Jury of the International Choir Days Mainhausen 2017

Hans Jaskulsky
, Germany

Hans Jaskulsky was born in Konstanz (Bodensee). He was accepted a the University (Musikhochschule) Frankfurt/Main taking conducting lessons with Hellmuth Rillings und Jiri Starek. He achieved a bachelor's degree in school music and Germanistics and graduated in musical science with Ludwig Finscher, Heidelberg. Further classes with world famous conductors (Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Eric Ericson u.a.) as well as his participation at international conducting seminars completed his artistic development. He founded and still leads a large number of vocal and instrumental ensembles.

In 1979 Hans Jaskulsky was appointed Director of Music for the Musical Center of the University in Bochum (Ruhr-Universität Bochum). He also conducts the choir and orchestra of the Ruhr University as well as two chamber ensembles, Collegium vocale and Collegium instrumentale. Since 1998 he has been responsible for the organ concert series „Klangwelten“ played on the large Klais-Organ in the "Auditorium maximum" of the Ruhr University. From 1990-1996 he gave lectures on orchestra conducting at the University for Music in Frankfurt/Main. By means of another lectureship he cooperates closely with the Scientific Institute for Music of the Ruhr University in Bochum.

Conducting classes, various broadcastings and recordings as well as concert tours through Europe and other continents, in cooperation with well-known soloists, choirs and orchestras from Germany and abroad demonstrate his work. Hans Jaskulsky has organized the Music Weeks of the IAM (Internationaler Arbeitskreis für Musik), which he chairs since 1988 many times. He also has had many years of experience as a jury member at important choir festivals and choir competitions. As chairman of the International Association of Conductors he initiated and chaired in 1995, 1998 and 2001 the „International Choir Festival Ruhr a Cappella“, where first class choirs from all over the world performed in various cities in the Ruhr region. Despite his broad artistic experience his focus continues to be on a cappella choir music and both the domestic and international press recognizes his style and precision, and the vividness of his musical expression.

Will Todd, UK

Will Todd has been playing the piano since he was three and composing since he was seven years old. His output includes works for choir, stage works, and orchestral works, and his music has been featured on BBC Radio and Classic FM, and performed all over the UK, Europe, the USA and beyond.

Will’s flagship work is the 2003 jazz mass setting Mass in Blue, which has been performed over a hundred times around the world since its premiere; on many occasions with the Will Todd Trio and Will at the piano. The larger Will Todd Ensemble has also recorded Mass in Blue with the Vasari Singers for Signum Records. His anthem The Call of Wisdom was commissioned by St Paul’s Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Service in June 2012.

His opera The Blackened Man won second prize in the International Verdi Opera Competition 2002, and was subsequently staged at the Buxton Festival. Music theatre work The Screams of Kitty Genovese has had three productions in the US and was staged by Tete a Tete Opera in London and at the Edinburgh Festival in 2010. Will Todd’s theatre works have been staged at the Millennium Centre (WNO); the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House; Buxton Opera Festival; the New York Music Theatre Festival; Public Theater New York; and The Sage Gatehead, and he has collaborated with some of the UK’s most high profile directors including Keith Warner, David Edwards, John Caird and Jonathan Munby.

Other choral works include the oratorio Saint Cuthbert which has been performed many times and recorded by the Halle Orchestra, and a cantata to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Jarrow March - The Burning Road. Will Todd has also written a large body of smaller-scale choral works including many liturgical and anthem settings. Notable examples include Among Angels and Stay with me Lord – both of which were commissioned by the Genesis Foundation for The Sixteen and Harry Christophers, and Before Action, commissioned by the BBC Singers.

Recent projects include a setting of Keat’s Ode to a Nightingale for Hertfordshire Chorus; Jazz Concerto for Clarinet - a new clarinet concerto for Emma Johnson; and new CD The Call of Wisdom, featuring award-winning choir Tenebrae. Future plans include a new Alice in Wonderland opera for Opera Holland Park’s July 2013 season; major new commissions for Crouch End Festival Chorus, Salisbury Community Choir and Guildford High School amongst others; a new CD of jazz Christmas carols with the Choir of St-Martin-in-the-Fields; and singing workshops around the UK.


Thomas Gabriel, Germany

Thomas Gabriel was born 1957 in Essen and studied Catholic church music at the Folkwang Acadamy. He concluded his A-exam with honours. In 1981 he was winner of the German university competition, and in 1982 completed the concert exam in organ.
From 1983 to 1986 Thomas Gabriel was active as cantor at the Liebfrauenkirche in Recklinghausen. From 1987 to 1989 he worked freelance for the WDR and the Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen. Subsequently, he was appointed Regioinal Cantor in Idstein, Diocese of Limburg. From 1992 to 1997 he was regional cantor in Saarbrücken (Diocese of Trier, and since September 1998 he held a similar post at the Einhardbasilika Seligenstadt, Diocese of Mainz) for the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. His Thomas Gabriel Trio toured throughout Germany and also internationally, participated in various TV and Radio broadcast productions and recorded two CDs “Bach Jazz”. In 1985 the Thomas Gabriel Trio was awarded with the Cultural Prize of the City of Essen.

As commissioner of the diocese of Mainz with regard to new church music he has led a large number of workshops. Recently Thomas Gabriel has become very successful as a composer of modern church music. Many of his compositions have been recorded on CD and are available via his web page. In 2002 Thomas Gabriel received the “Kulturpreis” of the City of Seligenstadt. 

Vytautas Miškinis, Lithuania

Vytautas Miskinis (born in 1954) is the Artistic Director of the Azuoliukas Boys’ and Men Choir, Professor of Choral conducting at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, President of the Lithuanian Choral Union. He graduated as Choral Conductor from the Lithuanian Academy of Music in 1976 (conducting class of Prof.H.Perelsteinas). He began his career in Azuoliukas 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.Miskinis’ leadership.
For several years he conducted the Kaunas State Choir and the Vocal Ensemble Museum Musicum. With these choirs he has won prestigious prizes at numerous national and international competitions – in Marktoberdorf, Gorizia, Varna, Maribor, Tampere, Mainhausen, Nantes. Currently Mr.Miskinis is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the All-Lithuanian Choir Festival.
Vytautas Miskinis has led choral performances in Austria, Byelorussia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Ukraine and USA. Vytautas Miskinis has also conducted a number of compositions for choir with symphonic orchestra.
He has also lectured and held seminars on the subject of musical education and conducting in Lithuania and abroad – in the Czech Republic, Korea, Latvia, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Singapore, Estonia, Italy, Poland, Philippines etc. He has participated in numerous national and international choral events as composer and advisor. He also has led workshops in Europa Cantat XII in Herning, Denmark and Europa Cantat XIV in Nevers, France, Europa Cantat XV in Barcelona, Spain; Choralies XVI in Vaison la Romaine, France; in Segovia, Tolosa, Burgos, Vic, Spain; in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Harelbecke, the Netherlands; Yakutsk, Republic Sakha; Russia; Rimini,Italy; Singapore , Philippines etc.  Mr.Miskinis has worked as jury member at International Choir and Choral Composition Competitions in Tolosa, Spain; Marktoberdorf, Lindenholzhausen and Bochum, Germany; Neerpelt and Kortrijk, Belgium; Maribor, Slovenia; Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; Budapest and Debrecen, Hungary; Aalst, Belgium; Arezzo,Rimini, Italy; Manila, Philippines; Choir Olympic Linz 2000; Austria; Choir Olympic Busan 2002, Korea; Choir Olympic Bremen  2004, Germany; Suwalki, Gdansk Poland; Kork, Ireland; World Choir Games Xiamen 2006, China; Bergen, Norway; Tours,France; World Choir Games Graz 2008, Austria;,World Choir Games Shaoxing 2010,China; World Choir Games Cincinnati 2012 USA;World Choir Games 2014 Riga, Latvia; Neuchatel, Switzerland; Tonen-2000 Festival, Netherlands; Yeosu, Korea etc.
 Vytautas Miskinis has composed approx. 400 a’cappella religious motets, 18 Masses, Magnificat, St .John Passion, 4 Cantatas, 2 Musicals and approx.400 secular songs , which are performed and recorded by choirs throughout Lithuania and the rest of the World. His many compositions are published in Lithuania and also in France, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Japan, Singapore, Latvia, Russia and USA.  He is awarded by many  governmental and national prizes.

Stefan Weilmünster

Besides multitudinous engagements at various Symphony Orchestras all over Germany (e. g. Hessen Radio Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic State Orchestras Mainz and Darmstadt, Frankfurt Museum Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra of the State Theatre of Trier and Giessen, Philharmonic Orchestra Heidelberg, Philharmony of Wuerttemberg in Reutlingen, New Chamber Philharmonic Cologne) and the work with his own Saxophone Quartet and in various (Big) Bands with many CD recordings and radio and TV appearances, his key pedagogic aspect lies the area of directing choirs, ensembles and workshops. For many years he has been course instructor for Musica Viva, with almost 150 Saxophone- and Bigband seminars in Germany and Italy, directs several choirs and big bands and is routinely engaged for score rehearsals and orchestra workshops of brass orchestras and big bands. He is a lecturer for the Hessian Music Association and holds Saxophone workshops as an endorser for the companies P. Mauriat and Vandoren (Paris).

For 20 years he has been director of the mixed choir Contrapunkt, part of the Gesangverein Sängerbund Mainflingen, and has performed e. g. Gabriel Fauré‘s Requiem, Charles Gounod‘s St. Cecilia Mass and Ralph Groessler‘s symphonic rhapsody Our Father in Heaven with them. Of special interest to Stefan Weilmünster are crossover programs, linking classic choir tradition and modern elements of jazz ans pop. Among them are the numerous performances of Duke Ellington‘s Sacred Concert for choir, big band, soloists and step dancers in the Rhein.Main-area, Franconia, the Black Forest and the Alp-Donau County as well as the double concert featuring Handel‘s Messiah, which he performed with the choir Contrapunkt in the baroque original version and afterwards in the soul adaption Soulful Celebration by the american Grammy-award holder Quincy Jones. Another highlight was the performance of Contrapunkt with the German soul legend Edo Zanki (e. g. Producer of Herbert Grönemeyer and Xavier Naidoo) and the big band East 17.

Stefan Weilmünster is the long-standing conductor of the men‘s choir in the Sängerbund Mainflingen and also directs children's choirs at the Emma School in Seligenstadt and the Anna-Freud-school in Mainflingen.

He is invited on a regular basis as juror in competitions such as Jugend Musiziert, the Study Foundation of the German People, the international Saxophone festival in Przeworsk (Poland) and the European Sax Forum Breslau (Poland).