ICWF 2021: Brahms

ICWF Conductors Group

From July 31 through August 11, 2021 the International Conducting Workshop and Festival will present a workshop in Lviv, Ukraine in partnership with the Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. This workshop will focus on the four symphonies of Brahms and will be led again by Carl St.Clair, Music Director of the Pacific Symphony. They will be assisted by Benjamin Loeb (ICWF Artistic Director)Michael Sheppard will be the workshop pianist.

What we do

Whether you are highly trained conductor, a promising student, or an avid amateur, our workshops offer many opportunities to improve as a conductor. We believe the best learning comes from studying standard repertoire with world class faculty in an intensive and immersive, yet non-competitive, professional, and supportive atmosphere. For practical experience, all participants conduct both full orchestra and piano sextet. Subjects studied include conducting technique, interpretation, score study, analysis, rehearsal technique, stage deportment, and musician interaction. All participants receive equal opportunity in a completely transparent organization.
Kalena Bovell


Date: July 30 through August 11, 2021
Location: Lviv, Ukraine
Host Orchestra: Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

Basic details:

  • Twleve full orchestra sessions (10 3-hour and 2 4-hour sessions)
  • Nine Sextet sessions 
  • Each conductor will get a minimum 60 minutes with full orchestra
  • Post-session discussions focusing on repertoire, career, score study, and more
  • Lunch (or one other meal) included
  • Hotels and breakfast are not included in the tuition this year, but conductors may select a comfortale, affordable and convenient hotel option arranged by ICWF at significantly reduced rates which includes breakfast.
  • Convenient and less expensive destination
  • Two free half days
  • Airport transfers included
  • Farewell party
  • Professional concert and rehearsal hall setting for all sessions
  • All sessions will be Digitally Recorded in High Definition and concert quality audio, and ample opportunity will be provided to view session recordings. At the end of each conducting session or day, each conductor will receive a digital file of that session. Participants must provide his or her own storage media (1Tb USB 3.0 hard drive is most recommended).

Daniel Padua, conductor

Levels of Participation

  • One level of participation 
  • Limited to 30 conductors
  • Each conductor will get at least 60 minutes with the full orchestra (six 10-minute sessions)
  • Sextet sessions will be equally divided among all conductors
  • Auditing is also available but does not include any active podium time. The auditor level is designed for those either who have little experience and training but show promise, or those with ample opportunity to conduct throughout the year, but want to use this workshop as a chance to observe master teaching.
  • 30-minute Video Recording sessions are available in the two days after the workshop is completed (August 12 and 13) for participants to video record excerpts of music from the workshop with the full orchestra. This year, participants may opt for up to two extra sessions (60 minutes total). Hotel and two meals each day is included in the fee for these Extra Sessions. 

    Geoff Loff


We will present at least one Chamber Concert during the workshop featuring faculty, guest artists, and members of the Lviv Philharmonic in programs designed to illuminate the workshop repertoire. Participants will not perform on these concerts. Following the workshop proper, eight conductors will stay for one week to prepare and conduct all four symphonies in concert.


  • Carl St.Clair (Pacific Symphony Orchestra and USC)
  • Benjamin Loeb (Artistic Director, ICWF)


  • Brahms Symphony #1
  • Brahms Symphony #2
  • Brahms Symphony #3
  • Brahms Symphony #4
    Carl St.Clair

Lviv Philharmonic

Historically, in every city - whether it is Kyiv, Warsaw, Krakow or Berlin - Philharmonic holds a special place. Lviv Philharmonic has a rich history that goes back to different periods - Austrian, Polish, Soviet and Ukrainian.

Lviv PhilharmonicThe first official concert season of the Lviv Philharmonic (1902-1903) started in the concert hall of Skarbkowski Theatre (now Maria Zankovetska Theatre), which served as an excellent auditorium for public performances - 1200 seats, a large concert stage, fountains, confectionery, buffet and winter garden. In 1962 Philharmonic was settled into a magnificent Secession building (7 Tchaikovsky Street), built in 1907 for the Musical society of Galicia. The organ with two manuals and pedal was the luxury for organ recitals. Now in the center of the stage we can observe only façade of the instrument with its wooden pipes being decorated in Baroque style.

Lviv Philharmonic is one of the leading concert institutions of Ukraine, which in various forms has been popularizing good music at the international festivals, monograph concerts, concerts of young musicians and thematic evenings for secondary school students.

The annual International Music Festival "Virtuosi" was established by the Lviv Philharmonic in May 1981 (till 1990 it was called United Music Festival “Virtuosos of the Country”). Other festivals, including International Festival of Contemporary Music "Contrasts", International Festival of Conductors in Commemoration of Mykola Kolessa and the International Festival "Shymanovski Quartet and friends" also take place in the Lviv Philharmonic season.

Read more here

Orchestra Sessions

  • The schedule to the Orchestra Sessions will be distributed about one week prior to the beginning of the workshop and will show the sessions each conductor is assigned, but not the repertoire. Conductors will choose their conducted repertoire for each session during the workshop.
  • Conductors will have six 10-minute slots (minimum of 60 minutes total)
  • Conductors will have essentially free choice of repertoire in the Orchestra sessions. 
  • All orchestra sessions will take place in the historical Lviv Philharmonie on the concert stage.
    Hannah Schendel

Sextet Sessions

  • The sextet is made of a string quintet from the Lviv Philharmonic and pianist Michael Sheppard, who will cover the woodwinds, brass, percussion, and string divisi.
  • During the Sextet sessions, we will cover all of the repertoire.
  • For the first sessions, we will work straight through all of the repertoire. Once we have covered everything, Conductors will be able to request specific sections to conduct.
  • Sextets are specifically designed to allow us to explore the challenges of the repertoire in great detail. There will be more stopping for feedback from the faculty.
  • Sextet time will be equally divided among the conductors.
  • All sextet sessions will take place in the air-conditioned Lviv Philharmonie large rehearsal room.

Discussion Sessions

  • Generally at the end of each day, the faculty will hold a half hour discussion session to recap the issues discovered in that day's sessions.
  • Conductors will have the opportunity to get one-on-one feedback from all the faculty during breaks and after each session.
  • Some discussion sessions will be scheduled around topics such as rehearsal technique, score study, career paths, and more.
  • Faculty are quite available for ad hoc individual and group discussions.

    Carl St.Clair


One of the great benefits of the workshop is the opportunity to grow and develop a supportive network of conductor colleagues. These relationships can very often lead to professional and academic opportunities as well as lifelong friendships. While we can't claim credit for every success of our ICWF alumni, we are proud of their accomplishments and know that their experience at the workshops provided some positive learning that they used to further their career and love for music. 

Here is what some of our past participants have said about their ICWF experience.

Some of our past participants now hold or have held positions such as Fresno Symphony Music DirectorEl Paso Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia OrchestraCharleston Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, London PhilharmonicDallas Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota OrchestraDetroit Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville SymphonyUtah Symphony Associate ConductorNorwalk Symphony Music Director, San Diego SymphonyAmarillo Symphony Music Director, National Symphony Assistant Conductor,  Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Memphis Symphony Assistant ConductorBuffalo Philharmonic Associate Conductor, Kansas Symphony Assistant ConductorSymphony Orchestra Northwest Arkansas Assistant Conductor, and many more.  Our past participants have also been accepted into the most prestigious conducting programs in the world including at The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Peabody Institute, Rice University, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, New England Conservatory, and many more.
ICWF 2020 Conductors


Hotel ART ModernThis year, hotel accommodations are not included in the tuition fee, but we have made excellent and convenient arrangements with the Modern ART Hotel. If you would prefer to find other accommodations, you are free to do so. ICWF will still provide a group lunch (or one meal). 

Modern ART Hotel

  • Modern, Single rooms
  • Air-conditioning
  • Breakfast included
  • 4 minute walk from the Lviv Philharmonie
  • Free Wifi
  • Restaurant on site
  • $750 for 13 nights single occupancy (special rate). Hotel check in is July 30 and check out is August 12.
  • Double room occupancy available for $350 additional
  • Additional single room nights are $55/night which include breakfast only.

Guests accompanying conductors will also be provided lunch and free access to all public ICWF events.

Detailed schedule

Saturday, July 31, 2021 10:00-13:00 Orientation and Score Study
14:30-17:30 Sextet 1 - Brahms Sym. #2
Sunday, August 1, 2021 10:00-13:00 Sextet 2 - Brahms Sym. #2 and #1
14:30-17:30 Sextet 3 - Brahms Sym. #1
Monday, August 2, 2021 10:00-13:00 Sextet 4 - Brahms Sym. #3
14:30-18:30 Orchestra 1 (Brahms Sym. #1, 2, and 3)
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 10:00-13:00 Orchestra 2 (Brahms Sym. #1, 2, and 3)
14:30-17:30 Sextet 5 - Brahms Sym. #3 and #4
Wendesday, August 4, 2021 10:00-13:00 Orchestra 3 - All Symphonies
14:30-17:30 Sextet 6 - Brahms Sym. #4
20:00 Chamber Concert 1: All-Brahms - Violin Sonata #3 in d minor (Marko Komonko, violin; Benjamin Loeb, piano); Waltzes Op. 39 and Op. 52 (Sofia Soloviy, soprano; Liliya Nikitchuk, mezzo soprano; Vitalii Koval, tenor; Volodomyr Shunkarenko, bass-baritone; Michael Sheppard and Benjamin Loeb, piano)
Thursday, August 5, 2021  10:00-13:00 Orchestra 4
14:30-17:30 Orchestra 5
Friday, August 6, 2021 10:00-14:00 Orchestra 6
20:00 Chamber Concert 2: All-Brahms Piano Sonata #1 (Michael Sheppard, piano); Two Songs for Alto, Viola, and Piano, Op. 91 (Liliya Nikitchuk, alto; Ustym Shuk, viola; Benjamin Loeb, piano); Piano Pieces Op 118 (Benjamin Loeb, piano)
Saturday, August 7, 2021 10:00-13:00 Sextet 7
14:30-17:30 Sextet 8
Sunday, August 8, 2021 10:00-13:00 Orchestra 7 or Sextet 8a TBA
14:30-17:30 Sextet 9
18:15-19:15 Career Discussion
Monday, August 9, 2021 10:00-14:00 Orchestra 8
20:00 Chamber Concert 3: Brahms/Bach Study #5 for the Left Hand after Bach Chaconne (Benjamin Loeb, piano); Bach Aria "Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen" from Cantata #82; Brahms "Immer leise wird mein Schlummer" Op. 105, #2 (Liliya Nikitchuk, mezzo soprano; Benjamin Loeb, piano); Brahms Cello Sonata #1 in e minor, Op. 38 (Denys Lytvynenko, cello; Benjamin Loeb, piano)
Tuesday, August 10, 2021 9:30-12:30 Orchestra 9
14:00-17:00 Orchestra 10
Wednesday, August 11, 2021 9:30-12:30 Orchestra 11
14:00-17:00 Orchestra 12
Thursday, August 12, 2021 9:30-12:30 Extra Session 1
14:00-17:00 Extra Session 2
Friday, August 13, 2021 9:30-12:30 Extra Session 3
Saturday, August 14, 2021 Free Day
Sunday, August 15, 2021 10:00-14:00 Concert 1, Rehearsal 1
Monday, August 16, 2021 10:00-14:00 Concert 2, Rehearsal 1
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 9:30-12:30 Concert 1, Rehearsal 2
14:00-17:00 Concert 2, Rehearsal 2
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 9:30-12:30 Concert 1, Rehearsal 3
14:00-17:00 Concert 2, Rehearsal 3
Thursday, August 19, 2021 10:00-14:00 Concert 1, Dress Rehearsal
19:00-21:30 Concert 1 - Symphonies #1 and #3
Friday, August 20, 2021 10:00-14:00 Concert 2, Dress Rehearsal
19:00-21:30 Concert 2 - Symphonies #2 and #4

Fees and deadlines

  • Application fee $50
  • ICWF 2021: Brahms Tuition $3,750
  • ICWF 2021: Extra Sessions $750 (max. 2 sessions)
  • Hotel ART Modern (13 nights) $750
  • Monday, January 18, 2021 First Application Deadline
  • Monday, January 25, 2021 Notifications for acceptance
  • Monday, February 8, 2021 Accepted applicants must confirm participation
  • After February 8, 2021 Applications will be reviewed and processed on a space-available basis.
  • Two weeks after notification $500 non-refundable tuition deposit due. Generally, applications are processed within two weeks of receipt.
  • Late payment of tuition deposit or tuition payment may result in loss of spot.
  • If a conductor must cancel his or her spot, the tuition deposit and/or tuition will be refunded only if a suitable replacement is found to fill the spot.

Fees must be paid according to schedule in $US.

To apply, click here.

All tuition fees paid by credit card will have a 3.5% service fee added.

Online payments preferred, but US checks (free) and bank transfer ($45 fee) will be accepted. The application is not complete and will not be processed until the payment is received. 

Application fees and tuition deposits are non-refundable.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The Joel Fan Foundation

The International Conducting Workshop and Festival has a fiscal sponsorship relationship with the Joel Fan Foundation. This means that the ICWF can accept grants, accept tax-deductible donations, and carry on other activities under the tax-exempt status of their sponsor. To help you raise money for yourself, the Joel Fan Foundation and the ICWF can each write letters on your behalf. In the last ten years the ICWF granted over $150,000 in tuition scholarships through the generous help of the Joel Fan Foundation.

Technically, you can act as a fundraising agent for the ICWF and raise money from your own network of support for your tuition scholarship. Anyone you know who would like to help you would then send their support to the Joel Fan Foundation ArtMatch and suggest that the money go to your scholarship. Then, the Foundation will grant the ICWF the money along with the suggestion to whom the money should be applied. The ICWF would then accept the suggestion of the Joel Fan Foundation and apply the money received to the conductor. In the past, the money was 100% granted according to the suggestions. The ICWF guarantees full credit for the amount raised through the Joel Fan Foundation, even if the specific money is not allocated directly to your scholarship. The Joel Fan Foundation has generously agreed not to charge any fees for the processing of this money - the usual fees for fiscal sponsorship relationships are 3-6%.

ArtMatch Process:

  1. Make all checks to the "Joel Fan Foundation ArtMatch". Please do not indicate the name of the participant on the check.
  2. To facilitate the processing of the grants, the sponsor should say exactly the following in a cover letter:
    To The Joel Fan Foundation:
    I am making this donation to the Joel Fan Foundation ArtMatch in support of the International Conducting Workshop and Festival. I suggest that this money be applied to the tuition scholarship of [name of participant].

    [Name of Sponsor]
    [Address of Sponsor]
    [Email Address of Sponsor]
  3. Mail checks and letters to:
    The Joel Fan Foundation ArtMatch
    c/o International Conducting Workshop and Festival
    7509 Avalon Dr
    Plano TX 75025
  4. The receipt of the check will be acknowledged by the Joel Fan Foundation and the application of the tuition scholarship will be acknowledged by the ICWF.

The Joel Fan Foundation is a registered 501(3)(c) non-profit corporation and qualifies for tax-deductible contributions.
Sophie Mok

The International Conducting Workshop and Festival is also supported by the REC Music Foundation, a recognized 501(c)3. To help ICWF, please consider making a donation.


Regarding COVID-19, we will be required to adhere to all Ukrainian restrictions. We will also try to follow CDC guidelines. Under current Ukrainian restrictions (December 1, 2020) we are allowed 50 muiscians on stage and fewer than 50 in the audience, so we could even create a suitable orchestra with those restrictions. The expectation is that by summer we will be back to more typical function which would allow us to have the full complement of strings and many conductors sitting on the stage. It is possible that we will require all participants to prove that they have been vaccinated depending on the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine. 

If the workshop must be canceled due to the continue pandemic, all tuition fees will be returned. However, we cannot reimburse for any travel expenses or to return the application fee. We strongly suggest that all participants purchase travel insurance that specifically covers COVID-related cancellations.




  • Dates July 31st thru August 11th
  • Location Lviv, Ukraine
  • Orchestra Lviv National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra