- Mathieu Romano (conductor 2020)
- Nils Schweckendiek (conductor 2019)
- Daniel Reuss (conductor 2015 & 2018)
- Sigvards Kļava (conductor 2016 & 2017)
- Geert Berghs (vocal coach & initiator)
- Kaspars Putniņš (conductor 2011-2014)
Daniel Reuss (conductor 2015 & 2018)
As a ‘convinced master of all trades’ Daniel Reuss works with a plethora of styles and eras, from 1200 up to modern-day music. Since 1990, Reuss has been the artistic director and chief conductor of Cappella Amsterdam, which has grown into one of Europe’s prominent chamber choirs.
Daniel Reuss (1961) was responsible for the 2015 edition of Meesters&Gezellen. He has studied choral conducting at the Conservatory of Rotterdam under the tutelage of Barend Schuurman. In 1990 he succeeded Jan Boeke as the artistic director and chief conductor of Cappella Amsterdam. From 2003 to 2006 Reuss was also chief conductor of the RIAS Kammerchor in Berlin; it was under his leadership that the choir published CD’s with the works of Martin, Händel and Stravinsky, resulting in several European awards. Between 2008 and 2013 he also functioned as the chief conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, which he still has ties with as a guest conductor. The collaborative effort of Golgotha’s CD release (Martin) between Cappella Amsterdam and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir resulted in a Grammy nomination in 2011.
Reuss frequently works with ensembles and orchestras throughout the entirety of Europe, from the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, musikFabriek, Vocal Consort Berlin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He recorded the CD The Canticle of the Sun with the Collegium Vocale Gent and Pieter Wispelwey, including the composition from Sofia Goebaidoelina from which the album’s name is derived. In 2006 Reuss was invited by Pierre Boulez as a teacher and conductor at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland.
The CD Janáček – Choral Works, which Reuss published with Cappella Amsterdam, ended up on the ‘Bestenliste’ of the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, received a Diapason d’Or, Choc de Classica and was awarded the Edison Classical Music Award in 2013. In 2014 two CD’s were released under the harmonia mundi umbrella: Stabat Mater from Francis Poulenc and Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen? with choral works from Brahms.
‘Singing is the most direct way of making music. It’s why I love conducting vocal music. With this human instrument you’re connecting what I’ll call ‘the soul’ and what is happening musically. To get that connection across to people, that’s the beauty of my profession. When you’re able to pull that off, something amazing takes place.’ – Daniel Reuss – www.danielreuss.com
Photo: Marco Borggreve
Geert Berghs (vocal coach & initiator)
Dr. Geert Berghs originally studied medicine and musicology, at a later point also studying solo singing under Margreet Honig, Kurt Equiluz, Nelly van der Spek and Henny Diemer. He grew into a versatile soloist and would join Ton Koopman’s The Amsterdam Baroque Choir for several years. Later, through the Catholic research university of Leuven, Berghs researched the development of 200 professional choral singers’ voices throughout the years. He has also been studying with breathing teacher Paul Triepels for years on end. Many young singers who were trained by Geert Berghs can be heard performing on several stages and have joined some of the most important professional choirs in the Netherlands.
As the founder of Tettix, Berghs has organized a St John Passion under the leadership of his former teacher Kurt Equiluz (“Young Singers, Old Master”) in which his students performed both the solos and the choral parts. Having had several years of experience on the audition committee of the Netherlands Chamber Choir, Berghs started Meesters&Gezellen, which has had an annual edition since 2011.
Meesters&Gezellen served as the blueprint for the Tenso Europe Chamber Choir, which started in July 2013 and was led by Kaspars Putniņš with Geert Berghs as vocal coach. In 2011 and 2016 Berghs was a guest of the Estonian Philharmonic Choir as a vocal coach. Berghs is also affiliated with the University of Amsterdam as a singing teacher and, in 2021, as a guest teacher with the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Mathieu Romano (conductor 2020)
Mathieu Romano (1984) studied the flute, piano and conducting at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique (CNSM) in Paris. He was subsequently admitted to the MA conducting and graduated in 2013.
Romano has dedicated himself to conducting both orchestras and choirs, and has followed masterclasses from Pierre Boulez, Susanna Mälkki, François-Xavier Roth, Stephen Cleobury, Hans-Christoph Rademann, Catherine Simonpietri and Didier Louis. Mathieu has led the Orchestre d’Auvergne, assisted Paul Agnew with the production of Haendel’s La Resurrezione, was assistant conductor at the Orchestre Français des Jeunes in the summers of 2013, 2014 and 2015, and was assistant to Marc Minkowski at the Festival d’Art Lyrique in Aix-en-Provence back in 2014.
Photo: Jean-Pière Hakimian
Nils Schweckendiek (conductor 2019)
Nils Schweckendiek studied music at the Clare College in Cambridge and orchestral and choral conduction in Freiburg and Helsinki. Since his successful debut conducting Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier at the Finnish National Opera in 2006 he has worked with multiple orchestras, choirs and other ensembles throughout Europe, the United States and China. Schweckendiek has conducted several opera houses and festivals, including Oper Leipzig and the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland. He focuses on contemporary music and has conducted around 90 premieres of musical theatre and orchestral and choral works. Since 2007 Schweckendiek has been the artistic director of the Helsinki Chamber Choir. In 2014 he was named the principal teacher of choral conducting at the University of Helsinki and from 2017 onward he has functioned as the artistic director of the Helsinki Music Centre Chorus. Finally, Schweckendiek is the founder and artistic director of the International Einojuhani Rautavaara Composition Competition. – www.schweckendiek.org
Sigvards Kļava (conductor 2016 & 2017)
Sigvards Kļava (1962) is a renowned conductor, but also a producer and teacher of choral conducting. He has worked with the Latvian Radio Choir since 1987 and became artistic director in 1992. Since then, the choir has developed into one of the most celebrated chamber choirs of the world, a collective with a unique and authentic sound that leaves room for the creative individuality of each singer.
Kļava is a capable and creative manager, having recorded the works of nearly forgotten composers of old, yet at the same time forging impressive bonds with contemporary Latvian composers such as Juris Ābols, Andris Dzenītis, Maija Einfelde, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Arturs Maskats, Kristaps Pētersons and Santa Ratniece. With the composer Pēteris Vasks in particular a special collaboration came into existence, consisting of several celebrated consert series: Meeting in Music, Evening Talk at St. John’s and Sacred Chants. Kļava also took the initiative to research and record the ancient, but still alive, regional Latvian music from such places as the historical Courland.
Kļava has studied at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music and the Bachakademie Stuttgart. He’s received the Latvian Music Award several times and has conducted at the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus and the Philharmonic in Berlin, the Opéra Berlioz in Montpellier, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Cité de la Musique in Paris, the Bervaldhallen in Stockholm, the Dresdner Frauenkirche and the New York Lincoln Centre. Sigvards Kļava is a teacher of choral conducting at the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music.
Kaspars Putniņš (conductor 2011-2014)
Kaspars Putniņš (1966) has led Meesters&Gezellen in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He is the conductor of the Latvian Radio Choir and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and is internationally renowned for his work. With the Latvian Radio Choir, which he leads together with Sigvards Kļava, and his own Latvian Radio Ensemble Singers he has achieved great international success. Many choirs have invited him as a guest conductor, including the BBC Singers, the RIAS Kammerchor, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart and the Flemish Radio Choir.
Putniņš’ repertoire includes Western choral works from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary music, but his main driver is to introduce audiences to newer work: with more recent compositions you can develop the qualities of the singers by taking their vocals into uncharted territory. Putniņš has a reputation as the organizer of workshops, thanks to his experiences in the coaching of singers and the mentoring of students. The last few years have seen him take up the mantle of workshop organizer at several choral festivals in the Netherlands, with choral conducting teachers from Amsterdam and The Hague thoroughly enjoying their collaboration.