Conductor and Artistic Director
Giovanni is currently the chairman of the 13th World Symposium on Choral Music 2023 in Qatar, after leading the successful bid campaign to host the event.
He is the conductor of the Qatar Concert Choir, the Qatar Youth Orchestra (which he co-founded), the Doha Baroque Ensemble and the Cinemoon Ensemble, the latter two both being members of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO). At the same time he has been QPO’s Principal Viola since 2014, after holding successfully the same position in some of the finest orchestras in the world across four continents.
The reputation gained by the choir under Giovanni’s direction makes it the obvious choice for the QPO when it comes to choral works to be performed in Doha. In August 2018 the choir travelled outside Qatar for the first time to perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in Malaga, Spain. In March 2020 they shared QPO’s stage singing Faure’s Pavane and Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé under the prestigious direction of Gianluigi Gelmetti.
In December 2018 Giovanni made his international debut conducting the QPO during its China tour, and such opportunities have continued in the following seasons, making him the conductor of choice of his own orchestra for local productions.
An alumnus of Symphony Australia, the leading conductor-training program in the country, he later received his master degree in conducting at the Katarina Gurska Foundation in Madrid under the mentorship of renowned conductor and pedagogue George Pehlivanian. During his studies, he built his repertoire conducting various orchestras across the globe, including the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia, Sydney Sinfonia, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic and Cairo Symphony Orchestra.
Irish born, Alena has studied and been involved in music all her life and is passionate about music education especially for children. She read music at Trinity College Dublin, is a qualified piano teacher and also studied the Irish harp for a while. Alena is also founder and conductor of Qatar Youth and Junior Choir and has completed many choral conducting courses.
Rawan Shayboub Mahfoud
Rawan is Lebanese and has been living in Qatar since 2010. Her background is in public health and research. She developed a love for choir singing since she was in school, joined her university choir and sang with several other choirs in Lebanon and Qatar, until joining Qatar Concert Choir in 2015.
Jennifer Taynen hails from Canada where she studied voice, piano, and music theory, through the Royal Conservatory of Music. She has been singing in audition choirs since the age of eight and has amassed a portfolio of choral and solo singing experience that includes regional and national level competitions and spans three continents. Jennifer is the Co-Director of the Qatar National Choral Association, Head of the Administrative Committee for the Qatar 2023 WSCM, founding member of the Doha Chamber Choir, and has been the Secretary of the Qatar Concert Choir since 2015. She has been a resident of Doha, Qatar since 2013.
Marie Madeleine Reis
Born and grown in Belgium, Marie Madeleine has spent many years in foreign countries where she always has been singing. In Qatar since 2013, she is taking care of children with language and learning or behavior problems. Marie Madeleine joined QCC in 2013.
Claire Martin-Mayeur is French and has been living in Doha since 2004. She graduated in the Ecole Nationale de Musique de Paris and the Centre de Recherche et d’Etudes pianistiques, Paris. She is a pianist and mainly an accompanist in various fields: with vocalists and instrumentalists, ballet dancers, music exams and competitions and within theatre plays. She is a piano teacher as well and sometimes a vocal coach. She has a strong interest in everything related to languages (including music!) and how to look for autonomy along with physical and mental awareness and wellness. Her motto as an educator could be: Teaching is feeding the minds, comforting the hearts and instill dreams with perseverance and joy.
Vaida comes from Lithuania and has lived in Qatar since 2015. An economist by profession, she discovered her passion for choral singing since her involvement in a music school at early age, she also plays accordion. Vaida has been singing in a youth choir after her graduation and joined Qatar Concert Choir in 2019.
Béatrice is Belgian and has lived in Qatar from 2005 to 2020. She is a freelance web designer. Béatrice has considerable experience in choral singing, both in Belgium and in Qatar. She has been a member of the Qatar Concert Choir and of the Doha Chamber Choir.
Katrin Meingast studied cello from 1994 to 1999 with Prof. Peter Buck of the Melos Quartet at the State University of Music & Performing Arts in Stuttgart. In addition, she studied at both Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in the United States and at the University of Music & Theatre, Leipzig where she focused on baroque cello.
Katrin teaches and plays in chamber groups and orchestras – but her passion is Baroque. She lived in Doha from 2010 to 2016 where she founded the Qatar Concert Choir, co-founded the Doha Baroque Ensemble and started both the German Music Project and the ‘Baroque in Qatar’ concert series. She has now returned to her native Germany but her legacy lives on, to the benefit of the whole cultural community in Qatar.