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2023 Jury & Guest Conductors

Don James - Canada
Head of Jury

Don JamesDon James, CM settled in Powell River after graduating in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Washington in the early 1970s. He has enjoyed a successful career as a conductor, music educator and musical entrepreneur. He is the Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus, Powell River Academy of Music, International Choral Kathaumixw and Symphony & Opera Academy of the Pacific and is President of the Board of Directors of the Powell River Academy of Music.

A mentor and an inspiration to a countless number of his students and colleagues, Mr. James’ influence in creating connections between musicians cannot be overstated; he has reached out to the global music community throughout his career. He has served as president of the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors, the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools and, for a decade, was Canada’s representative on the Board of Directors of the International Federation for Choral Music and as a member of the Music Council of the World Choir Games. Mr. James is the recipient of the Willan Award and Canada’s highest honour, the Order of Canada, in recognition of his distinguished service to music.


Fred Sjöberg - Sweden
Guest Conductor

FredSwedish conductor Fred Sjöberg is a gifted musician in a wide variety of genres and styles. He is conductor of the Örebro Chamber Choir. In addition Fred has conducted the World Youth Choir, the World Chamber Choir and the European Youth Choir and benne the head conductor for the French National Youth Choir. Fred appears frequently as a tenor soloist and was a member of the famous Eric Ericson Chamber Choir for many years. In 2000, Fred was awarded "Conductor of the Year" in Sweden. Mr. Sjöberg has been Vice President of Europa Cantat, President of the Music Commission of Europa Cantat and since 2001, as well as Secretary of the Eric Ericson Foundation. Fred Sjöberg is now the Artistic Director of InterKultur.

Gunnel Sjöberg - Sweden

GunnelGunnel Sjöberg received her training as a singing teacher from the School of Music at the University of Orebro. She has also studied at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm. Ms. Sjöberg is a frequent soloist in such works as the St. John Passion, the St Matthew Passion and the Christmas Oratorio of Bach and the Requiems of Mozart and Fauré. She has also appeared in several TV shows and concerts. 

Ms. Sjöberg performs a wide range of repertoire; however, baroque music is closest to her heart. Ms. Sjöberg has worked with such renowned conductors as Eric Ericson, Robert Sund, Helmuth Rilling and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. She has been vocal coach for the French National Youth Choir. Gunnel is now acting as vocal and choir pedagogue at the Music School in Örebro as well as church musician in Örebro.





Mark Anthony A. Carpio - Philippines
Adult Common Song Director

Mark Anthony Carpio is recognized as one of the most respected choral experts today. As the second choirmaster of the acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers, selected in 2001 to succeed its founder, National Artist of the Philippines, Andrea O. Veneracion, Mark took the already much-awarded choir to even greater heights. He led them to win first prizes in the Certámen Internacional de Habaneras y Polifonia (Torrevieja, Spain, 2004) and the Grand Prix in the 35th Florilege Vocal de Tours, France (2006), the 19th European Grand Prix for Choral Singing (Arrezo, Italy, 2007), and in the 64th Concorso Polifonico Guido d’Arezzo (Arezzo, Italy, 2016).

As a noted countertenor, he has performed twice at the Las Piñas Bamboo International Organ Music Festival as an alto soloist, performing Handel’s Jubilate and Te Deum in 2005 and Haydn’s Great Organ Mass in E flat Major in 2009. In November 2008, he made his recital debut at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the CCP Filipino Artist Series.

Mark is a much sought-after choral clinician and coach, frequently giving extensive and in-depth workshops all over the Philippines and around the world. He is also frequently invited as adjudicator in choral competitions and as guest conductor.

He is a faculty member of the Conducting and Choral Ensemble Department of the University of the Philippines College of Music where he earned his master’s degree in Choral Conducting and his bachelor’s degree in Piano. Nurturing young singers is a personal passion for Mark. He also directs the Consortium of Voices, a choral society of young choristers, consisting of the Kilyawan Boys Choir, Kilyawan Male Choir, and the Voces Auroræ Girls Choir.


Elizabeth Núñez - United States of America
Children's Treble Choir Common Song Director

Elizabeth Núñez is the Associate Artistic Director of the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of New York City, founded by YPC Artistic Director Francisco J. Núñez in 1988. She is also a conductor, choral clinician, soloist, and founding artistic director of The SoHarmoniums Women’s Choir. At YPC, an organization renowned for its diversity and supreme level of artistic excellence, she created and directs the acclaimed the Cantare chorus and serves as vocal coach for choristers in all six YPC divisions, ranging in age from 8 to 18, in rehearsals, performances, and for international tours to countries on four continents.

In addition, she is the director of the YPC School Choruses program, which every year brings YPC’s unique music education program to more than 1,100 children in New York City public schools. In 2014, Elizabeth created WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow, a mentoring initiative bringing YPC’s high school girls together with its alumnae and women across varying professions.

Elizabeth conducts at venues large and small throughout New York City, from Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center to Le Poisson Rouge and the Metropolitan Museum, as well as on national television, most recently on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. As the artistic director of SoHarmoniums, an intergenerational chorus of women from ages 20 to 80, Elizabeth conducts the ensemble in repertoire ranging from traditional classical to folk music and works by contemporary composers in such New York City venues as Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Music Education at Lee University and a Master of Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Choral Music Experience artistic faculty at Ithaca College. was born in the UK and trained at the Royal College of Music, London, winning two prizes for organ performance. Further studies at UBC with organist Hugh MacLean followed his emigration to Canada. He has held several important church positions in Canada, including St. George’s Cathedral, Kingston, Ontario. he has held two important posts in the USA – most recently at St. Michael’s Church, Charleston SC.


Jim Sparks - Canada
Jim Sparks

Dr. Jim Sparks is a teacher, conductor, and researcher from Vancouver, Canada.  His recent positions include interim Director of Choral Activities at Boston University, adjunct Professor of Conducting at the University of British Columbia School of Music, and Lecturer in Music Education at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia.  He is senior advisor for choral music for Music Mentors International and former teacher of vocal, choral, and ensemble music at the renowned Langley Fine Arts School (LFAS) in Langley, British Columbia for two decades.  Jim has been chorus director for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem, Faure’s Requiem, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Ryan’s Requiem for a Generation, and William Walton’s Henry the Fifth with the Vancouver Symphony and Maestro Bramwell Tovey.  His recent choral season at Boston University featured performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, Poulenc’s Gloria, Holst’s Planets at Boston Symphony Hall, and a collaborative residency with renowned Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds.Jim is the recipient of the Professional Music Educator Award from the British Columbia Music Educators Association and the Healey Willan Award from the BC Choral Federation.  For his research into Cross-Cultural singing, he received the Simon Fraser University President’s PhD Award in 2014. 

In his roles as researcher, conductor, and educator, Jim connects active research with music learning, performance, and conducting. With support from the Canada Council, the Canadian Music Educators Association, the AIRS collaborative initiative, and Simon Fraser University, he has been a guest conductor and researcher in singing with four renowned international conductors: Alina Orraca in Havana, Cuba (Schola Cantorum Coralina); Joseph Muyale Inzai in Nairobi, Kenya (National Boys and Girls Choir of Kenya); Anatoliy Avdievski in Kiev, Ukraine (Veriovka Choir); and Helle Høyer in Aarhus, Denmark (Aarhus Pigakor Choir).  

In addition, Jim has taught choral and orchestral conducting at the undergraduate and graduate level to students in Canada, the United States, and Brazil. He has enjoyed conducting residencies in Sobral, Brazil; Charente-Maritime, France; and Havana, Cuba, and has given presentations on his singing research in Canada, Kenya, Denmark, Estonia, France, and Brazil. He is on the panel of international adjudicators for the International Choral Kathaumixw in Canada, and continues to be in demand as an adjudicator, lecturer, guest conductor, and music consultant throughout Canada and abroad.