. Since 1994, he has been working as an adjunct at the Liturgical Institute of PAT in Krakow (currently UPJPII). During his conducting work with the Cantus, Psalmody and Choir Choir of the Jagiellonian University he received many Polish and foreign awards and distinctions. In 1995-2010, he was the Director and Artistic Manager of the Polish Radio Choir in Krakow. In 2000, during the jubilee celebrations of the 75th anniversary of Polish Radio, he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit. In 2001, he received the Jerzy Kurczewski prize for outstanding achievements in conducting awarded by the chapter under the honorary patronage of prof. Krzysztof Penderecki. In 2002, he conducted the 1st grade degree qualification at the Academy of Music in Krakow. In 2010, he was awarded the Medal of Merit for Polish Culture awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. In 2012, he obtained the degree of habilitated doctor at the Academy of Music in Krakow, where he is the head of the Chair of Choir Studies. In the same year, he was honored with the "Benemerenti" award by Pope Benedict XVI for exceptional services to the Church. In 2013, he received the "Plus ratio quam vis" medal awarded by prof. Wojciech Nowak, Rector of the Jagiellonian University.

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