Ēriks Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after composers working today, with a busy commission schedule and performances of his music heard on every continent. Born in Priekule, Latvia in 1977, he studied at the Latvian Baptist Theological Seminary (1995–97) before obtaining his Master’s degree in composition (2004) from the Latvian Academy of Music under the tutelage of Selga Mence. He took master-classes with Michael Finnissy, Klaus Huber, Philippe Manoury, and Jonathan Harvey, amongst others. From 2002–11 he was a member of the State Choir Latvija. In 2011 he was awarded the two-year position of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. As of 2022 he serves as Head of the Department of Composition at the Latvian Academy of Music, where he has been teaching since 2004.
Ēriks Ešenvalds has won multiple awards for his work, including the Latvian Grand Music Award three times (2005, 2007, and 2015). The International Rostrum of Composers awarded him first prize in 2006 for his work The Legend of the Walled-in Woman. He was The Year’s New-Composer Discovery of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010. In 2018 he was bestowed Officer in the Order of the Three Stars, the highest state decoration of his home country Latvia, for merits in the field of culture.
Ēriks Ešenvalds’ compositions appear on many recordings released by labels such as Decca Classics, Delphian, Deutsche Grammophon, Hyperion, Naxos, Ondine, Pentatone, and Signum. To date, ten recordings are devoted exclusively to his work: Northern Lights from Trinity College Choir Cambridge (Gramophone Award Shortlist and Critics’ Choice, ICI Radio-Canada Best Albums Selection), Passion and Resurrection from Polyphony with Britten Sinfonia, St Luke Passion from the Latvian Radio Choir and Sinfonietta Riga (Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Opera News Critic’s Choice), Translations (Gramophone’s Critics’ Choice and Editor’s Choice) and The Doors of Heaven (Gramophone Editor’s Choice) from Portland State Chamber Choir, There Will Come Soft Rains by Choir of the West at Pacific Lutheran University (Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice), From the Dim and Distant Past and At the Foot of the Sky from State Choir Latvija (Best Latvian Classical Album of the Year), O Salutaris from Youth Choir Kamēr… (Best Latvian Classical Album of the Year), and most recently the compilation Latvian Radio Archive: Ēriks Ešenvalds. His work Earth Teach Me Quiet recorded live by The Crossing on their Grammy-nominated album Rising w/ The Crossing was selected amongst The New York Times 25 Best Classical Music Tracks of 2020.
prof. dr hab. WIOLETTA MIŁKOWSKA
She is a graduate of the Department of Instrumental and Pedagogy at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Białystok under the guidance of prof. dr hab. Bożena Violetta Bielecka and Postgraduate Choirmaster Studies at the Academy of Music in Bydgoszcz. She started working at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in 1990. In the years 2012-2016 she was the Head of the Department of Choral Conducting. In the 2016-2020 term, she was a member of the University’s Scientific Council. From 2020 Dean of the Faculty of Instrumental and Pedagogy, Music Education and Vocal Studies at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Białystok, where she also teaches choral conducting.
She is the conductor and artistic director of the Choir of the Białystok University of Technology (since 1997) and the Choir of the Provincial Police Headquarters in Białystok (since 2005). She has performed in many European countries, Canada and the USA. She took part in festivals, winning numerous awards. She is often invited to sit on the juries of national and international choir competitions.
Working with chamber orchestras, she conducted a number of oratorio concerts (including compositions by Bach, Vivaldi, Stachowicz, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Rossini, Moryta, Jenkins, Rutter). Together with the ensembles she leads, she recorded interpretations of selected works on CDs.
Wioletta Miłkowska is also involved in scientific activities, and the area of her research is funeral creativity. The research effects were presented in the dissertation entitled – Requiem in the works of Polish composers . She is also the author and scientific editor of books and numerous articles on Polish choral music.
She was the manager and co-organizer of many national and international scientific conferences (incl. National trend in the works of Polish composers…; Between the unknown and the forgotten. Polish music in the light of new discoveries ; In the circle of Polish choral music).
Wioletta Miłkowska has been an animator of the youth choral movement in Podlasie for 30 years. In the years 2006-2014, she was the coordinator of the activities of the National Program for the Development of School Choirs “Singing Poland” in the region. The picture of the functioning of school choir groups was presented in the publication “Śpiewająca Polska” (Białystok, 2011). For several years, he has been cooperating with children’s and youth choirs as part of his original educational and artistic project Rozśpiewany Białystok.
He is also a co-founder of the International Baltic Sea Choir (it includes members of Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Russian ensembles), with which he carries out artistic undertakings.
Honored with 1st Degree Awards of the Rector of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. Honored with the Medal of the National Education Commission and a statuette Wise Heart Teacher – The Award of the President of the City of Białystok. For her activities, she was awarded the Medal of Merit for Polish Culture and the Medal of Merit for the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music. In 2017, she received the Artistic Award of the President of the City of Białystok. In 2018, honoring the distinction of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis, while in 2020, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, awarded for merits in activities for the development of culture and art.
prof. ROLANDAS DAUGĖLA
Rolandas Daugėla is Associate Professor at the Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) Music Academy of Kaunas (Lithuania); since 1998 the chief conductor of World Lithuanian Song Celebrations.
Artistic director and conductor of church chamber choir “Cantate Domino”, VMU Academic choir “Vivere Cantus”, and the childrens choir “Cantica”; Lithuanian choral expert – advisor.
In 1992 he launched Cantate Domino, a festival of sacred music, which evolved by 2011 into a series of international choral competitions under the Kaunas Cantat brand before becoming Lituania Cantat, an organisation in charge of six international choral contests and festivals. Every year he works as head or member of jury at international chorał competitions in Lithuania and Europe. A member of the Lithuanian Musicians’ Union and the Lithuanian Choir Union, he has been the chief conductor of regional song festivals in Kaunas since 1996 and larger events for Lithuanians from all over the world since 1998.
In 1998, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania provided this artist with the 1st degree S. Šimkus award, a winner of “Authentic music” award (2008), “Golden bird” award for nomination of “International shine star” (2009), was awarded the Kaunas City Municipality Culture and Art Prize (2010) and the city of Kaunas burgomaster Jonas Vileišis brass medal (2011).Lithuanian Choral Association Art award (2020), in 2020 for productive creative activity in the field of choral culture, the conductor of the student choir has received the most prize of the Lithuanian Choir Union. In 2023, he was awarded the III degree Santaka badge of honor for his significant contribution to the culture of Lithuania and the city of Kaunas, fostering choral music and active social activities.
prof. 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. In 2023 she received title of the Profesor of Arts. 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. In 2020 she was awarded with the title of “Zasłużony dla Kultury Polskiej” (Merit for Polish Culture) by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. In 2023 she received Artistic Prize of the Marshal of Podlaskie Voivodeship and I degree Prize of Rector of Chopin Music University.