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Ulster Orchestra Prepares for Summer Conducting Masterclass

The Ulster Orchestra is looking forward to welcoming eight up and coming young conductors for a three day Summer Conducting Masterclass with Honorary Principal Guest Conductor Jac van Steen.

The Ulster Orchestra is proud to present their Summer Conducting Masterclass in cooperation with Cardiff International Academy of Conducting, providing a platform for 8 emerging conductors and running from 5 – 8 June 2022 in Belfast.

The Masterclass creates an immersive learning experience for 8 Conductors in the early stages of their careers. Over four days they will participate in a conductors masterclass led by the Ulster Orchestra’s Honorary Principal Guest Conductor Jac Van Steen and Kenneth Woods, Artistic Director of the English Symphony Orchestra.

Three full days of good work on pieces by Schumann, Mahler and David Matthews will be a great opportunity for all to discover the future generation of conductors and hopefully we will hear and see more of them in concert halls and opera houses. The more we can provide these podiums, the better conductors we will get in front of our orchestra. Jac van Steen

Mentoring and investing in the next generation of musical talent is something the Orchestra takes seriously at all stages of a musician's career and we are passionate about bringing more opportunities like this to Northern Ireland. This is an opportunity to invest in the careers of 8 talented conductors and more than that; it is also an opportunity for the Orchestra to develop relationships with these conductors that will benefit the arts sector for years to come.

Developing skills and techniques to build their repertoire and confidence, participants will work on Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (featuring Northern Irish mezzo soprano Sarah Richmond), David Matthews's Symphony No. 9 and Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 4.

Alongside his activities as a conductor, Jac van Steen is dedicated to teaching and is Professor of Conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, where he has developed the National Masters for Orchestral Conducting (NMO), giving young conductors the chance to work with the best Dutch orchestras.

Next to making music with the finest orchestras in Europe both in symphonic as well as operatic repertoire almost every week, teaching young conducting talents has become a substantial part of my life. Virtual masterclasses via Zoom and working with the youngsters in a room with 2 pianists playing transcriptions of the repertoire has proven to be very helpful developing their talents. In order to make music with a good professional orchestra, standing in front of experienced musicians giving their best, is the absolute best way to learn a good metier. Jac van Steen

Tom Fetherstonhaugh, a British conductor and organist participated in the previous conducting masterclass:

Last summer's conducting masterclass with Jac van Steen and the Ulster Orchestra was an extraordinary opportunity for a conductor in the early stages of their career. The combination of intensive preparation sessions and mentoring with Jac van Steen and the day of workshops with the Ulster Orchestra was a very powerful one. I gained big insights into the chosen repertoire, conducting technique, and  rehearsal planning/delivery; to have the chance to work on these aspects of conducting first with a pianist and then with a symphony orchestra was a fantastic, rewarding, and fast-paced way to learn. I came away from the course not only inspired, but also with a wealth of knowledge and experience which I have been using in every conducting engagement I have had since.

2022 Conducting Masterclass participants come from the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the Netherlands. They are: Matthew Lynch, Kay Salomon, Karen Ní Bhroin, Simon Robertshaw, Chris Clark, Oi-Ching Chan, Paul McCusker and Martijn Pepels.


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