Wioletta Miłkowska is a professor of The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. She has conducted two choirs : Bialystok University of Technology Choir and Choir of the Voivodship Headquarters of the Police. She leads lively music performances in Poland and participates in choral festivals all over Europe. Wioletta Milkowska also takes part in recording, broadcasting and TV programs.
In her spare time, Wioletta also researches vocal and instrumental funeral creation. She is authoress of the book: “Requiem in the output of Polish composers”. She also acts as a coordinator of Białystok Program of chorus development “Singing Bialystok”.
DOC. HIRVO SURVA
Hirvo Surva studied choir conducting at the Georg Ots Tallinn Music School (1983, conducting teacher Silvia Mellik) and at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (1990, conducting class of professor Ants Üleoja). He is the Chief Chorus Master of the Estonian National Opera Chorus, Chief Conductor of the Estonian National Opera Boys’ Choir, the Estonian United Boys’ Choir “Kalev” and the Revalia Male Chamber Choir. Since 1991, he has been actively participating as a conductor in the Estonian Song Festivals, and was the Artistic Director of the 8th (1997) and 9th (2002) Youth Song Celebration. He will be the artistic director of the 26th Estonian SonCelebration in 2014.
In 2003, he made his debut at the Estonian National Opera as the Conductor and Music Director of Britten’s opera “The Little Sweep”. He was also the Music Director of two plays: “The Kingdom of Vargamäe” (2006, in collaboration with Rakvere Theatre and Endla Theatre, A. H. Tammsaare, stage director U. Lennuk) and the performance “Eesti Asi” by R.A.A.A.M Theatre and Viinistu Music Academy (2007, M. Kivastik, stage director I. Vihmar).
His choirs have successfully participated in many international competitions and have won several prestigious awards: in 2003, he and the Revalia Male Chamber Choir participated in the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival and won both the 1st prize and the Grand Prix. They also received the 1st prize and the Grand Prix at the 15thInternational S. Šimkus Choir Competition in Klaipeda, Lithuania (2005) and the 1st prize at the competition of the Estonian Male Choir Association (2008). Conducting the Estonian Boys’ Choir Kalev, he received first prize at the International Choir Festival at Nerpelt in Belgium (2008) and the choir has been named the Choir of the Year in 2005. He received the Special Award for Best Conductor at the Tallinn International Choir Festival 2001 and 2003. In 2003, he was also elected Conductor of the Year by the Estonian Choral Association and in the same year, the Revalia Male Chamber Choir received the title Choir of the Year. The Boys’ Choir “Kalev” won the title of Choir of the Year in 2005.
Hirvo Surva has been a member of the jury in many music competitions organized both in Estonia as well as abroad. Since 2001, he has been the Chairman of the Association of Estonian Choral Conductors. In 2006 and 2010, he was a visiting Resident Professor at the University of Oregon in the US and since 2008 he works as a teacher in Tallinn Music High School. He also teaches choral conductors as a Docent at Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre.
Hirvo Surva has received wide recognition: he was named the best conductor at the International Choir Festival Tallinn (2001, 2003). In 2002 Hirvo Surva received the annual grant of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia. In the same year, he also received the Outstanding Young Person Award of the Junior Chamber International Estonia (TOYP). In 2003 he won the Conductor of the Year Award by the Estonian Choral Association. In 2004, he was given the Badge of Honour by the city of Rakvere and in 2004, he received an Honorary Decoration from the city of Tallinn. In 2008 he was given the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Award and in 2012 the Gustav Ernesaks Award and in 2014 the title “Person of the Year” by Postimees newspaper and “Musician of the Year” title by Estonian Public Broadcasting.
DOC. MILAN KOLENA
At the Zilina Conservatory he studied piano, singing and choir conducting. After graduating with a degree in Choral Conducting at the University of Performing Arts in Bratislava under the tutelage of Prof. Peter Hradil, he continued his studies in sacred music at VSMU. He also continued his studies of Gregorian Chant with Prof. J.Kohlhaufl at the University for Music and Darstellende Kunst in Vienna where he is the author of the first Slovak professional publication on Gregorian chant: ”Súčasné smery v interpretácii gregorianskeho choralu” (Current Directions in Interpretation of Gregorian Chant). He actively cooperates in the interpretation of Gregorian chant with Prof. Dr. F.K. Prassl from Graz and Prof. Dr. J.B. Goschl from Munich. Milan Kolena was an assistant with the Chlapčenský zbor (Boys´ choir) in Bratislava and was conductor of the Spevácky zbor bratislavských učitelov (Bratislava
Teachers‘ Choir). In addition, he currently serves as conductor of Schola Gregoriana Bratislavensis.
Milan Kolena teaches choir conducting and Gregorian chant at VŠMU. Since 1998 Milan Kolena has been the Art Director of the International Sacred Music Choir Festival Námestovské hudobné slavnosti, Musica Sacra in Bratislava, Slovakia Cantat. He is active as a Jury member at national and international choral competitions in Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Slovakia. He has led many workshops and seminars about vocal polyphony, Gregorian chant and Slovak contemporary music. During 2004-2006 together with Schola Gregoriana Bratisalvensis recorded 3 CDs of Bratislava antiphons for Slovak National Library. Since 2013 he is the president of the Slovak Choral Association.
In 2014 he gave lectures at three American universities: Illinois Wesleyan University School, University of Missouri School of Music, Colorado State University, topic: The Question of the Interpretation of Latin texts in Sacred Choral Music. He was awarded the best conductor special prize of the „Singing World“ choral competition in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2015. In the same year he also did workshops in China and Hong Kong. In 2018 he received the first place with his Apollo choir at “Moscow Sounds” Festival in Folk Music category and a Grand Prix for Sacred Music several category.
DR. HAB. ANNA MONIUSZKO
Graduated with distinction conducting in the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (Warsaw, Poland),where she began her academic career in 2003. In 2010 she received PhD degree in conducting, following with post – doc degree (habilitation) in 2015. She continues to work in her Alma Mater giving classes on conducting and early music performance.
In 2003 she began her cooperation with one of the oldest academic choirs in Poland – The Choir of Medical University in Białystok, with which she won many prizes in international choirs competitions and was awarded with special individual prizes for the best conductor of the competition.
In 2005 she founded professional ensemble „Diletto” which specializes in historical performing of early music, especially of the baroque period. In over a decade the „Diletto” ensemble has staged 7 operas and many of the most famous oratorios such as Haendel’s Messiah, Israel in Egypt, Brockes Passion or Bach’s Christmas- oratorio, Eastern – oratorio, St. John’s Passion and many more.
In 2009 she was awarded with Scholarship for the Young Artists and in 2010 Scholarship for the Professional Artists founded by the President of the Białystok City. In the year 2016 she was honoured with the Artistic Prize of the President of the City of Białystok (Poland) for her artistic activity.