1. You have extensive experience as a jury member at choir competitions and festivals. We had the pleasure of having you in our Chorus Review jury at the Tampere Vocal Music Festival in 2005. The Review is not exactly a competition, but it is a great chance for choirs to perform for an international jury and to receive their expert feedback. What is important for you in the jury process?
A jury is never about ‘absolute truth’. I believe the real value of competitions is for choirs to get opinions from experts, positive advice for future work and a benchmark of where they are now. It is of great importance that the jury is democratic and pluralism of opinions is important. Music is not sport, so there are no absolute criteria with which to evaluate performances. What I try to follow as much as possible are creativity, musicality, inventiveness, presentation and communications. Good programme planning and choral sound are also very important, and fidelity to the score and good intonation are of course basic expectations.
2. What kind of choral performances touch and inspire you?
Each performance is an irreversible moment of communication. I very much appreciate when singers communicate within their own group and, as a result, with the audience. By this, I certainly do not mean creating show programmes or artificial ‘staged’ solutions, with movement added to music where there is no reason for it... It is important for every singer to be involved and for the ensemble to have a clear intention. I need to trust and to believe them.
3. You have worked with your fantastic choir, Carmina Slovenica, since 1989. Please describe your main reasons for working with choirs.
A choir is a collective body, reflecting the human desire to merge. The collective becomes an individual, and individuals become part of the collective. A non-individual voice or a multitude of voices: the union of bodies in a choir creates an illusion of humanity as a single being. This is always fascinating. A choir is one of the few types of assembly that is not ideologically determined, i.e. politically, economically, militarily or religiously motivated. For me, a choir represents a higher level of integration between individuals, a beautiful model for doing things together.
4. You have created a special concept, Choregie. What, briefly, is Choregie?
Choregie is both a method and an artistic concept. Basically, the method is about the awakening of a creative state. It combines didactics, team-building, a body and mind laboratory, an exploration of the voice, and so on. The challenge is to keep all parameters in motion throughout the performance. Choregie might be described as music that refers to other fields, or music that reacts to other fields. I believe music becomes interesting in a different way as it acquires references in the non-musical world. Music, language, vocalisation, visuality and motion coexist, complenting each other or juxtaposed with each other, in a certain equality. Sound and image carry different meanings, and they can join to create a third meaning. This is so interesting.