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Alumni Session 2023


Zoltán Pad

Zoltán Pad, conductor, studied at the Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest and in Munich with a DAAD scholarship. Since 2014, he is chief conductor of the Hungarian Radio Choir.


He is an internationally renowned conductor, who in recent years received the opportunity to conduct outstanding ensembles including the SWR Vokalensemble in Stuttgart, the MDR Radio Choir in Leipzig, the NDR Vokalensemble in Hamburg, the French Radio Choir, the Zürcher Sing-Akademie, the Chamber Choir Ireland, the ChorWerk Ruhr, the Polish Radio Choir, the Arsys Bourgogne Chamber Choir, the Croatian Radio Choir, the Cracow Singers and the World Youth Choir.

In January 2023, he made his debut at the Netherlands Radio Choir, in March he gave concerts of a Reger-Brahms programme with ChorWerk Ruhr. In  April, he will be a guest at SWR Vokalensemble.

He is a devoted interpreter of Hungarian contemporary music, and the works of Bartók, Kodály and Ligeti.

He conducted at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg - as choirmaster he appeared at the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele), at the Donizetti Festival of Bergamo, and at concert venues such as the BOZAR in Brussels, the MÜPA in Budapest, the Auditorium de la Radio France and the Auditorium Rainer III. at Monte Carlo.

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He is a welcomed guest conductor of orchestras, primarily conducting oratorical works. He worked with the Hungarian Radio Orchestra, Kodály Philharmonic Orchestra, Győr Philharmonic Orchestra, Oradea Philharmonic Orchestra and Alba Regia Symphony Orchestra. Between 2009 and 2014, he worked as chief conductor of the Kodály Choir Debrecen, which is one of the few professional choirs in Hungary. During this time, Zoltán conducted over 130 concerts with the choir and prepared a further 131 more concert programmes.

In December 2012, under the direction of Zoltán Pad, the Kodály Choir was awarded the Prima Award of Hungary.

Zoltán Pad is regularly invited to conducting master courses (Limerick, Ireland; Marktoberdorf, Germany) and he regularly works with youth choirs. He is a returning jury member at international choir and conductor competitions. Between 2009 and 2014, he was a member of the Artistic Board of the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition, and held the position of artistic director of the contest in 2013/14.


In March 2018, he was awarded the Liszt Prize and in 2022 Lajtha-prize in honour of his work.


Petra Grassi

Petra Grassi (1988) was born in Trieste (Italy) as a member of the Slovenian minority. She graduated in piano and music pedagogy and she obtained her master's degree summa cum laude in choral conducting and composition at the Academy of Music in Italy (Trento).


She won several prizes at Choral conducting competitions: 1st prize at the National competition for choral conductors “Zvok moji rok “in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Moreover, in February 2015, she won 1st prize at the National Choral Conducting Competition “Le mani in suono” in Arezzo (IT). At the International competition for young choral conductors in Torino (organized by European Choral Association and Feniarco) she won the 3th prize and earned the prize for the best conductor according to the audience choice. In 2019, she won the choir prize at the World Choir Conducting Competition in Hong Kong.

For three years she conducted the Italian National Youth Choir (Coro giovanile italiano), she also performed with Slovenian Philarmonic choir.


As the chief conductor of the Dekor chamber choir from Ljubljana she led the group to absolute 1st prize at the national choral competition Naša pesem in Maribor (Slo) and was acknowledged as the best conductor of the competition.

With her international ensemble VIKRA she won the first prize in all categories and Grand prix award in 59° International choral competition “Cesare Augusto Seghizzi” in Gorizia (Italy). With this group she won many first prizes in national and international choral competitions. She is invited to be part of different juries in choral competitions around the world. In July 2022, she was a lecturer and professor at the first edition of Leading voices in Utrecht for choral conductors. 

She was invited by Tenso (The European network for professional chamber choirs) to be part of a masterclass with several European professional groups.

From 2022 she is  a professor of conducting and choral composition at Academy of music in Trento (Italy), among others Choral Academies in Arezzo and Parma. She received the “Gold sign” from Jskd Republic of Slovenia (Public fund for cultural activities).

Note: Petra Grassi was not able to participate in the World Youth Choir Alumni Session 2023 due to personal reasons.


The guest conductor Sebastjan Vrhovnik from Slovenia performed in Grožnjan (Croatia) and Ljubljana (Slovenia), alongside Zoltán Pad from Hungary.

Sebastjan Vhrovnik

After completing the Ljubljana Music and Ballet High School, Sebastjan Vrhovnik enrolled at the Ljubljana Academy of Music in 2004, majoring in music education.

Since 2014, he has been an Associate professor of choral conducting at the Ljubljana Academy of Music, while also leading various choral workshops in Slovenia and abroad, and serving as a member of professional juries for Slovenian and international choral showcases and competitions.

He is currently the conductor of the Ljubljana Academy of Music Chamber Choir, the Ljubljana Music Society Mixed Choir and permanent guest conductor of the Zbor Slovenske filharmonije – Slovenian Philharmonic Choir.

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