ICWF 2009: Chihuahua -- Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn
From January 16-18, 2008 the International Conducting Workshop and Festival is proud again to hold a workshop in Ciudad Chihuahua, Mexico hosted by the Orquestra da Camera Chihuahua, led by Gustav Meier (Peabody Institute) and assisted by Benjamin Loeb (El Paso Symphony).
As in the past we will offer conducting training and critique in a non-competitive, professional and supportive atmosphere and a great opportunity to immerse oneself deeply in important standard orchestral repertoire which will include Beethoven Symphony #8 and Coriolan Overture, Mozart Symphony #38 and Overture to "Marriage of Figaro" and Haydn Symphony #104.
The schedule includes 4 Orchestra sessions, 4 Sextet sessions, and 1 Score study/technique session.
In the Orchestra sessions, participants will have approximately 10 minutes on the podium. In the Sextet sessions, participants will conduct a string quintet plus piano, which covers woodwinds and brass parts. Parts of some quintet sessions may be devoted to difficult excerpts that are pre-selected from the workshop repertoire. All participants will be encouraged to study this list of excerpts in preparation for the workshop. In the remainder of the sextet sessions, passages are to be selected by the participant. Each conductor will have individual choice of repertoire during sextet and score study sessions. In all sessions, podium time slots will be flexibly pre-assigned.
Levels of Participation
There will be only one level of participation. All participants will conduct the orchestra and sextet three times each. There is a limit to 21 Active Participants.
Auditing is also available, but does not include any active podium time. There is no limit to the number of Auditors.
All tuition fees include hotel and all meals.
All sessions will be Digitally Recorded onto individual DVD's which each conductor will receive at the end of each conducting session.
Orquestra da Camera Chihuahua
The Orquestra da Camera Chihuahua is made up of the best professional musicians in Ciudad Chihuahua primarily from the Orquestra filarmonica de Estado Chihuahua.
All participants will stay in single rooms at the Radisson Casa Grande. Hotel from Thursday though Sunday night and meals as posted in the schedule are included in the tuition fee. All rooms have free wireless internet access. It is possible to arrange for spouses to stay at the hotel for a small additional cost.
Gustav Meier is known internationally as a teacher of conductors. He has led orchestras around the globe while teaching at the Yale University, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan and the Tanglewood Music Center.
He has conducted the Pittsburgh and China National Symphonies, the Hungarian and Vienna State Opera Orchestras, the Sao Paulo State Symphony, the Chicago’s Grant Park Symphony, the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Long Beach and Colorado Symphony Orchestras and others. He has led performances at the New York City, Santa Fe, Miami, San Francisco, Zurich and Minnesota Opera Companies. Innovative programming has earned Mr. Meier critical acclaim. He collaborated with film director Robert Altman (Igor Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress), conducted William Bolcom’s Song of Innocence and Experience (American Premiere), Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Help! Help! The Globolinks! (American Premiere), Elliot Carter’s Double Concerto (First Performance), Chris Rouse’s Infernal Machine (First Performance) to mention just a few.
Students of his include Marin Alsop (Baltimore Symphony, Cabrillo Festival), Antonio Pappano (Royal Opera Covent Garden, Orchestra Nazionale di Santa Cecilia), Bobby McFerrin, Yakov Kreizberg (First Prize Stokovsky Competition, Netherlands Philharmonic, Vienna Symphony Orchestra), Rico Saccani (First Prize Karajan Competition,Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra), Carl St. Clair (Komische Oper Berlin and Pacific Symphony), Mark Gibson (Cincinnati Conservatory), Jun Märkl (Lyon National Symphony Orchestra), Ben Loeb (International Workshop and Festival) and more.
At present Gustav Meier is on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony Orchestra in Connecticut. Mr. Meier has also received Honory Doctorate Degrees from Fairfield University, Kalamazoo College and Michigan State University. His book The Composer, the Orchestra and the Conductor has just been published by Oxford University Press.
Benjamin Loeb, a native Texan, is an accomplished conductor, accompanist, soloist, arranger, and educator. He has been hailed in El Paso as “a walking genius of unique ideas for making concerts fun to perform and hear, as well as subtly exposing youngsters to the pleasures of good music, [El Paso, Inc.]” while his recent performance with the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra as a “double-threat” both playing and conducting Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was called “a total triumph that triggered a well-deserved, spontaneous standing ovation. Loeb and the GBS captured every ounce of imagination and emotion Gershwin packed into his ground-breaking musical portrait. [Connecticut Post]”
Other widely varied projects range from concerts of Beethoven and Bruckner Symphonies to recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of Italian 16th century madrigalists to tours with popular rock musicians to world premieres of the most cutting-edge avant-garde contemporary music. As the Associate Conductor of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Loeb founded and served as both Executive and Music Director of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras – El Paso’s only national-level, NEA-recognized, multiple-orchestra system serving the best young musicians in the El Paso, southern New Mexico and Juarez region. He held the position of Assistant Conductor for the Haddonfield Symphony for four years and Assistant Conductor for the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony Orchestra for two, and served for three summers as Assistant Conductor for the TodiMusicFest in Portsmouth, VA. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival, now in its ninth year, hosted by orchestras around the world. He has also served as Director of Orchestras at the Music Institute of Chicago.
Benjamin Loeb’s projects have shown his tremendous range. With the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony in C) he led the MET Life award-winning musical outreach into schools in southern New Jersey in which he introduced children of all ages to the instruments of the orchestra. At Rutgers University, the Peabody Conservatory and Harvard University, he led operas in full productions. In El Paso he has conducted the El Paso Symphony in Young Peoples’ Concerts, Family Concerts and Christmas Concerts. In one recent concert, both the El Paso Symphony and El Paso Youth Orchestra performed together combining to make over 150 musicians on stage. With the Pueblo (CO) Symphony, he both played and conducted Beethoven Emperor Concerto. A frequent guest conductor in China, he often leads all-American programs while giving master classes and performing recitals with Chinese instrumentalists on his off days. At the Peabody Conservatory, as a musical response to the attacks of September 11, Loeb organized and led what Tim Smith of The Baltimore Sun called “a remarkable concert” of Bruckner Symphony #7 and the world premiere of John Traill’s “In Memory”, a set of four orchestral miniatures based on the themes of the Bruckner. He has been asked by Yo-Yo Ma to create and conduct arrangements of 16th century madrigals for his Silk Road Project, and he has toured with his sister Lisa Loeb leading orchestral accompaniments to her rock music.
This year marked the eighth of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival (ICWF) – an five-day workshop for conductors in Ciudad Chihuahua, Mexico, which has trained over 275 conductors from 28 countries since its inception, and which has included both full orchestra concerts and chamber music with international artists. The ICWF has included past faculty members such as Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Carl St.Clair, and Rossen Milanov. Last January’s workshop with over 26 active participants was led by Loeb, Gustav Meier, Director of Conducting Studies at Peabody Conservatory and Music Director of the Greater Bridgeport (CT) Symphony, and Jacob Chi, Director of Orchestras at Colorado State, Pueblo.
As a pianist, Benjamin Loeb has been praised by the Boston Globe: “[his] vigorous, cogent playing signaled the kind of equally weighted partnership, plus competition, plus mutual quest, etc. that [makes] this music live.” Past season highlights include three performances of the Beethoven Emperor Concerto including one in which he both conducted and performed as soloist. Some of the conductors with whom he has worked include Alan Gilbert, JoAnn Falletta, and Carl St. Clair. His concerts have taken him around to world to major venues and on radio and TV in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Berlin, Seoul, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Panama City, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and tours across the United States. He has performed for Community Concerts and has been featured as Artist-in-Residence on NPR’s Performance Today with violinist Livia Sohn. As one of the last Artistic Ambassadors for the United States Information Agency he toured Argentina and Chile with clarinetist David Gresham. He has served three times as an official pianist for the Joseph Joachim/Hanover International Violin Competition, as well as for the Walter Naumberg Violin Competition, Marlboro Music Festival and Concerts Artist Guild auditions. He served as staff pianist for the Steans/Ravinia Festival and SMU Summer Conservatory among others. He can be heard on many labels having recorded CD’s with violinists Joseph Lin (Korngold and Busoni), Takako Nishizaki (Mozart), and Livia Sohn (Opera Fantasies) on Naxos, Judy Kang for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, and with soprano Allison Charney on the DSCLabel. He also has a recently released solo album on Naxos of Joplin Rags and has two recordings in production of Christmas and Children Songs with soprano Katrina Swift.
He holds a Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Conducting, as a student of Gustav Meier, a Master in Music from the Curtis Institute and a Doctor in Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in Accompanying and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.
He resides in El Paso, Texas with his wife, Quyen, his 4-year-old daughter, Anna Sofia Uni, and his 20-month-old, Lulu Ladybug. He continues to tour worldwide as conductor, pianist, educator and arts advocate, and to teach at the new El Paso Conservatory of Music.
Loeb’s far-ranging interests do not limit him to music; he has directed plays, cooked gourmet meals for 65, tutored over 500 people in test preparation for the Princeton Review, and played and enjoyed almost every sport. He is also an active member of the Rotary Club of El Paso. Moreover (or most important), he is a lifetime Dallas Cowboys fan.