Conducting Summer Program

Immerse yourself in a fully practical conducting experience tailored for musicians eager to develop their conducting skills. Join a community of like-minded individuals and work closely with experienced conductors, gaining hands-on experience with live orchestras to refine your technique and elevate your artistry.

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Sharpen Your Conducting Skills

From August 4th to August 22nd, 2024, participants will gather in Vratsa, Bulgaria.

This three-week conducting summer program is designed for musicians who are interested in developing their conducting skills. The fully immersive program offers participants a unique opportunity to hone their skills in a professional setting. During the program, participants will work closely with experienced conductors and receive personalized instruction and feedback.

The Summer Program Package

Conduct & Record in Varied Settings for Invaluable Experience

One of the unique features of this program is the chance to conduct and record in a mobile studio environment, which provides an opportunity to experience the challenges of conducting in a variety of settings. Additionally, participants will have access to a professionally recorded performance environment where they can put their skills to the test and gain invaluable experience. The program is open to conducting students of all backgrounds, from intermediate to advanced levels of experience.

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Days in the Balkan Mountains
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International conducting faculty
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Hours of podium time
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Conducting participants
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Final concerts in 2 cities

Conduct a Concert with the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra

Multicam HD video recorded for your professional conducting portfolio. Daily rehearsals with two pianos, full orchestra and soloists leading up to a series of concerts spread around various cities in Bulgaria.

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Accommodation at the Hemus Hotel

Included in your tuition fee. Hemus Spa Hotel is located in the center of Vratsa, on the central square of Hristo Botev. Close to the historical landmarks of the city, the shopping area and administrative institutions. The Hemus Hotel has an indoor pool with a jacuzzi, 2 saunas, 2 aroma steam baths and much more.

2024 Programme Timeline 

19-Day Hands-On Program with Rehearsals, Performances & Video

Featuring a 19-day comprehensive, fully hands-on, practical instructional program delivered by the faculty of The Conducting Institute. Podium time with two pianos, string ensemble and full orchestra. 7 hours of regular classes & rehearsals, 30 minutes of dress rehearsals, and 30 minutes of performance time. Rehearsals at the Vratsa Municipal Philharmonic Hall, the Vratsa Theatre, and in Kozloduy, Bulgaria. All sessions are also multi-cam HD video recorded so conductors can make a beautiful portfolio video of their orchestral conducting in rehearsal and performance.

August 3

Arrival Day and Check-in

August 4-8

Two Pianos Conducting Classes

One-on-one lessons with our faculty. Group masterclasses on each of the conductor's assigned works. Practise time in the evenings.

August 9

Free Day / Practise Day

August 10-15

Full Orchestra Conducting Classes

Group masterclasses on each of the conductor's assigned works. Practise time in the evenings.

August 16

Free Day / Practise Day

August 17-18

Orchestral Rehearsals

August 19-22

Dress Rehearsals / Concert Performances

August 23

Departure Day and Check-out

2024 Programme Timeline 

20-Day Hands-On Program with Rehearsals, Performances & Video

Featuring a 20-day comprehensive, fully hands-on, practical instructional program delivered by the faculty of the European Academy of Fine Arts. Podium time with two pianos, string ensemble and full orchestra (7 hours of regular classes/ rehearsals. 30 minutes (dress rehearsals) and 30 minutes (performance). Rehearsals at Municipal Philharmonic Hall, Vratsa and Vratsa Theatre, Vratsa. All sessions are also multi-cam HD video recorded so conductors can make a beautiful portfolio video of their orchestral conducting in rehearsal and performance.

August 3

Arrival Day and Check-in

August 4-8

Two Pianos Conducting Classes
One-on-one lessons with our faculty. Group masterclasses on each of the conductor's assigned works. Practise time in the evenings.

August 9

Free Day / Practise Day

August 10-15

Full Orchestra Conducting Classes
Group masterclasses on each of the conductor's assigned works. Practise time in the evenings.

August 16

Free Day / Practise Day

August 17-18

Orchestral Rehearsals

August 19-22

Dress Rehearsals / Concert Performances

August 23

Departure Day and Check-out

Study with Experienced Conducting Faculty 

Our conducting faculty boasts extensive professional experience and a history of high profile international performances, integrating their expertise into their teaching methods. With a wealth of educational background, they combine practical insights with pedagogical excellence, fostering a dynamic and comprehensive learning environment.

Malcolm Headshot

Malcolm Yuen

Programme Director

Music Director of the Irish Chamber Ensemble and Juror Wiener Musikseminar

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Christo Pavlov

Conducting Faculty

Music Director of the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra

Derek Gleeson conducting at Sofia session studio_great shot-1-1-1

Derek Gleeson

Conducting Faculty

Music Director of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra

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Niki Petrov

Conducting Faculty

Bulgarian Studio and Classical Conductor, Orchestrator, Score Supervisor and Classical Percussionist

2024 Selected Repertoire

Conduct a concert featuring repertoire by Brahms, Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Sarasate and more. Your podium time will be recorded via multi-cam HD video for your orchestral conducting portfolio.

  • Brahms (conducting)
  • Beethoven (conducting)
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  • 9
  • 4
  • 6
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  • Schubert 1 and 2
  • 10
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What Our Conducting Graduates Say

Joshua Rodriguez (2023) United States
"This program will improve the conducting of those who accept they have room to grow and keep an open mind."
"This program will improve the conducting of those who accept they have room to grow and keep an open mind."
 
 
Joshua Rodriguez (2023) United States
Mila Jakas
"The best team of people I could imagine to spend the summer with! A fantastic place for each musician to develop conducting skills and expand musical ideas. Thank you all for the incredible life experience!"
"The best team of people I could imagine to spend the summer with! A fantastic place for each musician to develop conducting skills and expand musical ideas. Thank you all for the incredible life experience!"
 
Petromila Jakas (2023) Croatia
Abhulimen Ohiku (2023) Nigeria
"A truly memorable summer experience!"
"A truly memorable summer experience!"
 
Abhulimen Ohiku (2023) Nigeria
Alex Deng (2023) United States

"I need to do the MFA now!"

"I need to do the MFA now!"

Alex Deng (2023)United States

Admissions Open

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Spot remaining

All-Inclusive Tuition:
  • 20 nights at the Hemus Spa Hotel
    including breakfast & WiFI
  • 7 hours of podium time
    with professional opera soloists, pianists and the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra, daily guidance (podium and 1-on-1) from 4 international conducting faculty
  • Participation in one of the four final concerts
    with the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra various Bulgarian cities, video and audio recorded for your portfolio
  • 6 University credits
    conferred upon completion
Active Participant All-Inclusive
 €6,900

Interested in more information?

Submit the form below to receive personalised answers to your questions and additional information about the Conducting Summer Program.

Additional Information: Conducting Summer Program

Financial Terms and Conditions

All payments are subject to the following terms and conditions:

A €500 deposit is required and non-refundable. The €500 deposit to enroll is subtracted from the total tuition amount of the enrolling conductor.

Tuition is fully refundable if the conductor cancels prior to May 1, 2024.

If a conductor cancels, for any reason, on or after May 1, 2024 (GMT+2), the tuition is non-refundable.

Remaining tuition amounts from enrolled conductors are due before May 1, 2024. The Conducting Summer Program reserves the right to cancel any conductor's participation if the tuition is not paid in full prior to this date. In this event, tuition paid up until this date will be refunded, less the non-refundable deposit.

The conductors will be accommodated on a single room basis. Conductors wishing to share with a spouse need to notify the staff of the Conducting Summer Program in advance in order that appropriate arrangements can be made. A small additional fee may be incurred for a double room.

Tuition covers the conductor’s hotel stay for a check-in on August 3, 2024 and a check-out on August 23, 2024. If the conductor needs additional nights in the hotel before or after the program, they can arrange this in advance with the staff of the Conducting Summer Program and pay at the hotel desk.

*Please note that there is no airport in Vratsa, and that all flight tickets should be booked in and out of the airport in Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF).

 

Participation Terms and Conditions

All payments are subject to the following Participation Terms and Conditions:

The Conducting Summer Program reserves the right to cancel any conductor's participation if it is deemed that the conductor does not meet the following requirements.

  1. The Conducting Summer Program is aimed for Intermediate Conductors who have some basic experience in conducting ensembles. If you can't read music, unfortunately you'll not be successful on the Conducting Summer Program, as this is a foundation all conductors must have in order to conduct music for our ensembles.

  2. Basic prerequisites should include practical knowledge of the following beat patterns: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 1, 6/8, 9/8, 5/4

  3. Conductors should prepare works with relevant cues marked, and formulated musical structure suitable to facilitate practical learning of each score.

  4. Scores are to be purchased OR at the very least, comb bound (if copies are used). No iPads are to be used in conducting sessions.

  5. Conductors should bring a computer capable of downloading/transferring their recorded sessions from each day as part of their record of progress/learning tool.

  6. All conductors are required to provide proof of health insurance that covers them in the event of emergency during their participation in the course.

  7. The course will be delivered in English so an intermediate level of language ability is required.

     

What does my tuition cover?

Your tuition covers:

  • all hotel expenses (including breakfast and wifi) for the duration of your stay

  • all recording of class sessions (including HD video footage)

  • the entire lecture series at the Conducting Summer Program

  • the 6 university credits offered upon completion.

What your tuition does not cover:

  • Any Visa expenses, if applicable

  • Travel arrangements to/from Vratsa

  • Travel arrangements to/from the airport and Hemus Hotel

  • Food expenses (lunch and dinner) during your stay

  • Social expenses

     

Who are the conducting faculty?

Malcolm Yuen

 

Australian conductor Malcolm Yuen is Associate Conductor of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, Ireland, Regular Guest Conductor of the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra, Bulgaria and Juror of the Wiener Musikseminar, Austria. He is Program Director, The Conducting Institute, European Academy of Fine Arts and has worked with Australian Band & Orchestral Director’s Association (ABODA), in the broader educational sector, and as consultant with Wiener Musikseminar (Austria). His experience includes the management of large numbers of both musical and non-musical staff and has extensive experience in developing programmes of new and mainstream music to engage both wider and younger audiences through various concert, educational and outreach programmes.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FGb_tiyvdQ

 
 

Derek Gleeson

 

Derek Gleeson is an Irish/American musician. Born in Dublin, Ireland. He is currently the music director and conductor of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra[1] (since 1997) and has been the conductor at the Anna Livia Dublin International Opera Festival (now disbanded). Since 2012 Gleeson is also music director & conductor of the Rachmaninov Festival Orchestra. Since January 2016 Gleeson is Principal Guest Conductor or The Harbin Symphony Orchestra, Harbin, China. (A city of 10 million people) He also composes musical scores for film and television[2] and of symphonic music for the concert hall. He is Artisic Director, European Academy of Fine Arts.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akshkd7BLaA

 
 

Christo Pavlov

 

In 2017 Christo Pavlov was appointed Director/Principal Conductor of the Sinfonietta Vratsa (also known as Vratsa Symphony Orchestra) Mr. Pavlov is Music Director/Principal Conductor of the Sofia Metropolitan Orchestra and Choir (also known as Philharmonia Bulgarica). He was also Principal Guest Conductor of Sinfonietta Sofia (2014-2017). Christo Pavlov has conducted many orchestras and opera/theatre companies amongst them: The Czech Philharmonic, Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra, European Recording Orchestra, the Symphony orchestra and choir of the Bulgarian National Radio, State Music Theater – Sofia, Varna State Opera, Pleven Philharmonic, Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra, Opera Nova. Mr. Pavlov holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and is Associate professor in the National Music Academy “Prof. Pantcho Vladigerov” (Sofia, Bulgaria) as well as score supervisor in the regular recording sessions of the MFA program of the Film Scoring Academy of Europe.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNyJouRSef0

 
 

Nikola Petrov

 

Nikola Petrov is a graduate of the National Academy of Music in Sofia with emphasis on percussion performance, choral and opera-symphonic conducting, and symphonic orchestration. Petrov has performed on tours in Europe, USA, Canada, China, OAE, and since 2018, has served as conductor of the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra. Nikola has over 15 years of experience in studio recordings, well-known as both a conductor and score supervisor, for the Film Scoring Academy of Europe, Strezov Sampling, Sofia Session Orchestra and Choir, and Four for Music.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhQ7d8bmxrg

 

What about the 6 university credits?

The Conducting Summer Program is a 3-week / 6 credit summer course offered through European Academy of Fine Arts / Irish American University, an accredited institution of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the United States.

All conductors who successfully complete the Conducting Summer Program will be conferred 6 transferrable university credits from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in the United States.

6 Middle States credits transfer to approximately 12 ECTS credits. The receiving institution ultimately decides how many ECTS credits are transferrable.

 

Is there an application process for the Conducting Summer Program?

No, spots are awarded on a first-come first-served basis. All deposits made are in agreement with the Participation Terms and Conditions above. (FAQ #2)


 

Do I need a Visa to participate in the Conducting Summer Program?

Most of the time, no - students can come to Bulgaria for the duration of the course on a travel Visa with no problem. However, there are some countries that Bulgaria requires travellers have a Visa prior to entrance, so you'll need to determine if you are from one of those countries.

Need help? Let us know!

 

How will I get to the Hemus Hotel from the Airport when I arrive in Sofia?

As there is no airport directly in Vratsa, conductors will arrive in Sofia Airport.

From Sofia, there are two ways to get to the Hemus Hotel (Vratsa) from the Sofia airport:

1. Taxi. Price per trip: 100 leva. (€50)

2. Private car. Price per trip: 60 leva. (€30)

3. Bus. Price per trip 10-20 Leva (€5-10)

More information will be distributed to participating conductors closer to the summer.

 

What is the experience level of the other participants?

Our challenging intermediate-level conducting program is designed to hone the skills of aspiring conductors seeking to elevate their musical leadership. Participants will immerse themselves in a comprehensive curriculum that combines advanced baton techniques, score analysis, and effective communication with musicians.

The program includes hands-on podium time with professional ensembles, offering valuable real-world experience. Conductors will delve into a diverse repertoire, from classical masterpieces to contemporary compositions, enhancing their versatility. Rigorous feedback and coaching from seasoned conductors will refine their craft. This program demands dedication, precision, and artistry, preparing emerging maestros to excel in the world of orchestral conducting.

If you already have some experience in conducting, this program will give you the opportunity to add an HD professionally recorded performance to your video portfolio, and refine your skills in rehearsing and conducting a symphony orchestra in mainstream orchestral repertoire.

 

Is there a minimum age requirement to participate?

Yes, the minimum age to participate in the Conducting Summer Program is 18 years.

 

Two Unique Training Experiences for Conductors

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Master of Fine Arts in Conducting

 

Master of Fine Arts in Classical, Studio, Contemporary Conducting & Related Recording Technologies. 54 credits.

 

Learn more

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Conducting Summer Program

 

A 3-week fully immersive summer program for modern conductors. 8 hours of podium time. 6 credits.

 

Learn more