Call for Applications- Conducting Masterclass with Orchestra of the Swan, May 20th, 2012

Magicians of the orchestra: revealing the conductor’s art

On Sunday 20 May 2012 the Two Rivers Festival ( will present a special day-long workshop at The Bushell Hall, Birkenhead School working with an ensemble of players from the Orchestra of the Swan directed by Kenneth Woods.


Magicians of the orchestra: revealing the conductor’s art
Lecture, masterclass, concert and live recording session
including a performance of movements from
Brahms Serenade No.1 in D (arr. Boustead)

From 14.00-17.00 members of the public will be able find answers to some intriguing questions. What do orchestral conductors do? Are they wizards with magic wands or overpaid time-keepers? How can we know if they are good, bad or indifferent? What musical techniques must they master? Is success down to personality, skill or both?

In a three-part exploration of the maestro’s craft, principal guest conductor of the Stratford-based Orchestra of the Swan and founder of the Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop in the USA, Kenneth Woods will discuss the work of some of the great conductors of the past in a video-illustrated lecture. Then,  a group of young conductors are put through their paces in a masterclass. Afterwards there will be a chance for several members of the audience to try conducting for themselves. The event will end with a performance of several movements from Brahms’ delightfully lyrical first Serenade. This will be recorded live as part of a commercial CD, offering a fascinating opportunity for the public to glimpse behind the scenes of the professional musical world. Members of the public wishing to attend the session can find booking and other information here.

Two Rivers Festival is seeking to recruit for the day two or three young conductors. Selected candidates will get to conduct excerpts from Brahms’ Serenade op. 11 (in the reconstruction of the original nonet version by Anthony Boustead) which will be played by Orchestra of the Swan in a public masterclass. Successful candidates will also have the chance to observe and assist in the day’s recording sessions for the Somm label.  This is unique opportunity to gain experience working with leading professional orchestral musicians, and to experience first-hand the process of making a commercial CD for an established recording company.

When: Sunday, 20 May 2012, 09:00 – 22:00

Where: The Bushell Hall, Birkenhead School, Wirral CH43 2JD

What: Conduct in a public masterclass directed by Kenneth Woods, observe and assist during a full day of recording sessions for Somm with Orchestra of the Swan

Repertoire: Brahms Serenade op. 11 (arr. Boustead, published by Josef Weinberger)

Costs: All tuition costs for the day are generously underwritten by Two Rivers Festival and Orchestra of the Swan. Participants are responsible for their own travel costs and accommodation.

How to apply: Please submit a short CV and a video of yourself conducting to . Applicants are strongly encouraged to send videos digitally via file-transfer service, or to link to on-line videos on personal websites, YouTube, Vimeo or similar servers. If necessary, DVD’s can be sent to: VFTP, 20 Trevethick Street, Cardiff CF11 6EB

Deadline: 21 February 2012 Applicants will be notified of their status by 21 March 2012

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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1 comment on “Call for Applications- Conducting Masterclass with Orchestra of the Swan, May 20th, 2012”

  1. Bryan-Kirk Reinhardt

    Very cool Ken! Best of luck to all applicant arm wavers – you’ll learn from the best!

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