Ms Lim Ai Hooi
Artistic Director, SourceWerkz
Founder and Artistic Director, ONE Chamber Choir
Ai Hooi’s philosophy for choral music and teaching stems from her view that a fulfilling musical journey is one that is filled with sincerity, love and excellence. She uses the creation of music as a platform to share and infuse her values and beliefs in her singers, and inspires them to use the beauty of music to craft experiences that touch the hearts of the audience.
Born in Penang, Malaysia, Ai Hooi graduated from Royal College of Music, London with Majors in Piano and Voice. After moving to Singapore, Ai Hooi actively contributes to the growth of the local choral scene, through nurturing younger choral conductors and choristers. On top of conducting several local secondary and junior college choirs, Ai Hooi established ONE Chamber Choir, a young adult choir. In 2017, the choir achieved the 2nd Prize of the Mixed Choirs category at the 15th International Chamber Choir Competition Marktoberdorf 2017, as well as the Special Prize of the Carl-Orff-Stiftung Diessan am Ammersee for the best interpretation of a choral worked premiered at the competition for “The Emigrant” by Wolfram Buchenberg. The choir took part in the 10th World Choir Games in Tshwane, South Africa and achieved Gold in all three categories they competed in, including Champion of the World Choir Games in the Chamber Choir Category.
She has also been the conductor of the Hwa Chong Institution Choir since 2000, which has achieved numerous accolades over the years, including Champion in the Mixed Choir category at the 5th World Choir Games 2008, achieving the title of Absolute Winner (top choir across categories) at the Festival of Songs Olomouc, and the Prix du public (Public prize) at the 2010 Florilège vocal de Tour.
Ai Hooi has served as a jury member on numerous international choral festivals, including the World Choir Games, Asian Choral Grand Prix, Singapore International Choral Festival, Bali International Choir Festival, Taipei International Choral Competition, Canta Al Mar Festival Coral Internacional, Karangturi International Choral Festival, Festival Coros de Verão and so on. She has also shared her conducting experiences as a panellist in Poland, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Ai Hooi co-founded Sourcewerkz PL in 2010 to further her calling to teach, touch and transform the larger choral community and its audience. To date, Sourcewerkz has organised the Winter Choral Festival in Hong Kong since 2010 and Festival Coros de Verão in Lisbon since 2012, as well as various workshops with international choral clinicians. In 2014, she conceptualised and directed the 1st Singapore International Choral Festival and since then, SICF has played host to over 15,000 choristers and is now in her eighth iteration.
Mr Yong Chee Foon
Artistic Director, Sourcewerkz
President, Choral Directors’ Association (Singapore)
Yong Chee Foon’s journey as a choral director is a testament to his unwavering passion for choral music and commitment to artistic growth. Currently the President of the Choral Directors’ Association (Singapore), he began his musical journey by learning the piano, but his passion for choral music quickly took root when he joined the Victoria Junior College Choir and later, Victoria Chorale. This marked the beginning of a lifelong dedication to choral music education.
He first graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a Bachelor Degree in Accountancy. After several years in the financial sector, he moved on to pursue his passion – Choral art – and obtained an ATCL in Voice from Trinity College, London. In 2016, he graduated with a Masters in Music (Choral Conducting) from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Alongside his studies, he has attended numerous choral conducting workshops by renowned choral directors, gleaning insights from their vast experiences and integrating their wisdom into his own approach.
He is currently the conductor of several choirs in Singapore and his choirs have performed well in the Singapore Youth Festival, garnering Gold and Gold with Honours awards as well as Certificates of Distinction. His choirs have also ventured overseas to participate in International Competitions where they received numerous accolades with Gold and Silver medals. In 2013, he was awarded a Distinction for Conductor Award at the 4th International Krakow Choir Festival in Poland.
His philosophy for music revolves around the transformative power of artistic expression and its ability to bridge cultural divides. He believes that music has the ability to transcends barriers, enabling individuals from different backgrounds to communicate and connect on a profound level. He advocates for an inclusive and nurturing environment where aspiring musicians can explore their creativity, develop their technical skills, and discover their authentic musical identities.
He desires to inspire young singers, through choral music education, to live life with passion and achieve excellence in all aspects of life whilst remaining appreciative to all who have made a difference to them.
Dr. Beverly Shangkuan-Cheng is the President of the Philippine Choral Directors Association, Artistic Director of the Las Piñas International Bamboo Organ Festival, and Associate Professor of Music at the University of the Philippines, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, chorus, and music history.
She is a First Prize Winner at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Graduate Conducting Competition. She also won First Prize for the A1 Piano Category of the Philippines’ National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA).
She is the Philippine representative to the Asia Pacific Choral Council and the Asia Choral Association. She has been an Adjudicator and the Philippine representative to the World Choir Council for the World Choir Games. For its 2018 Season, she was appointed Conductor of the Asia Pacific Youth Choir.
Her conducting and academic awards include the Levi Barbour Fellowship from the University of Michigan, the Phyllis Curtin Career Entry Award from the Yale School of Music, the Margot Fassler Award and the Hugh Giles Prize from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
For the 2023 Season, she served as one of the Artistic Directors at the World Symposium for Choral Music, an event organized by the International Federation for Choral Music. She was also a featured presenter at the National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, Guest Conductor of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and a masterclass clinician at the International Conductor’s Seminar Wernigerode in Germany.
Performance and adjudication engagements have brought her to South Africa, Germany, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Spain, Vietnam, Portugal, and Singapore. She also regularly leads workshops in different parts of the Philippines.
Dr. Shangkuan-Cheng received a Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude) from the University of the Philippines, a Master of Music from the Yale School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Gene Peterson is the Artistic Director & Vice President of Artistic Development for Perform International/Perform America, casting the mission and vision for performance events and tours in the United States and throughout the world.
Dr. Peterson is an internationally recognized choral conductor and clinician, whose prior appointments include Director of Choral & Vocal Studies and Professor of Music at the Collinsworth School of Performing Arts at California Baptist University in Riverside, California, Director of Choral Studies at Bethel University (Minnesota) and Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Peterson has also served as music director and conductor for college, secondary school, church, and community choirs in California and Washington. Ensembles under his leadership have performed in venues throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, including the Sistine Chapel, the Sydney Opera House, Chicago Symphony Hall, and Carnegie Hall.
Due to his reputation in the international choral community, Dr. Peterson is in high demand as a lecturer, choral clinician and adjudicator for local, regional, and international choral festivals, symposiums and workshops, has conducted numerous honor choirs and all-state choirs, and served as a guest conductor for choral concerts and festivals around the world.
Dr. Peterson has served on the ACDA National Standing Committee on Education and Communication and in additional professional leadership roles in California including High School Standards and Repertoire Chair for the California Choral Directors Association and as Bay Area Choral Representative for the California Music Educators Association. Additional professional posts include Men’s Chorus Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Southern Division American Choral Directors Association, the Southern Division Conference Planning Committee, the Men’s Chorus Representative for Minnesota Choral Directors Association, the executive committee for the International Choral Festival and on the chair for the Legacy Directors Chorus at the most recent National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association.
Dr. Peterson holds the Associate of Arts in Music-Piano from El Camino College, the Bachelor of Music in Choral Conducting and a Master of Arts in Education from Chapman University in Orange, California, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Born in Barcelona, Spain, Elisenda Carrasco i Ribot completed all the higher levels of Composition, Orchestral Conducting and Music Education, specialising in Choral Singing. For more than 30 years, she has been teaching and conducting children’s choirs.
She collaborates regularly with Barcelona Auditorium, she is co-director of the Cantània programme, in which more than 50,000 children take part every year. She also participates in the preparation and conducting of the symphonic-choral programmes of the OBC (Catalan Symphony Orchestra).
Since its creation more than 30 years ago, Elisenda Carrasco has been the conductor of the Sant Cugat Children’s Choir, where she uses the Kodály system as a basis for learning, the symphonic choir El Cor Canta, and Voxalba women’s choir. She also teaches Didactic of choral conducting at the ESMUC, Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya.
Elisenda is a dynamic force who, thanks to her musical and pedagogical knowledge, brings boundless energy and vision, broadening the group’s musical horizons both technically and sonically.
Born in Lisbon, Mr. Paulo Vassalo Lourenço is the head of the master’s Program in Choral Conducting at the Lisbon’s Superior School of Music where he conducts the ESML Chamber Choir.
He has a doctoral degree in Choral (Stephen Coker and Earl Rivers) and Orchestral (Mark Gibson and Chang Zhang) Conducting at the College/Conservatory of Music – University of Cincinnati (USA).
He was appointed assistant conductor at the Gulbenkian Choir since 2012 to 2017. During this period he has prepared the major repertoire for such figures as: Gustavo Dudamel, Simone Young, Jonathan Nott, Alain Altinoglu, Lawrence Foster, Paul McCreesh, Lorenzo Viotti and many others.
He began his career at the of Portuguese Youth Choir (1990-1995) and the Ricercare Choir (1995-2002). With the Ricercare Choir he was awarded with 1st and 2nd prizes at the Certamen de Villancios (Madrid 1999) and II Certamen Internacional de Corales Polifonicas (Seville 1998).
He was also the founder of the acclaimed “a cappella” group “Tetvocal” (11 CD’s recorded including EMI, RCA/Victor, BMG and others) from which he was awarded with several prizes including Radio and TV.
Mr. Lourenço dedicates a substantial part of his work in performing contemporary music including more than 100 premieres of Portuguese composers in the last 25 years and the Portuguese premiere of Arvo Pärt’s Passio with the Hilliard Ensemble. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the Summer Choral Festival that takes place in Lisbon being the most important choral event in Portugal.
His international career includes engagements in Turkey (Turkish State Polyphonic Choir), Spain (Coro de la ORCAM and Coro de la Radio Television Española), Poland (Filharmonii Wrocławskiej), Israel (New Israeli Vocal Ensemble), Mexico (Coro de Bellas Artes), France, Iceland, Germany, China, Singapore, Brazil, Slovenia, and USA as clinician at the “Ambassadors of Song” (an international male chorus symposium in Michigan University and as guest teacher at the University of Cincinnati. CCM.
He was the Portuguese Music Advisor for Europa Cantat from 2013 to 2018. Mr. Lourenço is also the president of COROS PORTUGAL since 2017 (Portuguese Association of Choral Music).
Soundarie David Rodrigo is a Pianist, Music Educator, Choral director, Composer, and Intellectual Property Lawyer. She pursed her musical education at the Royal College of Music, London, specializing in piano performance and piano accompaniment. She also pursued her legal studies at the University of California, Berkeley where she specialized in Entertainment Law, having been a recipient of the Rotary World Peace Scholarship.
Soundarie is the Founder and Music Director of Sri Lanka’s premiere female choral ensemble ‘Soul Sounds’ the first choir in Sri Lanka to perform and win awards internationally. Over the last twenty years Soul Sounds has given highly acclaimed performances in India, Australia, China, Kuwait, Austria, France, USA, Malaysia and South Africa, thus placing Sri Lanka on the map of International choral Music.
She is the Founder of one of Sri Lanka’s leading Music Academies – The Soul Sounds Academy focusing on all aspects of music. The Academy focuses on Music Education for young children starting at the age of 5 and has classes for Voice, Piano, Violin, Music Therapy, Drums, Guitar, and basic appreciation of Music classes. She directs the newly forms Soul Sounds Academy Mixed choir who have also won awards recently.
Soundarie has directed many Music Productions and has collaborated with many artists for concert recitals. Soundarie is an Honorary Member of the World Choir Council for INTERKULTUR.
She also regularly serves as a jury member at international choral competitions. She was one of the judges for the franchised talent show ‘Sri Lanka’s got Talent’ Soundarie plays an important role in the promotion of culture and arts in Sri Lanka and the region.
She was the Deputy Director at the SAARC Cultural Centre based in Sri Lanka from 2010 having set up all its programs from inception and later on was Director, Programs for the Colombo Cultural Hub till 2018. Her awards include the SAARC Woman of Achievement Award, the Zonta Award, the Bunka Award presented by the Japan/Sri Lanka Association and most recently the Women In Management Award 2019/20 for the Arts and Creative Industry.
André van der Merwe is a conductor and composer from Cape Town, South Africa. He is often invited to perform as guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician nationally and internationally. He has been invited to do freelance work with universities and companies in the USA, Sweden, England, Greece, Germany, Japan, China, Austria and Portugal.
André initially studied B.Mus at the University of Cape Town, but after an injury to his hand, he changed course and studied B.Drama (Directing) at the University of Stellenbosch. During 1990 – 1996 André directed theatre productions for the Grahamstown International Arts Festival and for the Klein Karoo Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn. He received national awards and prizes as actor and director.
In 2012 André was announced as the most popular television presenter for the KykNet programme Fiesta.
Currently André conducts three choirs:
The Stellenbosch University Choir:
The Stellenbosch University Choir is the oldest and most celebrated choir in South Africa. The choir was founded in 1936 under the baton of William Morris. Currently the US choir is ranked number 1 on the Interkultur World Ranking List of the top 1000 international choirs.
In February 2016 the choir received a Fiesta award for the Best Classical Production at a South African Arts festival. They were also announced as the best Classical Music Vocal production at the 2016 Woordfees.
The Stellenberg Girls Choir:
Since its inception the choir has won numerous first places in national and international choral competitions. A highlight for the choir was at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales in July 2006 where they were announced as the overall winners with the coveted title Choir of the World.
At the World Choir Games (2012) in Cincinnatti, USA the girls won two categories overall. In 2013 the Stellenberg Girls won the National ATKV Applous Choir Competition overall for the 12th time.
The Stellenberg Girls are currently ranked number 12 on Interkultur’s World Ranking List of the top 1000 international choirs.
In 2022, André formed a new young adult choir, Voces Cordis. This choir comprises alumni members of his previous and current choirs.
Dr. Burak Onur Erdem is the principal conductor of the Turkish State Choir.
Erdem graduated from Boğaziçi University Political Science & International Relations department with the Rector’s Prize. He has a master’s degree in music theory and a PhD in conducting from ITU Centre for Advanced Studies in Music. Thereafter, he finished his postgraduate degree with Prof. Johannes Prinz on choral conducting in Kunstuniversität Graz.
Erdem studied with Michael Ellison (form & music theory), Adam Roberts (advanced harmony), Paul Whitehead (renaissance & baroque style), Lynn Trepel Çağlar (singing) among other notable tutors. He worked with renowned conductors like Johannes Prinz, Maria Guinand, Anders Eby, Volker Hempfling, Denes Szabo, Michael Gohl and Georg Grün in international conducting masterclasses.
Erdem started the Boğaziçi University Choral Festival (KoroFest) in 2009, founded the Choral Culture Association in 2012, has been elected to the board of European Choral Association in 2015 and has been appointed to the board of International Federation of Choral Music in 2018. He served as music commission members in Europa Cantat Tallinn and Ljubljana Festivals, and acted as chair of the music commission in Leading Voices Utrecht Festival.
Erdem won prizes in guitar and singing in his highschool years in Jugend Musiziert competitions. Starting from his university years, he performed with his choirs in countries like Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, as well as in Türkiye. He won prizes in prestigious competitions like Cork, Arezzo, Varna, and Marktoberdorf with Rezonans, which he founded. He has been invited as a jury member to Italian National Choral Conducting Competition, Arezzo International Choral Competition, German National Choral Competition, and Japan National Choral Competition. He founded Bahçeşehir University Choral School and taught in national and international choral conducting masterclasses.
Erdem performed numerous concerts with Turkish State Choir in Türkiye and Europe since 2013, has been one of the founders of Walter Strauss Choral Conducting Masterclass, premiered renowned Turkish composers, initiated European composers to write Turkish choral works and recorded them, and has been accepted to TENSO (European Network for Professional Chamber Choirs) with the choir.
Erdem has led the World Symposium on Choral Music 2023 Istanbul as its festival director and continues to serve as vice-president of the European Choral Association and International Federation of Choral Music.