MEET THE INTERNATIONAL JURY
We are thrilled to announce the talented and diverse jury of music professionals to Choirfest Middle East 2023. The jury members include renowned conductors, composers, and vocal coaches who will lend their ears and expertise to evaluate the awe-inspiring performances of the participating choirs, selecting the most outstanding acts, and providing invaluable feedback to all the singers.
Get ready for a spectacular display of musical talent and an unforgettable experience at ChoirFest 2023!
Jonathan Velasco is a distinguished choral conductor, clinician, and adjudicator from the Philippines. He currently conducts the Ateneo Chamber Singers, a choir that has won top prizes in major competitions across Europe. With his impressive background, Velasco is frequently invited to judge international choral competitions in Europe and Asia, and is recognized as the Philippine representative to the Interkultur World Choir Council. He has also conducted various orchestras in the Philippines and abroad, including the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and was elected as the first President of the Philippine Choral Directors Association in 2008.
Rob Johnston is a renowned director, conductor, singer, and vocal coach who has conducted his own choir for movie soundtracks including Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. Performing as a tenor soloist worldwide, he has graced iconic venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He is also a sought-after vocal coach, with two of his students achieving number one on the UK classical music chart. Johnston is no stranger to judging for prestigious music competitions, sharing his knowledge at the Council of British International Schools Virtual Music Competition Grand Final and the Young Musician of The Gulf competition.
Joanna Medawar Nachef
As the first female conductor from the Middle East, Joanna earned accolades and recognition throughout her distinguished career. With a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California, she's now the Director of Choral Activities at El Camino College and on the faculty of several other institutions. Dr. Nachef's achievements have been recognized by the City of Torrance Cultural Arts Commission and she was selected to participate in the "Global Peace and Security Seminar" for community college faculty at the United States Institute of Peace.