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Jury 2015

The jury consists of seven expert adjudicators from different culture groups. This year on the 14th International Chamber Choir Competition 2015 the jury will be come from: Germany, Slowenia, Cuba, Switzerland, Estonia, Philippines and Great Britain.

Georg Grün

Head of the Jury / Saarbrücken, Germany

Georg Grün studied church and school music, conducting, catholic theology and musicology at the Academy for Music and the University of the Saarland as well as organ improvisation under Jean-Pierre Leguay in Paris.


After finishing his studies, he founded the Saarbrücken Chamber Choir with which he very quickly received international recognition. Countless prizes at choir competitions, numerous CD recordings in addition to invitations to take part in well known concert series and festivals are proof of the high level of the ensemble.

From 2000 to 2012 he was Professor for conducting at the University for Music in Mannheim with whose choir he worked at a high musical level, winning several international prizes at choir competitions. In August 2012 Georg Grün took over an additional post at the Saar University for Music where he has been Professor for Choral Conducting since October 1st 2012. In 2014 he founded the network „ChorWerk Saar“. 


In addition, Georg Grün is a sought after member of the jury at international competitions and a lecturer at international master classes. For three years he headed the „European Academy for Young Choral Conductors“ at Europa Cantat (Cork, Mannheim, Barcelona) and gave master classes in many European countries, including at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, in the Boswil Art House, at the „Schwäbisch Gmünd Church Music Festival“ and the „Kurt Thomas Course Utrecht“.  Recently, he was invited to lecture and to take part in the jury at the 10th. International Busan Choral Festival in Korea and at the international Choir Competition in Tolosa.


In addition to his work with his own ensemble, Georg Grün regularly appears as a guest conductor at home and abroad.

Helena Fojkar Zupančič

Litija, Slwenia

Helena Fojkar Zupančič received her solo singing and musical education at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, and perfected her skills at numerous solo singing and conducting seminars. She works at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in Ljubljana as a choral conductor and voice coach. She conducts the St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and the St. Nicholas Mixed Choir, both devoted to classical repertoire, as well as a 90-member (Re)Mixed Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, that sings gospel, pop, and musical. Her choirs excell in perfected vocal technique, in depth knowledge of musical material, rich sound, and original interpretations.


Among her recent achievements are: absolute victories at the EBU competition Let the Peoples Sing 2009 in Oslo and Summa cum Laude 2013 in Vienna, participation at the European Festival of Youth Choirs, Basel with the St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir, as well as victories at Venezia in Musica 2011, Maasmechelen 2013, and gold plaque at Naša pesem 2012 national competition with the St. Nicholas Mixed Choir. 


From 2004 to 2009, she led the Slovenian Children’s Choir. Since 2009 she has performed and recorded as a conductor with the project-based RTV Slovenia Chamber Choir, she also appeared with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra last year and the Slovenia Philharmonic Chamber Choir this year.  She leads seminars for conductors and music teachers and participates in national and international juries. Commissioning and performing new works by Slovenian composers on a regular basis, she has also recorded several CDs.

Digna Guerra Ramírez

Havanna, Cuba 

Digna Guerra initially studied with Profs. Ofelia Busquet and Fé Castillo. She later entered the Havana Conservatory with piano as her major field under Prof. Esther Ferrer. She then entered the Havana Choral School, where she graduated in voice and choral conducting with Prof. Manuel Ochoa. She continued her higher education in choral conducting at the Hanns Eisler College of Music in Berlin with Prof. Horst Müller.


She began her work in 1962 with the formation of amateur choruses and musical groups of various formats. In 1965 she was named conductor of the Coro de ICRT and later of the Coro de la Ópera Nacional de Cuba and technical director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. She assumed the posts of professor and department head in choral conducting at the Escuela Nacional de Arte. She leads workshops and courses worldwide.


She has been the general director of Coro Nacional de Cuba since 1975 and founded the chamber choir “Entrevoces“ in 1981, with which she has developed cultural diffusion work in choral music of the highest level. With her choirs Digna Guerra has participated in important festivals and in national and international competitions at which she has obtained various prizes and recognition from the press and the public. 


She is currently the president of the Cuban Association of Choirs and a member of the International Federation for Choral Music. Moreover, she is titular professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte and a member of the National Council of UNEAC. 

Michael Gohl

Zürich, Switzerland

The Swiss musician Michael Gohl is a choral and orchestral conductor and an experienced music teacher from Zürich. After graduating as a clarinettist, he studied choral and orchestral conducting at the University for Music in Zurich under André Charlet and later, among others, under Helmuth Rilling and Antal Dorati.


Michael Gohl is a regular guest conductor at workshops and for community singing events at such international festivals as Europa Cantat, the World Choral Symposium or the Zimriya festival in Jerusalem. He works as a guest lecturer at international workshops for choral conductors and choirs as well as being a member of the jury for choir competitions. He is lecturer for choral conducting at the Zurich University of the Arts and at the Solotutti Music Centre in Solothurn. 

He has involved himself for many years and in many different ways to encourage young people and to communicate music, for example in community singing, accompanying orchestral concerts given by the Stuttgart Philharmonic and the Munich Philharmonic as well as in festival projects, among them the founding of the Swiss children’s and young people’s choral festivals  SKJF. 

Michael Gohl is Head of the Zollikon Music School and is co-publisher of song books and music teaching materials. 

Aarne Saluveer

Tallinn, Estonia

Aarne Saluveer, graduated in choral conducting and music pedagogics from Tallinn State Conservatory in 1982, is one of the most active figures in the Estonian children’s and youth music scene, a teacher, conductor and educator. Currently he conducts the Estonian TV Girls’ Choir, since 2006 he holds the posts of Principal at Tallinn G. Ots Music College.


Aarne Saluveer’s choirs have won international awards at diverse Estonian and international choral contests such as Tolosa, Gorizia, Arezzo, Let the Peoples Sing, etc. Since 1993 he has conducted children’s and toddler’s choirs at Estonian Song Celebrations, and was Artistic Director of 10th Youth Song Celebration Ilmapuu (2007): an open-air concert uniting joint choir of 20 000 singers, symphony orchestras, brass bands and 100 000 spectators.


He has conducted concerts to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Their Majesties Japanese Emperor and Empress at their visits to Estonia, has been artistic director of Anniversary Concert of Estonian Republic, written and arranged music for diverse pop music projects and performed as an instrumentalist and vocalist, Eurovision song contests and international broadcasts included.


Aarne Saluveer has made presentations at numerous international conferences and symposiums, led international workshops in Europe and America and worked as adjuciator in several choral contests, etc. Saluveer was awarded several prizes and was elected Musician of the Year 2007 by Estonian Public National Broadcasting and Conductor of the Year 2007 by Estonian Choral Association.


Jonathan Velasco

Manila, Philippines

Jonathan Velasco is a most sought-after choral conductor, clinician, and adjudicator in the world today. He joined the University of the Philippines Madrigal Singers under Prof. Andrea Veneracion in 1981, and became its assistant choirmaster later. In 1989, he studied Choral Conducting at the Berliner Kirchenmusikschule under Martin Behrmann and finished with distinction.


He is the first Asian principal conductor of the World Youth Choir and was jury for the 2002, 2004, and 2006 Choir Olympics in Busan, Bremen and Xiamen. He has also judged the international choral competitions in Maasmechelen (Belgium), Budapest (Hungary), Tolosa (Spain), Wernigerode and Marktoberdorf (Germany), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and Hongkong.


Jonathan Velasco regularly holds choral clinics and workshops in Manila as well as in the USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. He is the President of the Philippine Choral Directors‘ Association (PCDA) and currently conducts the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

Timothy Brown

Switzerland/Great Britain

Tim Brown, following a distinguished career as Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge, now enjoys a busy freelance life centred around the Zürcher Sing-Akademie, Zürich, and the professional choir, English Voices. He remains actively involved in the musical life of Cambridge University, where he is visiting Director of Chapel Music at Robinson College since 2010.


He is much in demand as a guest conductor, and as chorus master for opera projects. In 2010 he prepared English Voices for two productions in the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Gluck’s Alceste and Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and in 2011 he assisted René Jacobs in a production of Handel’s Belshazzar at the Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse. In 2012 he was chorus master for the Hallwyl Opera production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville with members of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie. 


In 2014 Tim Brown was chorus master (with English Voices) for the Aix-en-Provence festival productions of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (dir. Pablo Heras-Casado) and Händel’s Ariodante (dir. Andrea Marcon) as well as for the Bavarian State Opera production of L’Orfeo by Monteverdi, dir. Ivor Bolton (with singers of the Zürcher Sing-Akademie). In December 2014 he directed the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in a performance of Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium.


Workshops with amateur choirs remain a central part of his activities and 2015 sees him in the UK, Israel (Zimriya) and at Europa Cantat (Pécs).