Sidrit Tushe conducting St. Michel Strings

This January I again had some wonderful time with my students during the already traditional St. Michel Strings winter masterclass. Because of the Finnish holidays the timing was a bit unusual with the final concert on Saturday afternoon instead of our usual Thursday evening, but since we made it a free concert we nevertheless had a lot of audience enjoying the fruits of our hard work during the week.

Andreas Helling playing Elgar, Alex Yu conducts (and Mark Edwards on timpani!)

The two focal points of my masterclass are always conducting technique and natural interaction with the orchestra, but this time we had a third interesting point to consider - accompaniments. Two of our participants had agreed to perform as soloists in the final concert, so everyone could try their hand on the challenging task of accompanying a soloist.

Alex Yu and the Weber Clarinet Quintet, Mark Edwards conducts

During the masterclass week we have the normal 4-hour orchestra rehearsal every morning plus evening sessions where we focus mostly on conducting technique, but on top of those we usually have lunch and dinner together without interrupting the discussions on music and conducting. This time of the year Mikkeli offers very few distractions, so this is a good chance to really concentrate improving your understanding of the complicated task of conducting an orchestra.

Andreas Helling and Andante Festivo

My next masterclass will take place in the end of May in Estonia, and I am already taking applications for that. I am also planning one in the US and maybe one masterclass in Asia as well - the info will be posted on my masterclass website when these plans are a bit more concrete. But the Mikkeli winter masterclass will happen again next January, that's for sure!