Eastman Masterclass to Give Aspiring Conductors an Opportunity to Enhance Their Skills

July 20, 2017

Eastman Masterclass to Give Aspiring Conductors an Opportunity to Enhance Their Skills

Up-and-coming orchestral conductors will have an opportunity to sharpen their skills at the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music during a conducting masterclass on Friday, October 20, and Saturday, October 21. Professor of Conducting and Ensembles Neil Varon will lead the program, which will give six experienced pre-professional conductors the chance to conduct the Eastman Philharmonia, the school’s premiere orchestra.

“The masterclass fulfills a need among young conductors who strive every day to better their craft,” said Varon. “They can only do so in front of a seasoned orchestra that is very familiar with the repertoire to be taught.” 

The participants will work with the Eastman Philharmonia playing Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, with each conductor having a total of 40 minutes of podium time. In addition, the conductors will meet with Professor Varon before leading the orchestra to discuss the work in order to improve their individual performances. A follow-up assessment session will complete the two day event.

Varon, whose conducting career spans 40 years and several continents, joined the Eastman School of Music faculty as Professor of Conducting and Ensembles in 2002. Born in New York in 1950, he studied piano, composition, and orchestral conducting at The Juilliard School. His teachers included Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood and Herbert von Karajan at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.  

Varon was the first Kapellmeister of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf and served as the music director of the Südwestfälische Philharmonic and the City of Gelsenkirchen, Germany. As a guest conductor, he has conducted at the New York City Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Stuttgart State Opera, and Berlin Stattsoper, and continues to conduct throughout Europe and Asia. He directed the German premiere of Un Re in Ascolta by Luciano Berio in Düsseldorf, and the world premiere of Erinys by Volker David Kirchner in Wuppertal. He made his Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra debut in 2011 and is one of the orchestra’s regular conductors.  

Information on applying to the program is available at: https://www.esm.rochester.edu/ensembles/guide/eastman-conductors-masterclass-2017/