Sofia Gioldasi, Greece
Sofia Gioldasi studied choral conducting (BA & MA) at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Jos Vermunt and Jos van Veldhoven. During her Master studies she received individual coaching from Basilio Astulez (Spain) and Andrew Nethsingha (UK). She also holds a Bachelor degree in Musicology/Music Education from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
For the last 13 years she has been working with children and young singers, specializing in the intertwinement of choral singing, body movement and stage action. During her time as conductor of the Nieuw Vocaal Amsterdam, the choir had the honour to perform at the inauguration of the Dutch King Willem-Alexander, record for Deutsche Grammophon, perform at the greatest halls in the Netherlands (Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw, Dutch National Opera & Ballet, etc.) and also win Silver prize at the Cantemus International choir competition in Hungary.
In 2015 Sofia moved back to her home-country, Greece. She is the founder, conductor and artistic leader of the Voci Contra Tempo – Female Vocal Ensemble. She also conducts the Thessaloniki State Conservatory Choirs and the Youth and Children’s Choir of the “Friends of Music” Society in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Voci Contra Tempo functions as a project choir and its members are classically trained singers who are passionate about choral music. The ensemble’s versatile repertoire includes the main works for female choir (such as Holst’s ‘Planets’ and Debussy’s ‘Nocturnes’), as well as a cappella works, focusing on contemporary and traditional music. They have performed at the most prestigious venues in Greece and collaborated with important Institutions, such as the Greek National Opera and the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, among others. In August 2021 they were invited to participate at the International “Guido d’Arezzo” Choral Festival, giving concerts all over Italy with great success. In 2022 they created “Project Patrida”, a multidimensional educational and artistic project in order to enhance the creation of new Greek choral music. 8 new choral works were especially written for VCT and all premiered within 2 days during Homelands Festival, organized by Choralspace, at the Kammermusiksaal of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the St.Matthäus Kirche in Berlin in February 2023.
Sofia is a much sought-after workshop and masterclass leader all across Europe.
She frequently collaborates with organizations, institutions and associations such as Europa Cantat, IFCM, Feniarco, Leading Voices, Greek National Opera, Greek Radio Choir, International Choral Festival of Preveza, Hacettepe University of Ankara, Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra, Thessaloniki Megaron Concert Hall, and many others.
Her next future collaborations include a Masterclass in Choral Conducting as part of the Accademia Corale Italiana (Arezzo, Italy – March 2023), her active participation as a presenter at the World Choir Symposium (Istanbul, Turkey – April 2023), a choral workshop with the Cantus Nova Femina (Limassol, Cyprus – May 2023) and many concerts with her own ensembles and the Greek Radio Choir (July 2023).
André de Quadros, USA
Dr André de Quadros is a professor of music at Boston University with affiliations in African, African American, Asian, Jewish, Muslim studies, prison education, Forced Migration and Antiracist Research.
As a choral conductor, artist, scholar, and human rights activist, he has worked in over 40 countries in the most diverse settings including professional ensembles, projects with prisons, psychosocial rehabilitation, refugees, and victims of sexual violence, torture, and trauma. His work crosses race and mass incarceration, peacebuilding, forced migration, and Islamic culture.
He directs Common Ground Voices (Jerusalem), Common Ground Voices / La Frontera (Mexico-US), the Manado State University Choir (Indonesia), the Muslim Choral Ensemble (Sri Lanka), VOICES 21C (USA), and the World Muslim Choral Ensemble (Sri Lanka).
He is the creative director of The Choral Commons. In 2019, he was a Distinguished Academic Visitor at the University of Cambridge.
Timothy Brown, UK
Tim Brown is renowned around the globe for his work with both professional and amateur choirs, and for his many recordings of choral literature. For many years Director of the world-famous Clare College Choir, Cambridge, and his professional group English Voices, he continues to direct performances in many different countries, from the USA to the Far East. 2023 alone sees him in the US (working in schools and with a professional choir), Greece, Israel, and in China, where in July he will direct the 25th Anniversary Concert of the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong.
He is a popular leader of singing workshops, and is director of the annual singing course in Horto, Greece. Tim has a particular interest is in vocal pedagogy, working with all levels and ages of singers. For the past three years he has developed a small voluntary church choir in Cambridge, UK, into a vibrant group of committed singers dedicated as much to the enjoyment of learning to sing as to live performance.
Outside his work as a conductor, he is active as an adjudicator and composer.
Yuval Weinberg, Israel
Yuval Weinberg is the chief conductor of the SWR Vokalensemble in Stuttgart and the principal guest conductor of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir.
He began his musical education at a young age, studying piano and singing at the Israeli children and youth choir, Li-Ron, in his hometown Herzliya. Yuval studied choral conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin where he was taught by Prof. Grete Pedersen and Prof. Jörg-Peter Weigle.
He has received a number of awards for his conducting, including the Best Conductor Award at the Internationaler Kammerchor-Wettbewerb Marktoberdorf 2017, the Gary Bertini Prize for Choral Conductors in 2016 and the first prize at the International Choir Conducting Competition in Wroclaw in 2014.
Yuval has worked with various professional ensembles, such as the Bavarian Radio Choir, Bachchor Salzburg, Berlin Radio Choir, Capella Amsterdam, Chorwerk Ruhr, the MDR and NDR Radio Choirs, Rias Kammerchor, the Swedish Radio Choir and the choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
He is often invited to lead conducting masterclasses and seminars around Europe and regularly works with young singers in choirs such as Eurochoir (2019-2022), the Norwegian national youth choir (2017-2019) and other regional youth choir.
Sidumo Nyamezele, South Africa
Sidumo has gained extensive exposure and experience by participating in various National and International festivals. This includes International Festivals in Austria, Portugal, Norway, Philippines, Spain, America and South Africa (the Norwegian-South Africa Festival in March 2002-2004) amongst others. He has been invited to Europe and Norway on several occasions for summer school in choral conducting and to conduct workshops In African traditional music.
In addition to the appointment as conductor of the DF Malherbe High School (Afrikaans School) choir, this enthusiastic musician was assigned to conduct the South African National Youth Choir in Winterton at the Drakensburg Boys School for African formal and traditional music in 2001. The DF Malherbe choir grew from a membership of 28 to 87 by the end of the year. He received conducting lessons from Professor Kåre Hanken and voice lesson Professor Svein Bjorkoy.
Besides working with choirs such as Pro Cantu Youth Choir in Cape Town, the East Rand Youth Choir and the UP Camarata (University of Pretoria), he also worked with the Eastern Cape Youth Choir, Cantus female choir (Norway), Port Elizabeth Technicon Choir, Mdantsane United Voices (East London) and offered assistance to the Grey High School Choir.