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Finding the right expression with Dominique Røyem

In the end of May I took the plane to Texas for the first time in my life, to teach at the first East Texas International Conducting Masterclass. The masterclass took place at the East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, and was organized by my colleague Mark Crim who took part in my masterclass during the Gergiev Festival Mikkeli last summer.

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At the technique session with Barry Morrison

For my masterclasses I use pretty much the same template always, with technique sessions at the piano combined with working with a real orchestra. In addition Mark had invited a couple of interesting guest speakers - composer/violinist/conductor Kermit Poling from South Arkansas Symphony, and music director Marc-André Bougie from Texarkana Symphony. In addition we could work with saxophone soloist Sesha Wallace on the Glazunov concerto. We also had the beautiful Tchaikovsky Serenade in C in the program, as well as Arensky Variations and two pieces, Romance and Impromptu by Jean Sibelius.

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With my students after Qigong - missing just Ross Gordon (behind the camera)

We were also in for a special treat in form of a Qigong session every morning, instructed by Theresa McGee. This proved to be a very valuable experience for everyone, and it very much supported my idea of a relaxed, controlled and rounded conducting gestures that I was propagating to my students. We finished the masterclass with a lovely concert at the Baker auditorium, and we even got some press during the week. I dare to say that the first East Texas International Conducting Masterclass was a big success, and hopefully we will repeat it sometime in the near future.