I AM A PARAGRAPH
WORLD YOUTH CHOIR FOUNDATION
Joining voices beyond borders
The World Youth Choir, a non-profit programme, was created in 1989 and has since gathered more than 1.000 singers from 70 countries in almost 40 sessions. The World Youth Choir has been awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace (1996-1998), and performed at the Peace Nobel Prize Ceremony and Concert in Oslo (2011). The project is powered by the World Youth Choir Foundation as the legal body behind the project, with the support of three patrons.
The “Stichting World Youth Choir “ (World Youth Choir Foundation or WYCF for short) is a foundation according to Dutch law, registered at the Chamber of Commerce in The Hague (The Netherlands) in 2010 under file number 51551837. The aim of creating this Foundation was to formalize the cooperation between the three international cultural networks which are patrons of the World Youth Choir: Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI), International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) and European Choral Association – Europa Cantat (ECA-EC).
ECA-EC is the biggest European choral organisation, reaching out to more than 2.5M singers of all ages in more than 50 countries
The World Youth Choir Foundation has three main bodies/actors:
The Board of the World Youth Choir Foundation, composed of a maximum of 6 elected Board members (with each patron nominating up to 2 Board members) plus up to 3 ex-officio Board members (CEOs, Secretary Generals or other executive staff of the three patrons). The Board meets 2-3 times per year and their role is to take all the strategic decisions regarding the direction of the programme, procure organisers for the sessions, manage the foundation's finances and supervise the implementation of the sessions.
The WYC Artistic Advisors, composed of 3 members (with each patron nominating one artistic advisor) and whose function is to select singers and provide support and advice in artistic matters.
The WYC Session Manager, whose function is to implement the decisions of the board and artistic advisors, maintain communication with the singers and organisers, and accompany the choir during the session.
Beyond these bodies, many other partners are also involved for more than 30 years - including local organisers for each of the sessions, sponsors and recruiters worldwide - to provide the best opportunities and conditions for each session and concert tour. Without their support, our reach to young choral singers around the World and our ability to provide this wonderful personal and professional development opportunity to them wouldn't be at all possible.
THE FOUNDATION BOARD
Ki Adams, a native of Birmingham, Alabama (USA), is an honourary research professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland where he taught in the undergraduate/graduate music and music education programs for 25 years. Keenly aware of the impact and power of professional organizations, he has held executive positions with provincial, national, and international music education organizations, including Choral Canada and the International Kodály Society. He is currently a board member for the International Federation of Choral Music and President of the World Youth Choir Foundation. Passionate about celebrating choral music and bringing choirs and singers to Newfoundland and Labrador, Ki is Founding Co-Director of The Singing Network, a collective for generating and producing a series of voice-singing-choral experiences ranging from workshops, seminars, master-classes, and dialogues to the biennial International Symposium on Singing and Song. He is Music Director and Organist at St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in St. John’s.
Vice-President and Liaison to the Artistic Advisors (ECA-EC)
Victoria Liedbergius is the administrative director of Ung i Kor, the Norwegian Children and Youth Choir Organisation and the Norwegian National Youth Choir. Victoria has studied singing at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels and the Hochschule für Music und Tanz Köln, and was a singer in the World Youth Choir from 2004 to 2007. She has also studied administration and leadership at the Musical Academy in Oslo.
Victoria was a board member of the Europan Choral Association – Europa Cantat from 2006 to 2012, and is presently a board member of the International Federation for Choral Music and vice president of the European Music Council.
He was the Artistic Advisor of the World Youth Choir on behalf of JMI for 3 years and also the host of the 2019 session in France for the 30th anniversary of the choir. Currently he is a coordinator of Plate-forme interrégionale (PFI) – France which is an umbrella association for music development. He is also the representative of this association in multiple international networks: the International Music Council (IMC), European Choral Association – Europa Cantat (ECA-EC) and European Voice Teacher’s Association (EVTA).
He was the coordinator of the European cooperation project “LEO Sings! – Diversity of singing practices in Europe” and co-creator and manager of the “Singing Roadshow – Mobile vocal academy”.
Having been a professional opera singer for 10 years, and now as an amateur (in Chœur de l’Orchestre de Paris - Conductor Lionel Sow), he keeps his connection with this important part of his life as manager for different artistic projects and performing arts companies.
Emily Kuo Vong
Board member (IFCM)
Emily Kuo Vong, who has attained success as both a musician and as a female entrepreneur, is the current President of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) and the official representative of choral music on the International Music Council. Throughout her career she has founded many entities to contribute to promoting and facilitating cultural exchange and business cooperation all over the world: she is the President of the US-based Chinese American Intercultural Exchange Foundation (CAIEF), the President of the Four Seasons Investment Group, the Sole Director of Portuguese DIMALU - Sociedade de Administrações Agrícolas e Prediais, and the Chairman of the International Cultural Center - Monte Real.
She has always devoted herself to supporting international multicultural projects, including producing and sponsoring the original opera “Farewell My Concubine” of the China National Opera House to perform in six major American cities, establishing the Asia Pacific Youth Choir as its only major founder and sponsor to cultivate young talented professional choral conductors and musicians, helping the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in completing for the first time its International Choral Conductor Exchange Program between the USA and China.
Through the IFCM working committee, she created, developed and even personally financed a great number of choral projects, festivals, and conferences all over the World, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Countries Youth Choir and 2019 IFCM World Choral Expo in Portugal.
Board Member (ECA-EC)
Martí Ferrer Bosch (Girona, 1977) is a choir and orchestra conductor from Catalonia, and publisher and co-founder of FICTA editions (music publish house and recording label devoted mostly to Catalan music). After years in the presidency of the SCIC (Catalan Childrens Choirs Federation) and MCC (Catalan Choral Umbrella Organization) his passion for choral music and international cooperation brought him to join the boards of the European Choral Association - Europa Cantat, the World Youth Choir Foundation and the International Music Council.
Board Member (JMI)
Tonči Bilić (1969.) is one of the most versatile Croatian conductors. He won the Zagreb University President’s Prize, and was a Lovro and Lilly Matačić Foundation scholar.
He made his debut in 1992 in the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, as the conductor in the multi-media project Osman. His experiences in the theatre include a highly successful premiere of the opera Animal Farm by Igor Kuljerić at the Zagreb Music Biennale in 2003. He worked as the choir assistant conductor and conductor in the opera company of the Ivan Zajc Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka. Since 1999 he has appeared regularly with the Croatian RTV Symphony Orchestra and has been a frequent guest of many Croatian ensembles: the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, etc. International guest appearances include those with the Wienerkonzertverein Orchestra in the Musikverein, the Choir of the Netherlands Radio and the Netherlands Chamber Choir/ the Nederlands Kamerkoor (on which occasion he won the special commendation of Eric Ericson), and many others.
From 2012 to 2014 he ran the positions of the artistic manager of Opera, Drama and Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre in Split and the artistic director of the Split Summer Festival. Currently, Bilić is the President of the Jeunesses Musicales Croatia.
Operations manager of IFCM, ex-officio Board Member
Iva Radulovic studied in Belgrade, Serbia at the Faculty of Music Art, graduating in musicology and completing a master degree in 2013. From 2007-2018 she was a member and Secretary of the Academic choir “Collegium Musicum” with whom she organised and produced many concerts, tours and performances in Serbia and in Europe (Austria, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland…) USA, Mexico and Ecuador.
She was the Executive director of Jeunesses Musicales Belgrade where she organised one of the biggest classical music competitions in 2015. From 2015 until 2019 she was the Director of the Academic cultural-artistic society “Branko Krsmanovic” and during her mandate, developed a sustainable structure for the Society, working with more than 300 members, students of University of Belgrade, and developing a strong network for young people in cultural filed.
In the international field, she started as a member of the YEMP (Young Event Manager Program) of ECA-EC, was a member of Youth Committee and participated in organizing some of the major choral events in Europe: Europa Cantat 2012, Europa Cantat Junior, Eurochoir, Europa Cantat 2015, YEMP 3. She was also the Artistic Advisor in representation of JMI for World Youth Choir in 2016, as well as one of the jury members and organiser of the local auditions in Serbia.
Secretary-general of ECA-EC, ex-officio Board Member
Sonja Greiner is the Secretary General of the European Choral Association – Europa Cantat and a member of the Board of the World Youth Choir Foundation.
With her German father and French mother as well as her two brothers, she spent several years of her childhood and youth in Peru and Ecuador, Latin-America, and thus learnt three languages at the same time. She later spent one year in United Kingdom (as Au Pair) and one year in Metz, France (as language assistant).
After studying English, French and Spanish in Freiburg, Germany, and doing two years of teacher training, she first became the manager of the International Chamber-Choir Competition and the festival Musica Sacra International in Marktoberdorf (Germany) at the beginning of the 90ies. She later became deputy Secretary General and then Secretary General of Europa Cantat (European Choral Association – Europa Cantat since 2011).
Sonja Greiner was a member and Treasurer of both the European and the International Music Council between 2000 and 2013 and was elected Honorary Member of the International Music Council in 2015.
Secretary-general of JMI, ex-officio Board Member
Blasko Smilevski studied International Public Law and shortly after started working as Secretary International Relations for Jeunesses Musicales Macedonia, a position he had for 10 years. In 2000 he also became youth advisor of the Macedonia Ministry of Youth and Sport.
He was Chairman of the Youth Affairs Working Group of the Central European Initiative, member of the Stability Pact Youth Working Group 2001-2003 and member of the Youth Ministries Committee (CDEJ) of the Council of Europe 2001-2002.
In 2002 he was hired as youth policy and youth development consultant for the World Bank, working on youth empowerment programs with strong creativity, innovation and culture components in post-conflict countries and regions (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Tajikistan, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Turkey).
In the period 1994-2008 he has served Jeunesses Musicales International as Board member, Vice-President and President, collaborating and leading many non-formal education youth music projects. He was appointed JMI Executive Director in 2008 and has led this international network and its international secretariat based in Brussels since then.
THE ARTISTIC ADVISORS
in representation of IFCM
Venezuelan native Cristian Grases joined the University of Southern California faculty in the Fall 2010 semester and is currently an associate professor of choral music, conductor of the USC Thornton Concert Choir, and Chair of the Department of Choral and Sacred Music. As a sought-out conductor, clinician, academic, and adjudicator, he has traveled to Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Australia, conducting in prestigious halls such as Carnegie Hall, and presenting in numerous international conventions and symposia. Grases is also an award-winning composer whose works have been commissioned and sung by numerous prestigious ensembles around the world. Grases serves in many international committees including the artistic committee for the World Youth Choir and is currently the Vice-President for Latin America of the International Federation for Choral Music.
in representation of ECA-EC
Daniel Mestre i Dalmau is one of the young Catalan leading conductors. Born in Igualada (Barcelona), he started his musical studies in his city, where he studied violin, singing and piano at the Conservatories of Badalona and Barcelona, assisted at Choir Conducting and Orchestra Conducting courses. He received his degree in Art History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and was a member of the World Youth Choir and the European Youth Choir, with whom he toured throughout Europe and America. He obtained his Degree in Conducting with distinction at the Conservatory of Vienna, conducting the Bratislava Symphonic Orchestra at the Wiener Konzerthaus. He was member and assistant conductor of the Arnold Schoenberg Chor and was invited to conduct the European Youth Singers at the New Year’s Music Festival in Prague, the chamber orchestra Camerata Musica Wien in Austria.
In 2002, he was appointed Chorus Master to Cape Town Opera (South Africa) where he took part in many operas as assistant conductor and conducted several symphonic concerts with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2004 he came back to Barcelona, where he worked as assistant conductor at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and was appointed chief conductor of the Youth Symphonic Orchestra Germinans, the chamber choir Fòrum Vocal and the Coro de la Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. He has also been Music Director of the Liceu Conservatory Opera School and conducted several times at the Palau de la Música Catalana the Chamber Choir of the Palau - being its Assistant Conductor from 2006 to 2012 -, the Andorra National Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra Terrassa 48 and at the Auditorio Manuel de Falla the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada.
Since 2014 he is the chief conductor of the Coral Càrmina and teaches ensemble conducting at the Music University of Catalonia, where he conducts its Opera Atelier. He also conducts chamber music, choir, and orchestra at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu and he has been invited to conduct at the Europa Cantat Festival in Torino and Pécs, as well as other projects in Buenos Aires, Beijing and Bogotá.
in representation of JMI
After studying piano, double bass and voice, Géraldine Toutain obtained a Bachelor of Conducting in 1983 at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris (class of D. Rouits and G. Devos) and went on to gain a scholarship from the Ministry of Culture for choir conducting at the Center for polyphonic art in Paris. She entered the Conservatoire National supérieur de Musique et de Danse of Lyon in 1986 in the class of B. Têtu and participated in orchestral conducting courses in Hungary in 1980 and in choir direction in the Netherlands in 1986.
In 1993, she acquired a certificate of aptitude for conducting vocal ensembles and then in 1995, that of professor in charge of the management of music schools. Géraldine Toutain was appointed artistic director of the Mission Voix de Liaisons Arts Bourgogne in 1998.
She regularly devotes herself to the design of original programs that use several artistic disciplines (theater, dance, painting, etc.) and research in new repertoires. She teaches choral singing and choir conducting at the musicology faculty of Dijon and regularly supervises internships for CFMI, Cefedem and federations. She is also the artistic director of the Mission Voix de Liaisons Arts Bourgogne in 1998 and from the beginning of 2020 of the Cité de la Voix in Burgundy.
Inês is the World Youth Choir's manager and the main point of contact for singers, organisers and the general public in regards to operational matters of the World Youth Choir sessions. This is her 4th year with the programme, having managed the sessions in 2016 (Germany, Switzerland and Belgium), 2018 (China) and 2019 (France & Portugal).
Besides managing the World Youth Choir sessions, Inês is a freelance trainer, facilitator and project manager working in Erasmus+ projects in the topics of learning mobility, leadership, social inclusion and youth development. She has coordinated the content preparation and facilitated multiple conferences and training events, often working with large teams of trainers, experts, and organisers. Throughout her activity, she delivered training for international institutions and organisations such as the Council of Europe, the Asia-Europe Foundation, the European University Foundation and the Erasmus Student Network. She is also a co-founding member of Confia International, an NGO which offers consulting services on EU-funded project management and training in the field of international student mobility.