The jurors of the PENABUR INTERNATIONAL CHOIR FESTIVAL (PICF 2022) consist of internationally recognized professional musicians and conductors.

Dr. Tim Sharp – USA

Tim Sharp is Former Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association (2008-2020) and Board Member of IFCM. An active choral conductor as well as writer, Dr. Sharp came to ACDA from Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, where he conducted the Rhodes Singers and Master Singers Chorale. Before his appointment at Rhodes, he was Director of Choral Activities at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Dr. Sharp’s research and writing focuses pedagogically in conducting and score analysis as evidenced by his publications Precision Conducting, Achieving Choral Blend and Balance, and Up Front! Becoming the Complete Choral Conductor. Dr. Sharp has served ACDA in many capacities, including conducting state honor choirs, as a Choral Journal Editorial Board member, and as a member of ACDA’s Research and Publications Committee.

Sharp holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the School of Church Music of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He is a Clare Hall Life Fellow at Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK, has studied at the Aspen School of Music, and the Harvard NEH Medieval Sacred Music Studies program.

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand – USA

JASON MAX FERDINAND, Professor – Conductor – Composer – Speaker, is the founding artistic director of The Jason Max Ferdinand Singers: an ensemble of exceptional talents, and is director of choral activities, chair of the music department, and full professor at Oakwood University where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University. He is a published author and composer with GIA publications, featuring the book, Teaching with Heart: Tools for Addressing Societal Challenges Through Music, and The Jason Max Ferdinand Choral Series with Walton Music. He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor and lecturer at schools, universities, churches, and choral festivals and conferences, domestic and international.

Ferdinand holds non-terminal degrees from Oakwood University, Morgan State University, and a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Maryland. He serves on the board of the National Collegiate Choral Organization is a former board member of the Alabama Choral Directors Association.

As conductor of the Aeolians of Oakwood University, as evidenced by noteworthy awards, he has distinguished himself on the national and international choral stages. In 2017, he earned the Outstanding Director and Choir of the World awards at the Llangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales. In 2018, his choir won three gold medals at the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa and won the competition’s overall championship in both the Spirituals and University Choir categories. In 2018, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by Oakwood University. The Aeolians made their first appearance at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in 2019 and the term “they broke ACDA” was used to describe their outstanding presentation.

Dr. Johnny Ku – Taiwan

Dr. Yu-Chung Johnny Ku Dr. Ku is currently the Music Director of Taipei Philharmonic Choruses and Taipei International Choral Competition and Festival, an executive board member of Taiwan Choral Association, a professor in the National Taiwan University of Arts and the Chinese Culture University, a member of the World Choral Council, a member of the Asia-Pacific working committee in the International Federation for Choral Music, co-founder of the World Choral Championship, founding member of the International Choral Conductors’ Federation, and one of the founding directors of the Asian Choral Association.

He is an active conductor and choral expert. He has conducted concerts in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Macao, Philippines, Poland, Russia, and the USA, working with orchestras and choirs on Bach’s St. John’s passion, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Symphony No.9, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mahler’s Symphony No.2 and No.8, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s requiem, and 40 more master pieces. In addition to classical music, he’s also very active in musical theaters as a music director, and has collaborated with several pop singers in their concerts. He has given masterclasses and lectures, and conducted choirs and orchestras in 20 countries around the world.

Dr. Ku has been an adjudicator in international competitions, such as the World Choir Games, Bali International Choral Competition, Singapore International Choral Competition, Busan Choral Festival and Competition, and several others. Dr. Ku receives his Doctor of Musical Art degree from the University of Cincinnati, and holds a Master of Music degree from Temple University.

Ko Matsushita – Japan

Currently the conductor and artistic director of 13 choirs, which are often invited to perform in Japan, Europe, America, Canada, and Asia. They have also achieved excellent showings in the choral circuit and won awards in international competitions.

A prolific composer and arranger, Matsushita’s works are performed around the world. His compositions vary widely, ranging from works based on traditional Japanese music, Masses, motets, to etudes for choirs.

His works are published in Japan by Edition KAWAI, Pana Musica, Ongaku no tomo sha Corp., Edition ICOT, and overseas by Carus-Verlag Stuttgart (Germany), SULASOL Helsinki (Finland), among others.

Besides conducting and composing, he is also an active workshop clinician and lecturer both within and outside Japan. Especially, he has been adjudicating at many international choral competitions and composition competitions around the world.<br>In 2005, he was awarded the“Robert Edler Prize for Choral Music” in recognition of his outstanding achievements worldwide in conducting, composing, performance, and education within the field of choral music.

He was a member of the artistic committee of the 11th World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona 2017, and his work “Salva me” was performed by KammerChor Saarbrückn as a world premiere in there.

John August Pamintuan – Philippines

John August Pamintuan is a renowned Philippine conductor, composer, singer, clinician, and adjudicator. Since 2007, John is recognized by the American Federation of Musicians as an artist of sustained international acclaim.

As a conductor he has given workshops, performed in concerts, and won in competitions in Asia, Europe, and North America. As a singer, he has sung in solo recitals at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and Moscow Glinka Hall. As a composer, John was awarded the composition prize in Tours (France), Tokyo (Japan) and has written around 450 pieces which have been performed by choirs from 30 countries.

In the last couple of years, John has been invited in the jury of international choir competitions in Hoi An, Cincinnati, Rimini and Cattolica Italy, Singapore, Penang, Hongkong, Taiwan, Chiang Mai and Bangkok Thailand, Jakarta and Manado Indonesia, Riga Latvia, and the cities of Takarazuka, Kobe, Karuizawa, and Tokyo in Japan. He is also a member of the panel of adjudicators for composition contests in Croatia (2011, 2012, 2014), International Federation for Choral Music (2013), Arezzo Italy (2020, 2021) and International Choral Composition Competition Japan (2015, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021).

Towards creating cross cultural ties and strengthening friendship and cooperation, John August Pamintuan has also organized many musical exchanges among conductors and choirs of Asian countries. He is the Artistic Director of the Asian Choral Masters, and also an honorary member of the Choral Directors Associations of Japan and Italy.

Nelson Kwei – Singapore

Nelson Kwei, the premier choral director of Singapore, is an international acclaimed conductor, conservatorium lecturer, editorial advisor, international adjudicator, music arranger and vocal clinician in the music scene. He is a Fellow from the London College of Music, has a Licentiate in singing from the Guildhall School of Music and Advance Post-Graduate in Choral Conducting from the Royal Academy of Music (London). In 2013, Nelson was specially elected to receive the Associateship from the Royal Academy of Music for his outstanding achievements in choral music. He currently holds the record in Singapore of garnering an unprecedented 211 gold or distinction awards and 79 champion titles for Singapore. In 2018, Nelson made history when he led the NUS Choir to win the “Choir Of The World” Award (Pavarotti Trophy) at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, the first choir from Singapore to achieve this honour.

In June 1990, the VJC Choir made history in the local music scene by being the first school choir to win an international choir competition at the Welsh Eisteddfod. Nelson was also the first choral scholar to be awarded the prestigious scholarship in 1990 by the Ministry of Education resulting in a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Choral Conducting Studies for the Post-Graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1993, Nelson was honoured with the “Singapore Youth Award”, the highest accolades for youths in Singapore, in recognition of his significant contribution in the field of choral art.

On the international level, Nelson won the prestigious “Outstanding Choral Director Award” two years in a row at the International Choral Competition in Germany, 1998 & 1999 and also the “Best Conductor Award” at the Petr Eben International Choral Competition in 2002 and 2004 in Prague. Between 2006 and 2008, he has led his choirs to 8 Gold Medals including 3 Choir Olympic Champions in the World Choir Games held in Bremen, Germany & Xiamen, China. His choir was also the first Asian choir to win the Grand Prize & Audience Prize at the prestigious Concorso Corale Internazionale held in Riva Del Garda, Italy. In 2008, he was also conferred the “Conductor Prize” in the 10th edition of the internationally-acclaimed choral competition.

In 2012, Nelson was once again presented with his 6th conducting prize in the 28th Franz-Schubert Choir Competition held in Vienna, Austria where he led Victoria Junior College Choir to attain 4 Gold awards and 2 Category Champion prizes. In 2013, he led the National University of Singapore Choir to achieve an unprecedented result of three 1st Prizes in the oldest choral competition in the world, the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod held in Wales, UK. Recently in 2015, he led the Victoria Junior College Choir to 4 Category Champion awards in Hoi An, Vietnam, cementing our nation’s status in the international choral arena. 

Presently, he is the Artistic Director of the “Singapore Choral Festival”, “A Voyage of Songs” and “Asia Cantate”, both are prominent international choral competitions and “Jubilate, Festival of Choirs”.

Nelson is also invited as both clinician and adjudicator in many top international choral festivals and competitions including the World Choir Games Series.

Jessica Fedora Amadea – Indonesia

Jessica Fedora Amadea is the Artistic Director and Choirmaster of 78 Youth Choir, Purwa Caraka Music Studio Choir, PENABUR Children Choir, Tara Salvia School Choir and Svara Prasetiya University Choir.

She has been involved in the choir world since her childhood by joining the Indonesian Children’s and Youth Choir under the baton of Aida Swenson Simanjuntak and performed in a series of performances in Europe, United States, and Singapore. She continued her passion by joining Indonesia’s renowned Batavia Madrigal Singers (Avip Priatna) and National Youth Choir Indonesia (Ivan Yohan). Jessica expands her passion in choir by also studying conducting from Indonesian maestro Budi Utomo Prabowo, and vocal from Indonesian soprano, Aning Katamsi.

Under her direction, her choirs have received numerous titles and accolades such as Category Winner and Grand Prix Champion in various national and international choir competitions in Asia and Europe including awards for Best Conductor, The Most Inspiring Conductor and Best Programme.

In 2017, with Purwa Caraka Music Studio Choir, she was invited by the Distinguished Concerts International New York to perform the world premiere of Alberto Grau’s latest piece at Carnegie Hall, New York under the direction of Maria Guinand. They also sang the Indonesian National Anthem at the Opening Ceremony of 2018 Asian Games Jakarta. Another meaningful achievement was when she received three awards at the Anugerah Musik Indonesia 2018 – Indonesian Music Awards – including for best children’s album for OST Surat Kecil Untuk Tuhan (A small letter to God) and became the first choir to receive such award. In 2019 they also perform Gustav Mahler – Symphony No.3 in D Minor with Jakarta City Philharmonic Orchestra at Jakarta Theatre.

With 78 Youth Choir, Jessica and the group received 5 awards including Best Programme, Winner Category and Gold Medal at The 31st Prague Cantat 2017 and 2 awards for Winner Category and Grand Prix Performance at “Adriatic Pearl” Dubrovnic International Choir Competition 2019. In 2018, received a Special Award from the Indonesian Ministry of Education in recognition for their international achievements.

Jessica is often invited as adjudicator in numerous National & International Choir Competitions as well as guest speaker in Indonesian choir workshops. She is also a Producer at SYNC Productions which has produced numerous virtual choir performances in Indonesia.

Sonia Nadja Simanjuntak – Indonesia

Sonia Nadya Simanjuntak Sonia is one of Indonesia’s most internationally experienced and dedicated choir directors, conductors and choreographers. Her musical journey began in 1992 as a long-standing member of the Indonesian Children and Youth Choir-Cordana, under the mentorship of Aida Swenson Simanjuntak. As one of the choir’s lead singers, she soon became the Assistant Choir Director and helped bring the choir to international recognition with performances including the ACDA Miami (2007), IFCM Copenhagen (2008), Musica Sacra Marktoberdorf (2010), Festival 500 St.John New Foundland (2011), and Polifolia France (2011). Upon earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2004 from The London School of Public Relations, Sonia was awarded a full-ride scholarship from HSBC Jakarta in 2006 to attend the University of Oregon, USA majoring Music and Dance. Sonia’s international experience and education soon earned her status in Indonesia as one of the country’s leading choirs & vocal consultants. As a choral clinician, choreographer, guest conductor, speaker and adjudicator, she helped develop numerous choirs across the various provinces of Indonesia from schools, universities, churches, government groups, and private companies. As a member of the National Foundation for the Development of Choral Music in Indonesia (LPPN), Sonia’s contribution helped establish various choirs and conductors to international standards. Since 2013, Sonia is also appointed as Head of Choir Consultant for Music Education in Biak-Papua. 

Sonia’s Studied her Music and Dance at University of Oregon, USA. Starting her carreer as the Assistant Choir Director for the Indonesian Children & Youth Choir-Cordana with performances including Musica Sacra San JuanArgentina (2012), World Youth Choir Basel-Switzerland (2016), and concerts in the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. (2018). Further, Sonia was honoured with the privilege of conducting the collaborative choir performances of “Podium on The Edge Singing from Sea to Sea” in Newfoundland, Canada (2018) and “World Choral Expo” Lisbon, Portugal (2019). Currently, Sonia is the Conductor-Artistic Director for several choirs across different age groups in Indonesia. Sonia is appointed to be the Head of Choir Consultant for Music Education in Biak-Papua. Sonia is also a Lecturer for Singing Guilds and Voice Performance at Performance Art Communication-London Institute of Business and Communication. Her vision and mission for elevating Indonesian choirs earned the choirs that she led national and international recognition and awards, including Grand Prix Winner, Category Winner, Most Outstanding Performances with Choreography, and others accolades in various International Choir Festivals and Competitions. Sonia herself received international recognition as “Best Inspirational Conductor” at Llangollen Musical Eisteddfod, Wales-UK (2016), “Excellent Conductor” at Bali International Choir Festival (2016). Despite the pandemic in 2020, Sonia continued to appear across several virtual choir productions, performances and events, where she also received “Inspirational Award” at BCS World Virtual Choir Festival (2020), “Outstanding Teacher Award” at World Choir Festival Hong Kong (2021), and “GrandPrix Winner” at 10th Bali International Choir Festival (2021).

Delima Simamora – Indonesia

Delima Simamora, S.PD., M.PD. is a lecturer in the Music Studies Program. She teaches Classical Vocal Major, Contemporary Vocal Major, Chamber Musical Ensemble, Music Teaching Practice for Elementary School, Final Project Writing, Final Project Preparation, Lab. German/French Teaching, and Diction. She obtained a Bachelor in Music Education from IKIP Jakarta, and a Master of Education in Educational Technology from Pelita Harapan University.