Performance Practice for Conductors


This is an opportunity for conductors to learn meaningful ways to communicate with string players about performance practice.  This is not a conducting seminar.  It is instead a chance for conductors to learn about the techniques and tools of expression string players use to play in 17th- and 18th-century styles. EMMI explores bowing techniques and fundamental concepts relevant to all instruments, such as phrasing, articulation, and concepts of grammar and rhetoric. Condutors will have the opportunity to attend all sessions and both observe and participate in a variety of ways. 

  • Observe an introductory baroque techniques class. (Any conductors who are also string players are invited to bring their instruments and participate in this class.)
  • Participate in dance classes and learn the basic step patterns and their relationship to instrumental baroque dance forms.
  • Observe all chamber orchestra rehearsals of professional players as they learn the vocabulary of performance practice.  Conductors are invited to ask questions and join any discussions as they arise.
  • Work with a string quartet on a baroque piece of their own choosing.  This piece need not be only for strings, but must work without wind and percussion parts.  Examples of pieces could include: sections from Handel's Messiah, dance movements from French baroque operas, movements from Bach Orchestral, Suites, String Symphonies etc.  Selections should be approximately 10 to 15 minutes in length and must be approved. If needed, EMMI faculty can provide suggestions.  Sessions with the string quartet will take place during the chamber music classes listed on the schedule.  There will be an initial reading of the repertoire, time alone with the quartet (which will play for each conductor) interspersed with coaching sessions, and presentation in the final in-house performance.
The aim of Performance Practice for Conductors is both to give conductors real insight into the process of applying baroque performance practices to modern string instruments, as well as to provide an opportunity for reciprocal discussion between string players and conductors.

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