English Symphony Orchestra
The Elgar Festival
CIAC Conducting Academy
The Edward Elgar Conducting Masterclass
Taking place in Elgar’s birthplace, The Firs, in Worcester, UK, 30-31 May 2023
Zoom Study Day – 6 May 2023
Edward Elgar – Introduction and Allegro for Strings
Michael Berkeley – Meditations
Kenneth Woods – Artistic Director, English Symphony Orchestra. Artistic Director The Elgar Festival. Artistic Director Colorado MahlerFest
Michael Berkeley – Composer, broadcaster, activist and Peer
English String Orchestra
Payable in 2 tranches via the ESO website. Payment instructions will be sent upon acceptance
Submit a CV, cover letter, two recommendations and a video link of your work via the google form here: Apply
DEADLINE – 19 APRIL 2023
Applications are invited for a conducting masterclass focusing on the music of Sir Edward Elgar in his home city of Worcester. Applicants will spend two full days working with the musicians of the English String Orchestra under the guidance of their artistic director, Kenneth Woods. Sessions will take place in Elgar’s Birthplace, The Firs.
The ESO are excited to announce an opening for an Assistant Conductor for a 2-year term from Autumn 2023. Masterclass applications who wish to be considered for the position should indicate this in their cover letter.
These masterclasses represent the beginning of the 2023 Elgar Festival. Participants are invited to attend all rehearsals and performances for the festival, which runs through 4 June.
All sessions will be filmed in hi-res video. Participants are also welcome to bring their own cameras. Video usage is governed by the ESO’s Electronic Press Kit agreement with the Musicians Union which prohibits the public sharing of complete movements and works.
Any further queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About the orchestra
Recognised as the International Orchestra of Elgar Country, the English Symphony Orchestra/English String Orchestra are one of the most admired and influential orchestras in the UK today. With a discography of over 100 recordings, the ESO has a unique track record of championing the work of lesser-known historical British composers alongside one of the most ambitious commissioning portfolios of any orchestra today. The ESO’s 21st C. Symphony Project, a multi-year endeavour to commission, premiere and record nine new symphonies by nine diverse composers, has been hailed by Musical Opinion as “one of the most important musical initiatives of our times.” Long based in Elgar’s home city of Worcester, the ESO serves as the Orchestra-in-Residence of The Elgar Festival. Their recordings of Elgar’s music have been recognised as Classic FM Disc of the Month, and their premiere of Donald Fraser’s orchestration of the Elgar Piano Quintet was chosen by Classical Music Magazine as Premiere of the Year for 2015.
About the faculty
Artistic Director of the ESO since 2015, Kenneth Woods founded the Rose City International Conductors’ Work in Portland in 2004. Alumni of that programme now serve in prestigious positions all over the world. He has given conducting masterclasses and served as an adjudicator at the Royal College of Music, Boston University, University of Wisconsin, Bridgewater Hall, Two Rivers Festival and the Ulster Orchestra among others. In 2017, he became the founding Artistic Director of The Elgar Festival, and he has served as Artistic Director of Colorado MahlerFest, one of only two North American organisations to receive the Gold Medal of the Gustav Mahler Society (the other being the New York Philharmonic).
His discography of over 40 recordings includes the landmark first complete recorded cycle of the symphonies of Hans Gál, the complete symphonies of Robert Schumann, world premiere recordings of symphonies by David Matthews, Philip Sawyers, Adrian Williams, Matthew Taylor, Christopher Gunning and Steve Elcock, and concerti by Emily Doolittle, Deborah Pritchard and Paul Patterson, among many others. Known as one of the most active advocates for the music of composers whose music was suppressed by the Nazis or other 20th C. totalitarian regimes, he has brought lost works by Gál, Schulhoff, Ullmann, Krenek, Kapralova, Bacewicx and Krása to international attention through concerts, recordings and broadcasts. His blog, A view from the Podium, has been one of the most widely read classical blogs in the world since 2005.
Composer Michael Berkeley was born in 1948, the eldest son of the composer Sir Lennox Berkeley and a godson of Benjamin Britten. As a chorister at Westminster Cathedral, singing naturally played an important part in his early education.
He studied composition, singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music but it was not until his late twenties, when he went to study with Richard Rodney Bennett, that Berkeley began to concentrate exclusively on composing. In 1977 he was awarded the Guinness Prize for Composition; two years later he was appointed Associate Composer to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Since then, Michael's music has been played all over the globe and by some of the world's finest musicians. As part of Berkeley's tenure as Composer in Association to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales he was commissioned to write three new works, and the second, the Concerto for Orchestra, was premièred at the 2005 Proms. From 1995 to 2005 Michael was artistic director of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music, where he premiered over a hundred new works and initiated a policy of having a contemporary work in every programme.
In 2013 Michael was appointed a non-party political member of the House of Lords as Lord Berkeley of Knighton, CBE. He speaks as a passionate advocate for the arts, contemporary music and music education as well as taking up specific causes like FGM.
About the Elgar Festival
The Elgar Festival was founded in 2017 by decree of the City of Worcester under the artistic leadership of Kenneth Woods as the official annual celebration the life and music of Britain’s greatest composer in the city of his birth. The inaugural festival was a Critics’ Pick in The Guardian. In 2019, the festival, in partnership with the Elgar Society, gave the official 100th Anniversary performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto with soloist Raphael Wallfisch in Worcester Cathedral, and event that was the subject of a major feature article in the Sunday Telegraph. In 2022, the Elgar Festival’s celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee was chosen by The Guardian as one of the Top 20 Jubilee Events in the UK. In addition to the music of Elgar, the festival champions the works of living composers including Michael Berkeley, David Matthews, Ian Venables and Donald Fraser, music by composers of marginalised backgrounds like William Grant Still, Ethyl Smyth, Ruth Gipps and Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and the work of lesser-known composers such as Harold Truscott.
About the CIAC Conducting Academy
Artistic Director: Jonathan Mann
Founded in 2017 originally as the Cardiff International Academy of Conducting, CIAC Conducting Academy provides opportunities for conductors around the world to participate in live and virtual masterclasses with internationally renowned conducting pedagogues.
CIAC provides a variety of masterclasses to aid conductors development, from those just starting to explore conducting right the way through to conductors working with professional ensembles. The organisation always strives to create a welcoming and supportive learning atmosphere where participants encourage one another.
Live courses take place throughout the UK and recent collaborations have featured the Ulster Orchestra, English Symphony Orchestra, NEW Sinfonia and Ensemble Cambrica.
CIAC Virtual Masterclasses emerged in 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic and a regular programme of events still continues to attract participants from all corners of the globe.