AMAT Lab announces the Jury of the Lilia Bloom Award 2024 - AMAT Lab

AMAT Lab announces the Jury of the Lilia Bloom Award 2024


AMAT Lab announces the Jury of the Lilia Bloom Award, the International Songwriting Competition aimed at all composers and arrangers who wish to engage in writing for a cappella voices, a characteristic of our Unconventional Singers.

James Williams

The Competition will have a remarkably special Jury President: James Williams.
He has been Managing Director of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) since 2016.

Notable achievements include the appointment of Vasily Petrenko as the RPO’s next Music Director (starting 2021), a new partnership between the RPO and the Royal Albert Hall, and overseeing an international touring schedule that has involved the RPO performing across the world, including major tours of Asia, Europe and the USA.

In 2018, the RPO was named by a leading classical music website as the world’s busiest orchestra and in 2018/19 Season played to a live audience of over 500,000. Prior to this, James worked for 8 years at the Philharmonia Orchestra responsible for the Orchestra’s UK concert and commercial programmes working with conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lorin Mazel and Valdimir Ashkenazy.

Additionally, James led several major audience development and digital programmes including iOrchestra, a virtual orchestra project which introduced orchestral music to over 200,000 people in the South West of England. Other roles have included 5 years working at the Royal Northern College of Music as Programming Manager and a period running a regional branch of Yehudi Menuhin inspiring music education programme Live Music Now!

In September 2024, James will assume the position of Director of the Royal College of Music in London.

Florin Estefan

We are proud to announce that we have a new exceptional member of the Jury: Florin Estefan. He’s a baritone and the General Manager of the Romanian National Opera in Cluj-Napoca.
In 2016, Mr. Estefan received notable recognition by being awarded the title of “Best Soloist of the Year” at the National Opera in Bucharest during the National Operas Gala, for his portrayal of Eugene Onegin in the Cluj-Napoca Romanian National Opera production.

From 2014 to the present, Florin Estefan has been pursuing a PhD in management at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. Two years after obtaining his Doctor of Music title, starting in October 2018, baritone Florin Estefan assumed the position of Associate Professor Doctor at the prestigious Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca.

Florin Estefan has also won numerous competitions and performed on various stages both in Romania and abroad.

As the General Manager of the Romanian National Opera in Cluj-Napoca, Florin Estefan successfully increased youth participation in the institution’s performances, reaching a 72% attendance rate, through numerous premieres and special concerts, engaging the audience in new ways, and offering programs and projects for all, even in unconventional spaces with free access, such as Opera Aperta International Festival.

Unconventional Singers

The Unconventional Singers, Amat’s international group, is the a cappella group that will perform the finalists’ songs of the competition.

The group was founded in 2020, at the pick of the COVID-19 pandemic after a successful performance in Florence.
Six friends and colleagues, opera singers and/or composers, have decided to officially become a professional and sustainable group: Costanza Renai, Francesca Lazzeroni, Keren Or Davidovitch, Claudio Giovani, Matteo Tavini, and Dielli Hoxha. They perform mainly a cappella repertoire and are versatile, amalgamated, covering all vocal ranges and styles, true artists in their hearts and souls. Together with Concetta Anastasi, the group’s director, composer, and arranger, the singers are working on bringing opera singing outside of the classical point of view, opening up to versatile styles and periods. They interpret all kinds of repertoire with a contemporary key: they perform renaissance music, opera, musicals, operetta, pop, rock, and film soundtrack.

Thanks to the encounter with Lilia and Barry Bloom in 2021, the group began to perform successfully every year in New York at Lincoln Center and in other locations, continuing its mission of carrying Italian singing around the world.

Discover more about Lilia Bloom Award 2024: