Intensive workshop part 1

Location: Verwaltungsscheune | Bürgersaal

Intensive workshop - part 1

In the mornings, the Festival Participants will get to work with a renowned teacher of the vocal world. The participants get to work on this teachers specific take on and approach to a cappella music - a practical crash course and a chance to get to know your teacher and the way they work up close.

Teacher: Merel Martens

Merel Martens

Merel Martens is a fulltime choir leader, arranger, teacher and coach. In May 2015 she received a Master’s degree in ‘Vocal Leadership’ from the Royal Academy of Music (DK), studying with Jim Daus Hjernoe, with the highest possible honors. She is also influenced by colleagues such as Peder Karlsson (ex-Real Group) and Roger Treece (co-writer Vocabularies - Bobby McFerrin). Merel’s name is connected to the award winning vocal groups “Pitch Control”, “MAZE” and “VOÏSZ Vocal Projects” in the Netherlands. In addition, she has been coaching “The Junction”(NL), “Perpetuum Jazzile”(SI), “Vocalocity”(IL) and “The Keystones”(FR). In September 2014 Merel founded the “Dutch Organic Choir”: a group based on rotated leadership and style-free original, partly improvised vocal music. Since November 2015, Merel has initiated ‘Vocal Leadership’ at two Dutch conservatories, educating choir leaders during courses and a master's degree in this fairly new discipline. You can find out more about Merel at


Teacher: Merzi Rajala

Finnish ”rhythmic” choir conducting pioneer, singer, composer and pedagogue MERZI RAJALA (MuM, Vocal Leadership, MuM, Global Music)
Specialises in popular music, including world music genres and fusions, and choral improvisation.
In addition to her own choral work Merzi is the responsible lecturer for Global Choir Leadership / Sibelius Academy, Helsinki.
She loves games, playfulness and she believes in choral music performed with honesty, groove and true energy.


Teacher: Juan Garcia

Juan Garcia

Having been self taught in the past, these days Juan M V Garcia has a degree in jazz voice and music education, having also won all relevant international awards with the pop/jazz vocal quartet “Klangbezirk”. Aside from studying voice and music education, he studied arranging with Prof Ralf Schrabbe, further making his way into the world of written music.
Garcia arrnages for Echo-winning ensembles such as amarcord or Calmus.

Building on his experiences from teaching “Conducting jazz/pop/groove” to future music teachers at the HMT Leipzig, he came up with the ideas of writing “head arrangements” as well as “warm up arrangements”.
Garcia continues to explore the musical world in many diverse roles, a small subset include: vocal coach for the National Jazz Orchestra, music director at various theatres, coach, presenter, author, singer, instrumentalist and producer. For now, this wild ride across disciplines seems to have culminated in a professorship for conducting choirs and ensembles at the HfM “Franz Liszt” in Weimar.

Juan Garcia lives and works in Halle/Saale as a teacher, singer, songwriter, coach, arranger, producer and father.

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