For the first edition of Tenso Masterclass for conductors, we received 31 applications. The jury, consisting of four experienced singers/conductors, selected these six, who had been invited to come and work with Daniel Reuss, Fredrik Malmberg and the choirs Cappella Amsterdam and Helsingin kamarikuoro, from 14 to 17 May 2015. Visa and Boldizsár joined us for a follow-up workshop at Europa Cantat 2015 in Pécs, Hungary.
Benjamin Hartmann (Germany, 1990) started his musical studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, where he worked closely with the Gewandhaus Chor and its chief conductor Gregor Meyer. He currently studies for a master degree in choral conducting at the Kungliga Musikhögskola in Stockholm, with Fredrik Malmberg and Mats Nilsson. He is also a passionate ensemble singer.
Benjamin writes : “Choral conducting is about music making just as much as it means working and collaborating with people of an ever different background. […] How can one shape the choir’s sound with one’s personal handwriting without neglecting the ensemble’s own characteristic, its peculiarity, its soul?”
Taum Karni (Israel) studied choral and orchestral conducting in Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and Stockholm. She has worked with many professional and amateur ensembles around the world, including Revoice! (an international choir formed by alumni of ECA-EC’s Eurochoir) where she also sings as soprano. She is especially interested in opera, new and early music, and juxtaposing music, theater, dance and art.
She writes : “I am most interested in contemporary repertoire, especially that which introduces new sounds, and which uses extended compositional techniques and improvisation. I like the adventurous, weird and creative concert form, to use music in order to tell a story.”
Boldizsár Kiss finished his MA studies as a choir conductor at the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy Budapest and HfM Hanns Eisler Berlin with Péter Erdei, Jörg-Peter Weigle and Csaba Somos amongst others.
He is the artistic director of the Vass Lajos Symphony Orchestra, and worked as an assistant conductor with the choir of the Liszt Ferenc Music Academy.
In 2013 he won the First Prize and Audience Special Award on the Rezső Lantos Choral Conducting Competition.
Angeliki Ploka (Greece, 1990) studied piano, music theory and pedagogy in Trikala and Thessaloniki (GR). A Sarolta Kodály Scholarship made it possible for her to study for a diploma in advanced choral conducting at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy in Hungary. She now continues to study there with an Onassis scholarship, working for her MA in Kodály Music Pedagogy. As singer and as conductor, she has performed extensively with various ensembles. In 2015 she will continue her vocal studies at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague (NL).
She writes how her work as singer helped her to focus on “various aspects of singing performance such as stage perfomance/interpretation, body awareness, physical consciousness, communication with the audience etc. Eventually, all these aspects contributed to the development of my conducting skills, to my experience of the close connection of body-voice-stage that each singer should feel, the communication between the conductor, the choir and the audience.”
Tobias Walenciak (Germany, 1981) received his master diploma in choral conducting in 2013, studying at HfM Carl Maria von Weber Dresden and HfM Hanns Eisler Berlin with Jörg-Peter Weigle and Hans-Christoph Rademann, among others. Since its foundation in 2006, he leads the Junges Ensemble Dresden, and is second conductor of Cantus Domus, assisting Ralf Sochaczewsky.
He writes : “[at this stage] I am interested in high-level practical input and feedback from experienced conductors and choirs to become even more acquainted with the specific needs and methods of professional rehearsals such as: rehearsal tempo, sound balance, voice timbre, intonation and dynamics.”
Visa Yrjölä (Finland, 1992) studies for his B.A choral conducting at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, with Nils Schweckendiek, Matti Hyökki and Robert Cowles. His first conducting job was conducting the local railroad workers’ male choir in his home town Tampere. Nowadays he is the artistic director of the Euga Male Voice Choir and as a part of his conducting studies he regularly works with the Sibelius Academy Vocal Ensemble.
In 2013, the Tampere Vocal Music Festival awarded him a special incentive prize for a young and promising conductor.