Meet the Judges

Here are the Judges of the Vocal Group and Choir Competitions at AAVF 2019

Head Judge: Jonathan Minkoff

In both the Vocal Group and the Choir Competition

Jonathan Minkoff is the Founder of SingStrong a US public charity producing international a cappella festivals in New York, DC and Chicago since 2009. SingStrong helped raise over $100,000 to fight Alzheimer’s Disease. Since 2005, Minkoff has toured the world with Broadway Records recording artists, Blue Jupiter. He holds a Bachelors in Music Education from Northwestern University, a certificate in voice from the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and a JD from Boston University School of Law. Minkoff was a three-term CASA President and winner of the Chicago Harmony Sweepstakes. He also won the Chicago & National Sweeps’ Original Composition and Arrangement Awards, shared a “WAMMY” nomination for “Best Album”, a CARA nomination for “Best Jazz Album” “Best Pop Album” and a WAMMY win for “Best A cappella Album”. He has over 350 published a cappella reviews at RARB.org and his articles at ACAPPELLA101.com have thousands of views.

Choir Competition

Malene Rigtrup
Bertrand Grõger

Malene Rigtrup

Vocal arranger, conductor, singer and singing teacher.

Malene teaches choir-conducting and vocal-arranging on The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and is one of the main-teachers of RAMA Vocal Center in Aalborg. On The Music School of Aarhus, she teaches solo-singing and is the conductor of the elite girls-choir Maestra (aged 15-25 years old). Together with Morten Kjær and Ørehænger she has published many books and sheet music about modern vocal music. Malene has done vocal arrangements and workshops for several choir and vocal groups all over Europe. For 11 years she was a singer, arranger and co-conductor of Vocal Line. Malene released in 2012 the EP “Not Later Love” with her own songs.
www.malenerigtrup.dk. www.orehanger.dk www.maestra.dk

Bertrand Gröger

Founder and director of the multiple award-winning "Jazzchor Freiburg"

Bertrand Gröger is best known as the founder and director of the multiple award-winning “Jazzchor Freiburg” (Germany), with which he has undertaken tours in 15 countries across Asia and Europe. He has worked closely with Bobby McFerrin, Roger Treece, Kirby Shaw, the Swingles, Torun Eriksen, the Bamberg Symphony and the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Since 2004, he has been conducting the “Chor Zug“ (Switzerland), which he lead to three first prizes at the international choir competition in Riva del Garda (Italy) in 2013.

Additionally, he leads the choir at the University of Popular Music in Mannheim, is internationally sought-after for his skills as a workshop leader and as a juror by choral competitions. He is also famous for authoring literature on various musical subjects. His “Loop Songs“, published by Schott Music, have received worldwide acclaim.

Vocal Group Competition

Morten Kjær
Christine Liu

Morten Kjær

Singer, songwriter, producer, and music educator

Morten Kjær is a Danish singer, songwriter, producer, and music educator. He is a former member of the internationally acclaimed a cappella groups Basix and M-Pact and a well-known arranger/conductor on the European vocal scene where he does workshops and releases books and sheet music.
Morten records and tours both solo and with his Hollywood-based soulful pop trio, Ebb & Flow, and has been involved in numerous theater projects; most recently with the It Gets Better Tour (USA), “Sad i parken – en hyldest til Rugsted & Kreutzfeldt” (DK) and Østre Gasværk Theater’s big anniversary show, “Gas Galla” . In 2017, he was nominated as “Entertainer of the Year” by CPH Culture in his home country.

Christine Liu

A cappella musician, Composer and Church organist

Christine Liu is an a cappella musician and church organist. She is focusing on composing, arranging, singing, playing and teaching in her home country Taiwan. Having lived in Asia, the United States and Europe, she is now back in her hometown Taipei aiming to bring traditional Chinese music and Taiwanese aboriginal music into the world of a cappella. She currently is the Artistic Director of Voco Novo and Vocal Asia Festival, as well as the principal organist of the Holy Family Catholic Church. She directs multiple vocal ensembles, such as Tabor Youth Choir and Vox Kaliva.