1st IFCM International Choral Composition Competition

Presentation of the Jury Members


graham-lackGraham Lack (President of the Jury) studied Composition and Musicology at Goldsmiths’ College and King’s College, University of London (BMus Hons, MMus), Music Paedagogy at the University of Chichester (State Certificate), moving to Germany in 1982 (Technical University Berlin, Doktorarbeit). He held a Lectureship in Music at the University of Maryland, chaired the symposia Contemporary Finnish Music (University of Oxford, 1999) and 1st International Symposium of Composer Institutes (Goethe Institute, 2000), and contributes to Groves Dictionary and Tempo. A cappella works include Sanctus (Queens’ College Cambridge), Two Madrigals for High Summer, Hermes of the Ways (Akademiska Damkören Lyran), and a cycle for The King’s Singers, Estraines, recorded on Signum. The Munich Philharmonic Chorus commissioned Petersiliensommer, the Munich Bach Choir Gloria (chorus, organ, harp). The Legend of Saint Wite (SSA, string quartet) was a 2008 BBC competition prize-winner. REFUGIUM (chorus, organ, percussion) was premiered by Trinity Boys Choir in London in 2009. Recent works include Wondrous Machine for multi-percussionist Martin Grubinger, Five Inscapes for chamber orchestra and Nine Moons Dark for large orchestra. Future projects include a First Piano Concerto for Dejan Lazić, The Windhover (solo violin and orchestra) for Benjamin Schmid, The Pencil of Nature (musica viva), A Sphere of Ether (Young Voices of Colorado), and a cantata The Angel of the East. Corresponding Member of the Institute of Advanced Musical Studies King’s College London, regular attendee ACDA conferences. Publishers: Musikverlag Hayo, Cantus Quercus Press. E-mail: graham.lack@t-online.de


reijo-kekkonenReijo Kekkonen was born in 1961 in Finland. He studied at the Sibelius Academy from 1980 and graduated in 1991 as a music teacher. His major subject at the Academy was the violin. He also passed an examination in oboe, piano and singing. He studied composition and music theory under Vladimir Agopov and Tapani Länsiö. Kekkonen studied choral conducting under Erkki Pullinen and Matti Hyökki. Reijo Kekkonen was teaching music in Espoo when he came to Sulasol (the Finnish choral association) in 1988. He was then employed as the musical expert of the association. Between 1990 and 1992 he worked as an editor at the publishing house Fazer Music and came back to Sulasol in 1992. Reijo Kekkonen has held several positions of resonsibility in various associations in Finland. He was also a member of the planning committee of the Nordic-Baltic Choral Festival from1996 to 2008 and has been a member of the organizing committee of the Harald Andersén international choral competition at the Sibelius Academy since 2001. Kekkonen was a member of the board of the International Federation for Choral Music from 2002 to 2008 and since 2009 he has been a member of the board of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat. Since 2002 he has been a “watcher” for the international choral show-case Polyfollia. Kekkonen has also been a member of several juries of composition and arranging as well as choral competitions. Reijo Kekkonen has been singing in choirs since his schooldays; these now number 35 altogether. He has been a professional singer in the Finnish Radio Chamber Choir for 23 years and in the Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble for several years. He has also conducted choirs (mainly youth and female choirs), but his main domain is singing and composing for choirs. E-mail: reijo.kekkonen@sulasol.fi


StephenLeekStephen Leek is an Australian Composer, Conductor, Publisher and Educator. Stephen Leek’s distinctive music is immediately recognizable – capturing the dramas, rhythms, stories, colours and ethos of Australia. Over the past two and a half decades he has particularly made a significant contribution to the development of Australian choral composition and performance, and how that has been performed, promoted and discussed throughout the world.  He has worked extensively in a variety of areas including dance music, music for education, music in the community, as well as in concert hall music, and has been a pioneer in developing composer residencies within Australia. From 1997 – 2009 he was joint founder, and then Artistic Director/Conductor, of The Australian Voices, an elite ensemble of young adult singers who during this time significantly changed the landscape of choral music within Australia. Among Leek’s many accolades and awards is a Churchill Fellowship, and the most prestigious Robert Edler International Prize for Choral Music, awarded to him in 2004 by a panel of international choral luminaries. Leek’s music is regularly performed and enjoyed across the world and published by Morton Music, Oxford University Press, Boosey & Hawkes and through his own international publishing www.stephenleek.com. E-mail: stephen_leek@hotmail.com


jonathan-rathboneJonathan Rathbone was a chorister at Coventry Cathedral and later, a choral scholar at Christ’s College Cambridge, where he read mathematics, and wrote a musical entitled “Flame” which was performed at the ADC theatre in Cambridge. He gained a second degree at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied composition with John Gardner. Whilst there, he wrote a children’s musical called “The Selfish Giant”, and the music for a production of “Dog Beneath The Skin” at the Half Moon Theatre with director Julian Sands (later to star in ‘Room with a View’). He was signed as a song-writer with Noel Gay Music. Jonathan joined the Swingle Singers in 1984 and was musical director of the group for eight of the twelve years he sang with them. During that time he created the majority of their arrangements, both a cappella and with orchestra. He has been in demand ever since as a vocal arranger and orchestrator. He has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians and orchestras. These include the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Pierre Boulez, the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Luciano Berio. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, with jazz great, Stephan Grapelli, recorded backing vocals for Beatles producer, George Martin and French pop star, Etienne Daho. He left the group in 1996 to spend more of his time writing. He has orchestrated for Sir Cliff Richard and Michael Ball and more recently for Katherine Jenkins and Wynne Evans (Gio Compario). He still travels all over Europe to vocal courses, to work with various vocal ensembles and to adjudicate choral competitions. In recent years he has lectured and run workshops on close harmony, improvisation, choral conducting, vocal arranging and choral techniques. He is now an in-house composer with Peters Edition. Having written “Sweet was the Song” for the debut performance by The Larks Ascending, a new Cambridge based choir and has become their ‘composer in association’. Most recently The Larks Ascending premiered “The Zodiac – a song cycle for a cappella voices” and last year his oratorio “Christmas Truce”, which was performed last Christmas. It was dedicated to the last two survivors of the First World War, who died a few months before. Earlier this year, he wrote a large-scale anthem “May the Lord Bless Your Endeavour” to celebrate the installation of the Bishop of Nottingham. He has researched and written a book on sight-singing entitled “Sight Sing Well!” and a book of Christmas pieces and arrangements for choir and small orchestra is in preparation. He conducts three choirs in north London, for whom has written numerous pieces, including “Night of Wonder”, “Swithun’s Watery Tale” and most recently, a festive Christmas cantata entitled “Mr Fezziwig’s Christmas Party”. More recently “Ballad of Reading Gaol” based on Oscar Wilde’s poem for narrator and orchestra was premiered in St Alban’s Cathedral. It was written as a sister piece to his “Requiem for the Condemned Man”. In addition to his choral writing, Jonathan’s string quartet, “More Fools than Wise”, written for the Fitzwilliam Quartet, has been performed all over the world. E-mail: jonathan.rathbone@btinternet.com