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Technique class with two pianists

This summer I taught my 12th international conducting masterclass, and this was already the 4th time I organised it in the lovely spa town of Pärnu, which is also known as Estonia's "summer capital". I had eight talented students attending this time - some of them returning students from my earlier masterclasses, some of them newcomers.

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Working with the soloist

In Pärnu we have evening sessions with two pianists where we can solve technical problems. We also work with a soloist every time, so that the students will get an idea of the challenges of doing accompaniments. This year we worked again with violinist Lila Watanabe who comes with a long experience playing in some of the best orchestras in the world.

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Orchestra rehearsal with the Pärnu City Orchestra

The Pärnu City Orchestra is an experienced workshop orchestra, and I am always impressed by their positive attitude. I can imagine how tiring it can be to play the same pieces over and over again for different people, but this orchestra is always trying to give their best to the students. Usually we don't spend much time rehearsing, since this masterclass is more about making your technique work. But this time I actually started to think, that maybe it's the right time to dedicate one of my workshops to the questions of rehearsing, since so many good and valid questions popped up during the masterclass week.

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After the concert on the stage of Pärnu concert hall

One of the best things during the masterclass week is to see how well the students get along with each other and make friends. When I went to masterclasses myself I noticed that very often the atmosphere was tense and competitive, and that does nothing to help learning. I try to keep the mood relaxed and positive throughout so that people can learn from each other and support each other during the week. We usually have meals together and continue discussing all the topics around the profession. And one of my masterclass traditions is, that every student needs to propose a toast and practice a bit of their public speaking skills at the same time. Welcome to Pärnu again in 2018!