Jury 2024

Annick Villanueva

Annick Villanueva


Having led a career as a clarinet player and music teacher, the French-born Annick Villanueva now devotes most of her time to orchestral conducting. With a 1st prize for clarinet and chamber music from the Lyons Higher National Conservatoire for Music and a place in the International Contest for wind instruments in Toulon, she took up teaching after obtaining the Certificate of Aptitude as a clarinet teacher. She was also member of the French Police Wind Orchestra and she founded the quartet « Tango and C° » in 2013.  

Having fallen under the spell of conducting at the age of nine she currently conducts the Le Havre City Wind Orchestra. With a strong sense of the importance of youth, Annick also conducts several youth ensembles including a symphony orchestra and in addition runs a conducting class as well as other ensembles at the Arthur Honegger Conservatoire in Le Havre.

Mark Heron

Mark Heron

United Kingdom

Mark Heron is a Scottish conductor noted for dynamic and well-rehearsed performances of an unusually wide repertoire. He appears with orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Manchester Camerata, Psappha and Meiniger Hofkapelle. He is Music Director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and as conducting faculty at the RNCM he regularly works with all the College’s orchestras and ensembles.

Mark has huge expertise in contemporary music and had collaborated with dozens of the greatest living composers. He has recorded more than 20 CDs with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and Manchester Camerata on labels such as Chandos, Naxos, NMC, ASC and Polyphonic.

Alongside his conducting engagements, Mark has an international reputation as a conducting teacher on the RNCM’s world-leading conducting programmes, at the University of Manchester, as a visiting professor to the Royal Air Force, and as a guest at masterclasses all over the world.


Ole Kristian Ruud

Ole Kristian Ruud


After many years performing as a musician, and subsequent conducting studies at the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Sibelius Academy, Ole Kristian Ruud made his conducting debut with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985. He was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of Trondheim Symphony Orchestra from 1987-1995. He was Chief Conductor of Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 1996-1999, and Artistic Director of Norwegian repertoire for Stavanger Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2003. From 2006 to 2012 he was in the post of Artistic Director of the the Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces,

In Scandinavia Ole Kristian Ruud regularly conducts the Oslo- and Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras, Trondheim- and Stavanger Symphony Orchestras, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Swedish Radio, Norrköping Symphony, Lahti Symphony and Stockholm Chamber Orchestras. He has also guested orchestras in France, Spain, England, USA and Japan. He also guested the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and on numerous occasions toured with orchestras in Japan and Europe. Ole Kristian Ruud has made several CD-recordings with Oslo- and Bergen-Philharmonic, Trondheim-, Stavanger- and Norrköping-Symphony Orchestras.

Since 1999 has Ruud has been Professor of Conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music. From 2003 to 2016 Mr. Ruud was Artistic Director of the Norwegian National Youth Orchestra (Ungdomssymfonikerne). He received the Edvard Grieg Prize in 1992 and 2007, the Norwegian Critic Prize in 1993, the Lindeman Prize in 1994, the Johan Halvorsen Prize in 1996 and the Stiklestad Prize in 2004. In 2004, 2005 and 2007 he received the Record of the Year award from the Grieg Society in London along with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jan van den Eijnden (independent chairman)

Jan van den Eijnden (independent chairman)

the Netherlands

Born in Helmond, The Netherlands. He studied Music Education (with Cor de Man) and French Horn (with Herman Jeurissen) in Tilburg.

He played frequently as a horn player in Dutch professional symphony orchestras and ensembles such as the Residentie-Orchestra in The Hague, the Radio Orchestras in Hilversum and several Wind Orchestras. He also played in wind quintet 'Fiati' for many years, with which successful foreign performances took place and radio recordings were made. He also did numerous solo performances, including works by Mozart and Haydn.

He currently works as a cultural education specialist at the LKCA, the National Knowledge Institute for Cultural Education and Amateur Art in Utrecht. As a conductor he is associated with the Sancta Maria Music Association. He is also teacher and coordinator at AMPA  - Academy of Music & Performing Arts at the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg. Formerly he has worked at national level successively at the NIB - National Dutch Institute of Wind Music, Unisono - the National Support Institute for Amateur Music and at Kunstfactor - the National Sector Institute of Amateur Arts.

He acted/will act as independent jury chairman at the WMC - World Music Contest in Kerkrade (2009, 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2022) as well at ECWO - European Championship for Wind Orchestras (2016, 2018, 2022) and at the National Dutch Contest for Youth Symphony Orchestras (2013, 2015, 2018, 2022).


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