Vytautas Miškinis – Lithuania – President of the Jury
Vytautas Miškinis is the Artistic Director of the Ažuoliukas Boys’ and Men’s Choir, Professor of Choral Conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and President of the Lithuanian Choral Union. He graduated in Choral Conducting from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 1976 (conducting class of Prof. H. Perelšteinas). He began his career in Ažuoliukas at the age of seven as a vocalist, and continued as Artistic Director from the age of 25. All the achievements of the choir from 1979 have been due to Mr. Miškinis’ leadership. For several years he conducted the Kaunas State Choir and Vocal Ensemble Museum Musicum. With the choirs he has won prestigious prizes at numerous national and international competitions – in Marktoberdorf, Gorizia, Varna, Maribor, Tampere, Mainhausen, Nantes. Currently Mr. Miškinis is an Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the All-Lithuanian Choir Festival. Vytautas Miškinis has led choral performances in Europe, Canada, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Singapore, and the USA. A number of compositions for choir with Symphonic Orchestras have been conducted by Vytautas Miskinis. He has also lectured and held seminars on Music Education and conducting in Lithuania and abroad – in the Czech Republic, Korea, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Singapore and the Ukraine. He has participated in numerous national and international choral events as composer and advisor. He has led workshops and has been a Member of the Jury at International Choir and Choral Composition Competitions worldwide. Vytautas Miškinis has composed about 400 religious motets a cappella, 18 Masses, Magnificat, Cantatas, Musicals and about 400 secular songs, which are performed by choirs throughout Lithuania and the rest of Europe. Lithuanian and foreign choirs have recorded his compositions on CD. Many compositions for children’s choirs are published in Lithuania and a couple of religious compositions also in France, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Japan, Latvia and the USA. V. Miškinis has several times been awarded prestigious State and Government Prizes such as Honoured Artist of Lithuania, the Prize for Culture and Art, Order of Grand Duke Gediminas, Medal of Duke Žygimantas Augustas. In 2002 as a composer he was nominated “Author of the Year”. In 2010 Carus Verlag Publishing House, Germany, recorded the CD “V.Miškinis Portrait“ (Consonare Choir),Hyperion in UK published the CD “The Time is Endless” (choir of Royal Holloway University).
Cinzia Zanon – Italy – Member of the Jury
Cinzia Zanon graduated in choral music and choral conducting under the guidance of Maestro Bruno Coltro. During his training, she followed specialization courses with internationally renowned teachers. The desire to convey the passion, the enthusiasm for singing and music in general, together with the conviction of the great educational value of making a choir, even for the little children, led her to specialize in music didactic branch, attending internships throughout Italy and then leading courses for children, teachers and choir directors. She is a member of commissions and juries in national and international competitions. Director of several choirs (female, mixed, children choirs) and instrumental ensembles, she has toured in America, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Australia, the Philippines, China and in many countries of the European Union. From 2007 to 2015 she was a member of the Regional Artistic Commission of the ASAC and from 2014 to 2017 of the National Committee of FENIARCO. She is the creator and artistic director of national and international events such as Primavera Musicale - Incontri Corali Internazionali, Canticoro - Musica corale a Bassano, Poesia in Canto, Meeting nazionale per cori di voci bianche e giovanili a Bassano del Grappa. Among the most important awards we recall that she was awarded the special prize for conducting by the jury in 1999 at the International Choral Competition in Riva del Garda, the best director award in 2016 at the International Competition and in 2017 at the National Il Garda in Coro di Malcesine.
Aleksei Petrov – Russia – Member of the Jury
Aleksei Petrov graduated in 1999 from the Sveshnikov Moscow Choral School; in 2004 he graduated from the Academy of Choral Art in choir direction (Prof. Victor Popov) and in singing (Prof. Dimitri Vdovin); in 2008 he received a post-graduate diploma in Artistic Sciences. Since 2004 he has taught at the Academy of Choral Art (Moscow). In 2005 he obtained the First Prize and the Special Prize for the First Competition for Choir Directors in Moscow, while in 2016 he won two Gold Medals at the IX Edition of the World Choir Games (Russia). Aleksei Petrov succeeded Professor Victor Popov in the direction of the Grand Chorus of the Academy of Choral Art. Under his direction several choral ensembles of the Academy have performed concerts in Russia, Europe, Japan, USA, Mexico, Canada, and participated in major national and international choral festivals: Colmar Music Festival (France 2004, 2008, 2010, 2013) ; Europalia (Belgium 2005); Oldenburger Promenade (Germany 2004-2006, 2008, 2012-2014, 2016); Festival de Música de Canarias (Canary Islands, 2008); Rheingau Music Festival (Germany, 2008, 2010); Graubuenden Festival Snow and Symphony (Switzerland, 2011), Moscow Easter Festival (Russia 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018); Spasskaya Tower (Moscow 2009), Cherry Orchard Art Festival (Moscow 2010, 2013); Christmas Festival of Sacred Music (Moscow 2011, 2012); International Music Festival dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach (Moscow 2011), Felix Mendelssohn (Moscow 2012) and Sergei Rachmaninov (Moscow 2013), Grand Festival of Russian National Orchestra (2012-2016). As a choir director, Petrov has collaborated with illiterate directors and singers. In 2008 he made his debut as a conductor with Rossini’s work ‘Il Viaggio a Reims’ as part of the ‘Durance Luberon Festival’ (France); in 2009, assisted by Maestro S. Sondeckis, he conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in the Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow State Conservatory, ‘New Russia’ Orchestra and a choir of 800 singers. Since 2010, as a guest conductor he has performed with the main symphony orchestras of Russia. In 2012 he directed Mozart’s opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ in the Krasnoyarsk Opera House. In 2014 he directed the anthem of the Russian Federation at the closing ceremony of the XI Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi. In 2017 he directed the opera ‘Eugene Onegin’ by Tchaikovsky on the stage of the Yaroslavl State Philharmonic. A. Petrov is a world-renowned specialist in the field of orchestral conducting and choir conducting; he took part as guest professor in important music festivals such as ‘Europa Cantat’ (Hungary, 2015), China International Choral Festival (China, 2017-2018), Montecatini Opera Academy (Italy, 2017-2018).
Aldo Cicconofri – Italy - Member of the Jury
Aldo Cicconofri graduated in Singing, Choral Music and Choir Conducting at the L. Cherubini Conservatory of Music in Florence. He was a lecturer at the U. Giordano Conservatory of Music of Foggia, F. Morlacchi of Perugia and G. Rossini of Pesaro (Choir - Choral training - Performance Practice for the Choir Direction Master Course). He has been working as a choir conductor for many years, collaborating with various groups (Coro Polifonico Città di Tolentino, Choir of the University of Macerata, Ensemble Comedia Harmonica, Italian Festival Chorus) with which he has given concerts in many European countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Latvia, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece) and with whom he made numerous recordings. He has collaborated with important groups and with great conductors such as Alberto Zedda and Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli. He leads Choral Music Courses and Masterclasses and Choir Direction and is often invited a as member of the Jury in national and international competitions for choral singing. He was founder and President of the ARCOM (Regional Association of Marche Choirs), vice president and member of the Artistic Commission of FENIARCO (Italian National Federation of Regional Choir Associations). He is currently a member of the Artistic Commission of the Italian Chorus Federation ChorusInside.
Inessa Bodyako – Belarus – Member of the Jury
Inessa Bodyako is a renowned Belarusian choral conductor and educator. In 2008 she took the position of artistic director of student choir at the Belarusian State Academy of Music, where in 2011 she accepted a position of the Head of Choral Conducting Department. Mrs. Bodyako often gives lectures based on her areas of expertise, such as History of Russian choral music and choral conducting techniques. She has been a chorus master at the Belarusian National TV and Radio Broadcasting company, along with being a founder and the main conductor of Cantemus chamber choir. From 1997 to 2010 she was a regent at the choir of the Orthodox Christmas church (Minsk). Under her leadership, those ensembles became the winners of numerous international competitions all over the world. Inessa Bodyako was an initiator and served as a board member for many projects, such as competitions, conferences and festivals all over her homeland Belarus. She is being regularly invited to serve as a jury member and a guest professor all over Germany, China, Romania, Russia, Poland, France, Ukraine. Inessa Bodyako is an Honorary professor of Anyang Normal University (China). Since 2013 she is a member of the World Choir Council (Interkultur). Since 2018 she is the Chairperson of the Belarusian Choral Directors Association, the Head of the Choral Conducting Department and the Artistic Director of the awarding-winning Student Choir of the Belarusian Academy of Music. Inessa is involved in a great number of choral projects in Belarus including Open Choral Conductor’s Competition named after V. Rovdo and Choral Pages of the XX century. She is regularly invited as a specialist for lectures and master-classes on Russian, Belarusian Orthodox and modern choral music in Europe, Russia and China; she is an adjudicator, conductor and teacher of conducting, developer of such a phenomenon in Belarus as a ‘choral theater’.
The University of Parma Choir came into being in 1968 upon the request of both teachers and students, who named it after the Parmesan composer Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880-1968). Over the years, the choir has collaborated with noteworthy institutions such as the “Teatro La Fenice” in Venice, the “Teatro Regio” in Parma, the “Arturo Toscanini” Symphonic Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Mantua and the “Arrigo Boito” Conservatoire in Parma. It has also often participated in international festivals in prestigious settings in Italy, Scotland, Catalonia and Greece, such as the “Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba” in Piacenza, “Hutchensons’ Hall” in Glasgow, the “Sagrada Famiglia” in Barcelona, among many others. The choir also performs medieval music, a practice which has been established through the choir’s participation in the “Festival Oltrepo medievale” (Oltrepo Medieval Festival) and in the “Festival dei due mondi” (The Two Worlds Festival) in Spoleto.
In recent years, the choir has received a positive response not just from members but also from music-loving citizens, thanks to numerous concerts held in and around Parma. Strong links have been forged with cultural institutions such as the administrative bodies of Parma and Piacenza and Mantua and Brescia, having taken part several times in “La notte dei Musei” (Museum Night) e la “Settimana della Cultura” (Cultural Week). It has a thriving and continuous collaboration with the “Soli Deo Gloria” festival in Reggio Emilia, with the Municipality of Parma and with the “A. Boito” Conservatoire in Parma, associations which strongly root the choir to its birthplace. Additionally, the choir performed on “Telethon”.
In 2007, the choir joined a close network of Italian University Choirs, with the aim of increasing musical and cultural exchanges. It has held concerts at numerous universities, such as Ancona, Reggio Emilia, Perugia, Venice, Macerata, Camerino, Pisa, Genoa, Bologna, Florence and Verona. 2008 marked the foundation’s 40th anniversary, for which the choir organised and has since continued to organise the “Gaudeamus in Musica” music festival, which celebrates the world of university music associations. From 2008 onwards is when the choir started touring regularly abroad: Madrid, Istanbul, Munich, with concerts hosted at universities and Italian Cultural Institutes.
In 2013 the choir was selected for the “Festival International de Musique Universitaire” in Belfort, France. In 2015 it participated in the first edition of the “UNInCANTO” Festival of University Choirs to mark the occasion of 150 years of “Firenze Capitale”, while in 2018 it was awarded the “Feluca d’Oro” at the Urbino “UNInCANTO” festival. In the same year, it also went on tour to Jerusalem, organised by AERCO, an association for choirs in the Emilia-Romagna region, in collaboration with the “Youth European Orchestra” directed by Paolo Olmi.
The choir has been led by the conductor Ilaria Poldi since 1994.
The Choir Le Allegre Note is the result of a school project born within the 3rd Educational Circle, today named Istituto Comprensivo I.C. 1 of Riccione, which counts among its ranks 115 singers, mostly pupils and former students of the school aged between 7 and 14 years. However, the choir is open to all children that live in Riccione! The choir celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2010, publishing the volume Tutta qui la cantoria… presto! In addition to traditional activities such as musical events, school twinning, solidarity projects, the choir Le Allegre Note has also always addressed to a more demanding area, aiming to offer to the young singers, qualitative and cultural experiences. Thus, among the dozens of shows and concerts performed to date, the choir has collaborated with symphonic and chamber orchestras and events of particular artistic importance. The choir has participated in dozens of productions such as Carmina Burana, Tosca, Boheme, Carmen, collaborating with prestigious theaters and symphonic and chamber music institutions up to the percussionists of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. In 2008 they sang in H. Berlioz's Te Deum under the direction of Maestro Claudio Abbado, in Bologna with RAI 1 television recording. The choir also sang on RAI 3 for the 2004 Memorial Day, performing the soundtrack of the film La vita è bella. In 2013 the choir gained the First Prize at the 5th International Competition Città di Treviso and First Prize at the 13th Città di Faenza Choral Competition. In May 2014 First Prize at the 14th Città di Faenza Choral Competition Cat. B. In May 2015 First Prize Cat. B and Second Prize Cat. A at the 15th Città di Faenza Choral Competition in addition to the Silver Band Diploma at the 3rd International Competition Queen of Adriatic Sea - Cattolica (RN). In March 2018 the choir won the First Prize at the C.I.M.P. Pesaro International Music Competition in the School Prize category. In May 2019 First Prize at the Choral Competition Giovani Voci per Guido"– Arezzo. Since 2004, the Choir has been included among the associations sponsored by the Municipality of Riccione. In the autumn of the same year the Choir Note in Crescendo (NIC), that brings together the most "elderly" choristers attending the last years of secondary school and the first years of high schools, was born from the choir Le Allegre Note. The two groups do separate activities but, on some occasions, they perform together. To date, Le Allegre Note and the Note in Crescendo have produced over 400 performances. The choir has been directed since its birth by prof. Fabio Pecci.