Meet the jury of Eurovision Choir of the Year

The winner of Eurovision Choir of the Year will be decided by a professional jury: John Rutter, Nicolas Fink and Elīna Garanča. Choirs are ranked by all three jurors based on these criteria.

  • The artistic personality of the Choir
  • Faithfulness to the musical score
  • Quality of the sound and intonation
  • General musicianship

John Rutter

John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School.

He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student.

His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers.

His larger choral works, Gloria (1974), Requiem (1985), Magnificat (1990), Psalmfest (1993) and Mass of the Children (2003) have been performed many times around the world.

He co-edited four volumes in the Carols for Choirs series with Sir David Willcocks, and, more recently, has edited the first two volumes in the new Oxford Choral Classics series, Opera Choruses (1995) and European Sacred Music (1996).

From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings.

After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.

He has guest-conducted or lectured at many concert halls, universities, churches, music festivals, and conferences in Europe, Africa, North and Central America and Australasia.

In 1980 he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.

In 1996 the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.

He was honoured in the 2007 Queen’s New Year Honours List, being awarded a CBE for services to music.

Most of John Rutter’s music is published by Oxford University Press.

 

Nicolas Fink

Nicolas Fink has conducted the radio choruses of WDR Cologne and MDR Leipzig, the Berlin Radio Chorus, the Choeur de Radio France, the Vocalconsort Berlin, the Coro Casa de Musica Porto, the Cor del Palau de la Música in Barcelona, the Edvard Grieg Choir and many others. He also is a sought after chorusmaster and has collaborated with dozens of leading conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Marek Janowski, and Daniele Gatti. In 2014, he began his tenure as the choral director of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Chorus.

Highlights of 2017 include the Sasha Waltz production Figure Humaine with Vocalconsort Berlin for the pre-opening of the new Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, and Ugis Praulins’ Nightingale with the WDR Radio Chorus at chor.com in Dortmund. Mr. Fink leads a sing-along a cappella concert with the Berlin Radio Chorus, and conducts Haydn’s Creation with 400 singers in the of Interkultur’s European Choir Games in Riga. Concerts with Vocalconsort Berlin (Figure Humaine) and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Chorus (works by Brahms and Boulanger) have been broadcast live on the radio. As a chorusmaster, he returns to the MDR Radio Chorus and to Chœur de Radio France.

Providing listeners with a new perspective on choral music, and creating new kinds of performance experiences are two of Nicolas Fink’s particular pursuits. Mr. Fink conducted the Berlin Radio Chorus’ renowned production Human Requiem at the 44th Arts Festival Hong Kong and at the Klara Festival in Brussels. He conceptualized and conducted the ‘visual concert’ production of the Norwegian premiere of Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé with photographer Magnus Skrede and the Edvard Grieg Kor. With the WDR Cologne Radio Chorus, he helped develop and conducted the acclaimed choreographed production of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-night Vigil.

Nicolas Fink’s recieved resounding critical praise for his Carus recordings of The Liturgy of St John Chrysostom with the Berlin Radio Chorus and the All-night Vigil with the WDR Cologne Radio Chorus. The television production of Mr. Fink conducting the All-night Vigil directed by Enrique Sánchez Lansch (Rhythm Is It) with WDR was nominated for several awards. Further recording works include among others Poulenc’s Quatre Motets Pour Le Temps De Noël with the Berlin Radio Chorus.

As an educator, Mr. Fink directed conducting workshops in Hong Kong and Indonesia, and co-directed the choral conducting masterclass at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival with Simon Halsey. Following his successful collaboration with the Edvard Grieg Youth Choir in Norway, he will continue working with young singers as the conductor of the Swiss Youth Choir.

Born in Switzerland, Nicolas Fink completed his studies with high honours in choral conducting from the Luzern Conservatory, where he also studied voice, earning his concert diploma as a baritone. Mr. Fink also participated in multiple international masterclasses in conducting and in voice, and he was a conducting fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2006.

Elīna Garanča

Few singers attain the stature of Elīna Garanča, who over the past decade has emerged as one of opera’s brightest stars. The Latvian mezzo-soprano is consistently praised for her iconic portrayals of the leading roles in her repertoire. Forging deep connections with each part she plays, she is a consummate artist whose distinctively dark, sultry voice boasts a power and warmth to which her regal bearing and alluring looks provide the perfect counterpoise.

Elīna regularly headlines landmark productions at the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Bavarian State Opera, and Vienna State Opera, where she recently became the youngest female singer to be honoured with a Kammersängerin Award. Since becoming an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist in 2005, she has amassed an extensive discography, highlighted by six solo albums – three of them ECHO Klassik Award-winners – and DVDs that capture her most definitive live performances.

Besides starring in numerous opera and concert broadcasts, she frequently appears in documentaries and talk shows, and is the subject of the award-winning documentary Primadonna on rollerskates(2002). Her memoir, Wirklich wichtig sind die Schuhe (The Shoes Are Really Important), was published by Austria’s Ecowin Verlag last year; in it she explains, “My feet must feel free so that my soul and voice can soar.”

It was Garanča’s triumphant 2003 Salzburg Festival debut, as Annio in La clemenza di Tito with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, that was responsible for her international breakthrough. She made her Vienna State Opera debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and became a regular with the company, initially specializing in Mozart roles before becoming equally dominant in bel canto and Romantic repertoire. Her Viennese appearances included Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro with Riccardo Muti, and seminal accounts of two roles on which she would indelibly put her stamp: Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier and Charlotte in a new, televised staging of Massenet’s Werther.

To date, she has sung more than 150 performances with the company. Engagements followed in Helsinki, Lucerne, Graz, Paris, and Aix-en-Provence, where she starred in Patrice Chéreau’s production of Così fan tutte, available on Erato DVD. In 2007 she made house debuts at London’s Royal Opera House as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and the Berlin State Opera as Sesto in La clemenza di Tito. For her sensational 2008 Metropolitan Opera debut she sang Rosina, a role with which her name was already synonymous in Europe, in Bartlett Sher’s staging of Il barbiere di Siviglia, and returned to the company the following season to headline another Rossini opera: La Cenerentola. 

In 2009 Garanča headlined Carmen opposite Roberto Alagna at both Covent Garden and the Met, where her definitive performance in Richard Eyre’s production was broadcast Live in HD to more than 1,000 cinemas worldwide. She returned to the Met as Mozart’s Sesto. Both her Sesto and Cenerentola were also transmitted to cinemas around the globe in the company’s Live in HD series, and all three were subsequently shown on PBS TV’s Great Performances at the Met. The mezzo’s iconic performances as Carmen and La Cenerentola have since been issued on DG DVD, and she was chosen to join Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, Itzhak Perlman, and other stars at a televised concert to celebrate the 40thanniversary of the Great Performances series.

The mezzo collaborated with Russian soprano Anna Netrebko on recordings including Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Fabio Luisi and the Vienna Symphony, and Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Vienna State Opera, which was televised and released on DVD. The pair appeared together in an Opera Gala of the Stars at Baden-Baden that was broadcast live to a German television audience of over two million and issued on DVD.

Among Garanča’s other distinguished concert recordings are Verdi’s Requiem with Daniel Barenboim at La Scala, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden, and a New Year’s Eve Concert with Gustavo Dudamel and the Berlin Philharmonic. She sang in Vivaldi’s Bajazet with Fabio Biondi on the Erato label, which was nominated for a Grammy and won a MIDEM Classical Award. As an exclusive DG recording artist, she has released five solo albums. The first, Aria Cantilena, won the ECHO Klassik Singer of the Year award; she scored a second with Bel Canto, also a BBC Music magazine award-winner. Her last two albums for the yellow label have also both took ECHO Klassik awards, in 2012 for Romantique and most recently in 2015 for Meditation.

During the 2016-17 season, Elīna returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich (in a new production of La Favorite), Paris Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana) and to The Metropolitan Opera (Der Rosenkavalier). On the concert platform she sings Mahler songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel and will embark on a major European tour to promote her new Deutsche Grammophon record. She will perform for the first time in Mexico on a four-concert tour and will also star at various festivals and galas throughout Europe and beyond.

Elīna Garanča was born into a musical family in Riga, Latvia, where her father was a choral conductor and her mother a singer, under whom she learned at the Latvian Academy of Music before continuing her studies in Vienna and the United States.

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