My 10th International Conducting Masterclass - Summer in Pärnu
In the beginning of August I returned to Pärnu again, to teach an orchestra conducting masterclass. Hard to believe, but this was already the tenth international workshop that I am teaching! I must admit teaching is something that I really enjoy, and I think all musicians who received good teaching and "made it" in their careers, would do well to share their knowledge and help the next generation. I realize, of course, that not everyone has the pedagogical talent required, but those who do should use it.
This time I had four students who all had plenty of podium time with the excellent Pärnu City Orchestra. Two of the participants were currently studying for their conducting degrees, one is already an established conductor in the United States, and one is a conductor of a children's orchestra in Japan. The repertoire was Prokofiev's symphony No. 1 "Classical", Mozart's violin concerto No. 5 and Mendelssohn's symphony No. 4 "Italian". Our soloist for the Mozart concerto was Triin Ruubel, the concert master of ERSO, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
The template of the masterclass was my usual one - orchestra rehearsals in the mornings, technique sessions in the evenings - and luckily we could again work with two professional pianists so that we had an "orchestra simulator" to try different techniques with. One point on my masterclasses is also spending a lot of time together (for lunches and dinners) to discuss the profession, and we also watched some video clips in the afternoons of great conductors and discussed what we saw.
For our final concert we had some competition, since the city of Pärnu was hosting a huge festival of electronic music. The town was even more full of tourists than usual (Pärnu is a beautiful and popular spa resort), and that sometimes got us in trouble when we tried to find a table for dinner. The concert went well and I was happy to notice how much progress everyone had made during the week. Let's hope we'll have another masterclass in Pärnu next summer!