Mount Royal Kantorei

[CANADA] Conductor: John Morgan

Kantorei is the flagship adult chorus of the Conservatory at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. The mixed-voice, auditioned choir, currently comprised of sixty members from all walks of life, has been making exceptional music for twenty-three years. Its repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary, with a special focus on Canadian composers such as Eleanor Daley, Ruth Watson Henderson, and Imant Raminsh. Kantorei performs in the stunning Bella Concert Hall at Mount Royal University, where wonderful acoustics showcase the choir’s clear and rich harmonies.

Recent highlights include Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass and Karl Jenkins’ Armed Man A Mass for Peace, both in collaboration with the Calgary Youth Orchestra, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) with the Calgary Civic Symphony. Kantorei has also performed and collaborated internationally, in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin.

Artistic Director of Kantorei, John Morgan, has a passion for music education and performance, and believes in creating a working environment that fosters learning, creativity, musical development, collaboration, and fun. John focuses on directing multi-genre vocal groups, as well as delivering full-service music direction for local artists, corporations and events through his studio Morgan Music in Calgary. He is a conductor, organist, pianist, recording engineer and published composer and arranger whose work has been performed by groups across North America.

The Treblemakers
[CANADA] Conductor: Tanya Earle

The Treblemakers is one of two extracurricular choral programmes offered at St Mary’s High School, Cobourg in Ontario. The group is auditioned and forms part of the school’s larger 45-member SATB choir. Every year, the Treblemakers receive invitations to perform at Music Fest Canada and have participated in the prestigious Worldstrides Festivals of Gold, travelling to New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville. Members of the choir pride themselves in being excellent artistic communicators with exquisite vocal skills and technique.

Over the years, the choir has worked with R. Murry Schaffer, performing in “The Spirit Garden”. They also won an opportunity to sing onstage with Canadian superstar Marianas Trench, worked and performed with Juno award winners “the Good Lovelies”, and are currently working on a mentorship programme with Susan Aglukark. Other experiences include collaborating with Rajaton, Rick Fines, Aengus Finnan, and countless North American conductors, composers and vocal coaches.

Pueri Gaudentes
[CZECH REPUBLIC] Conductor: Libor Sládek

Pueri gaudentes was founded in 1990 by choirmaster Zdena Součková and is one of the few male-voice choral ensembles in the Czech Republic. Their repertoire is incredibly versatile, covering everything from early Gregorian chant to the most recent compositions of the twenty-first century.

The choir has participated in various national competitions as well as winning awards at choral festivals in Gdańsk, Neerpelt, Gorizia, Lecco, Lindenholzhausen and St Petersburg. They have also travelled to Germany, Greece, and as far away as Japan (three times!). Pueri gaudentes has recorded for both radio and television, and regularly appears with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and Czech State Opera.

Libor Sládek initially trained as a civil engineer before undertaking postgraduate studies in music education. Asides from conducting Pueri gaudentes, he also founded and directs the highly successful ensemble Besharmonie. Libor has participated in many musical projects, including the performance and recording of the rock oratorio “Eversmiling Liberty” in the Czech Republic.

Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School Chamber Choir
[FINLAND] Conductor: Jonna Vehmanen

Established in 1965, Vaskivuori Chamber Choir is a mixed-voice youth choir of approximately 35 singers. Having received several prizes at national and international competitions, the choir is considered one of the best of its kind in Finland. In 2003 and 2004, the choir was appointed the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s Youth Choir of the Year, and from 2005 – 2007, the choir was nominated to serve as an ambassador for youth culture. In 2016, they received first prize at the Neerpelt European Music Festival, and in 2017, received two golden stamps at the Tampere Vocal Festival. Later that year, in October, they won the youth choir category in the EBU’s “Let the Peoples Sing” competition.

The choir gives several concerts annually in Finland and has made many successful tours and trips to Scandinavia, Estonia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, the United Kingdom, China and South Africa. They have also performed on the radio as well as releasing six recordings and four albums, the most recent being “Song of the Fearless” in 2018.

Since 2011, the choir has been conducted by Jonna Vehmanen, a graduate of both the Sibelius Academy and the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. Jonna works as a music teacher and choral conductor at both the Music Institute of Vantaa and Vaskivuori Upper Secondary School. Asides from conducting, Jonna arranges and composes choral music.

Ambitus Choir
[GREECE] Conductor: Katerina Vassilikou

Formed in 2002, the Ambitus Choir is a founding member of the Hellenic Choirs Association. Based in Nea Smyrni, a surburb of Athens, the choir is comprised of alumni and lovers of choral music from the Lycée Léonin. The choir has participated in several national and international competitions as a mixed or equal-voice ensemble, earning gold medals, Grand Prix, and special awards. The choir’s repertoire represents a wide range of Western and Greek music, from early compositions to contemporary works. Recent performance highlights include excerpts from Mikis Theodorakis’ “Canto General” at the Megaron Concert Hall in Athens, and a performance of John Rutter’s “Magnificat”, under the direction of the composer himself.

Born in Athens, Katerina Vassilikou is the choir’s conductor and founder. An alumna of the University of Athens, Katerina studied piano and classical singing, participated in choral seminars, and completed courses in the Carl Orff system, as well as in music and dance education.

Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath
[IRELAND] Conductor: Brian Dungan

Founded in 1960 by Proinsias Ó Ceallaigh, Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath is a female-voice choir based in Rathmines, Dublin. The choir has two constituent parts, a junior girls’ section and an adult female section, both of which have enjoyed huge success over the years under the batons of Bernie Sherlock and the late Brian Ó Dubhghaill. The extensive repertoire of Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath includes both sacred and secular works from a wide range of musical genres: Gregorian chant, renaissance polyphony, classical, romantic and contemporary, as well as folksongs and traditional Irish songs.

In November 2019, the choir competed in the third International Choral Festival of Aveiro, Portugal, where they were awarded the festival Grand Prix as well as first prize in the Female Voice Competition. In April 2019, the choir won first prize in the Ladies Competition at Feis Ceoil and in October 2017, the senior choir competed at the Sligo International Choral Festival winning first prizes in the Equal Voice, Sacred Music and four-part polyphony categories.

Since 2018, Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath has been under the direction of Brian Dungan. A graduate of both the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy, Budapest, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Brian works extensively as a percussionist with leading Irish ensembles such as the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, and Irish National Opera. Brian teaches percussion at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, is a lecturer at the TU Dublin Conservatory of Music, and last year was RTÉ’s Conductor-in-Training.

As well as working with Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath, Brian is both assistant conductor and a member of the multi award-winning New Dublin Voices. He has also sung with the World Youth Choir and in 2016, was made a lay vicar choral at Christchurch Cathedral.

Cuore Chamber Choir
[IRELAND] Conductor: Amy Ryan

Cuore is an award-winning chamber choir based in Dublin, conducted by Amy Ryan. Members come from all over Ireland, Europe and beyond, and share a love for high-quality choral music. Cuore’s varied repertoire ranges from standard a cappella works to Tudor editions prepared by choir members and premières of contemporary compositions written for the choir. Founded in 2014, Cuore has consistently achieved high standards under Amy’s leadership, winning first prizes at New Ross (2015), Mayo (2016), and Sligo (2016) Choral Festivals. On their inaugural visit to Cork International Choral Festival in 2018, the choir was awarded first place in the National Competition for Mixed Voice Choirs and second place in Ireland’s Choir of the Year. As the invited guest choir at the 2019 Zêzere Arts Festival in Portugal, Cuore performed diverse music including polychoral works by Enda Bates, Luca Marenzio and Thomas Tallis.

The choir’s conductor, Amy Ryan, is a performer and educator from Killarney. She is Chairperson of the Kodály Society of Ireland and lectures in music at Trinity College Dublin and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. She is also in demand as an adjudicator and workshop facilitator. Amy holds a BMus from CIT Cork School of Music, and an MA and Advanced Diploma from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music, Hungary. She has directed a wide variety of groups including chamber, cathedral and university choirs, choral societies, early music ensembles, opera choruses, and orchestras. She has sung with professional cathedral choirs as well as performing throughout Europe and the USA as a cellist and flautist.

Dublin Youth Chamber Choir
[IRELAND] Conductor: Lynsey Callaghan

Dublin Youth Choir began in January 2017 with the launch of its Chamber Choir; 24 young singers were chosen to perform challenging repertoire and to develop their musicianship under the mentorship of artistic director, Lynsey Callaghan. The choir won Best Youth Choir in the RTÉ LyricFM Choirs for Christmas 2017 and 2018 competitions. They also won the Dublin County Choir Award for Youth Choirs at Feis Ceoil 2019 and received the Oliver O’Brien Award, the overall award for best choir in the competition. Dublin Youth Chamber Choir won the Youth Choir competition at the 2019 Cork International Choral Festival and placed third in Ireland’s Choir of the Year competition. As the Cross Border Youth Choir, along with the Belfast Philharmonic Chamber Choir, they won the Youth Choir competition at the 2018 Derry International Choral Festival.

In August 2019, Dublin Youth Chamber Choir was named Champions of the European Choir Games in the Youth Choir category and was awarded two gold medals, including one for the international Grand Prix, and a gold diploma. Dublin Youth Choir was the only Irish choir out of 171 choirs and 6,300 participants from 47 nations. Following this, they were invited by President Higgins to perform at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Lynsey Callaghan is the founder and artistic director of Dublin Youth Choir and artistic director of the Belfast Philharmonic Youth and Chamber Choirs. She regularly works as chorusmaster for Chamber Choir Ireland and is currently undertaking a PhD in medieval musicology at Trinity College Dublin.

Laetare Vocal Ensemble
[IRELAND] Conductor: Róisín Blunnie

Laetare Vocal Ensemble is a mixed choir from Dublin, Ireland. The choir was formed in 2014, and since then has won prizes at a wide range of festivals, including second prize at the City of Derry International Choir Festival, “Ireland’s Choir of the Year” at the Cork International Choral Festival, and several special awards for the performance of contemporary music. In 2019, the choir qualified for the Grand Prix final of the Ave Verum International Choral Festival in Baden, Austria.

Laetare will shortly release its second CD, an album of contemporary Irish choral music and poetry, featuring some of Ireland’s leading poets and composers. The choir is active in commissioning new works from Irish composers, and recently sang as backing choir on singer-songwriter Vyvienne Long’s album “A Lifetime of High Fives”.

Laetare Vocal Ensemble is conducted by Dr Róisín Blunnie. Róisín is Assistant Professor of Music at Dublin City University (DCU) and director of DCU’s MA in Choral Studies programme. She won the conductor’s award for the performance of an interesting and varied programme at the 2017 City of Derry Choir Festival, and returned to that festival as a member of the international jury in 2019.

Glasis Chamber Choir
[SLOVENIA] Conductor: Ernest Kokot

Glasis Chamber Choir, led by conductor Ernest Kokot, was founded in September 2013 and currently has twenty-four members. Based in Markovci, Slovenia, the choir forms part of the “KUD Markovski Zvon”, an organisation dedicated to promoting local art and culture. The choir regularly appears in concerts throughout Slovenia as well as competing in local and international competitions.

In 2018, the choir won a gold prize and a special performance award in Zadar, Croatia, as well as receiving a silver medal at Slovenia’s national choral competition “Naša pesem”. The choir has also competed in Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, winning several awards, including two gold prizes.

Last year, Glasis Chamber Choir presented “Musica Noster Amor”, a concert charting the development of music throughout different periods in history. Future plans include a concert tour alongside the famous Slovenian jazz composer Žan Tetičkovič.

The choir’s conductor, Ernest Kokot, is a professor of music and studied under Professor Jože Fürst at the University of Maribor. During his studies, Ernest was choirmaster of the Ptuj Male Voice Chamber Choir (2005 – 2012), with whom he achieved notable successes at national and international competitions.