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Jury 2024

Bernard Foccroulle
(photo by Pascal Victor/ArtComArt)

Bernard Foccroulle (Belgium)

Chairman Bernard Foccroulle studied at the Royal Conservatory in Liege with Hubert Schoonbroodt and continued his studies with Xavier Darasse and Gustav Leonhardt, among others.  He established his name as a Baroque specialist, composer and performer of contemporary music. He recorded more than 50 CDs and made a name for himself with dozens of world premieres of works by Philippe Boesmans, Brian Ferneyhough, Pascal Dusapin and others. He was director of the Royal Monnaie Theater in Brussels, chairman of the ‘Association Opera Europa’ and organ teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. His first opera Cassandra premiered in 2023.

Matthias Havinga (Netherlands)

Matthias Havinga studied organ with Jacques van Oortmerssen and piano with Marcel Baudet at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and has given concerts in Europe, Russia, the US and South America and soloed with renowned choirs and orchestras, such as the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. He is organist of the Oude Kerk congregation in Amsterdam, where he plays the Vater/Müller organ and the Ahrend organ. He is a principal teacher of organ at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.

Monica Melcova (Slovakia)

Monica Melcova studied at the conservatories of Košice and Vienna. In 1999 she graduated with the highest distinction and honorary prize from the Austrian Ministry of Culture and Education. She then trained in Paris with Olivier Latry and Michel Bouvard, and studied improvisation with Loic Mallié. In 2002 she became organist in residence at the Sapporo Concert Hall in Kitara, Japan. From 2020 to 2022 she was a visiting professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. She is a regular jury member at renowned organ competitions and teaches improvisation.

Ville Urponen (Finland)

The Finnish organist Ville Urponen studied organ and piano at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with respectively Kari Jussila and Meri Louhos, and organ at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam with Jacques van Oortmerssen. As a concert organist he has performed in several European countries and in Japan, South Korea, China and Russia, where he also gave masterclasses. He was chairman of Organum, the oldest organ music association in Scandinavia, and is now artistic director of the Turku International Organ Festival.

Vincent Thévenaz (Switzerland)

Vincent Thévenaz teaches improvisation at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva and is titular organist and carillonneur of Saint-Pierre Cathedral in Geneva. His concerts have taken him to many European countries, as well as Argentina, Uruguay, Canada and India. He strives to highlight the many facets of the organ, as soloist or together with other instruments such as violin, flute and saxophone, as well as less common instruments such as alphorn or percussion. In 2005, he founded the Orchestre Buissonnier, an ensemble of young musicians.