We formed the Conductor’s Academy because, having ourselves gone through the misery of trying to influence sound without really knowing how, we believe that most of the skills needed can be developed simply through access to the right information. Most significantly, we consider that the questions of gesture which so profoundly undermine the outcomes for so many conductors are merely a matter of mechanics which can be learned by any determined person with sufficient intellectual grasp and decent hand / eye coordination.
Over the first ten years or so we produced more than twenty masterclasses, in the UK in Cambridge and Edinburgh and in Brazil, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Russia and made connections with conductors from all over the world.
In 2017 we produced the 1st Audite International Conducting Competition in order to try to counteract what we perceive as a tendency in competitive conducting situations to focus on what is seen and what is said rather than the sounds actually produced. This tends to favour those who compensate for lack of technical skill through being overly energetic. It does so at the expense of those who may have significantly greater potential and / or skills, but who are often less overtly assertive, because they are uncomfortably aware that their musical ambitions remain out of the reach of their current capacity. This then impacts on their self-confidence in competition situations.
Allowing a screened jury to hear what could be achieved by conductors without allowing the possibility for verbal instruction of the musicians was a fascinating experiment, one which served only to convince us more that the way to assess the work of a conductor is – as with all musical performance – only through listening to the results. What it also taught us, however, is that there is a need for wider understanding of the real processes of hearing and the technical issues of aligning sound which are necessary to allow for genuinely artistic performance.
The lessons learned from our previous masterclasses and Audite 2017 led us to start considering how we could help more people develop their skills more effectively. Then came 2020 and all our thinking turned upside down as a result of Covid 19. This forced us into experimentation with online classes and individual tuition and the somewhat unexpected discovery that working online is highly effective. That led us to re-think our whole operation and try to come up with a way to widen access to real professional expertise and allow far more people to develop their skills and understanding. We also wanted to do so without charging any tuition fees.
The result was our first Audite Masterclass, Audite 2023, which combined online classes with subsequent live orchestral sessions. As one participant put it afterwards: ”In years of study, I’ve never encountered such a detailed and exhaustive investigation of all aspects of conducting. It has transformed the way I approach a score and has paved the way to arrive at the highest quality of gesture, one that has real influence on physical sound. This course is truly unique in the world, led by a master of the highest artistic integrity and craftsmanship.”
We are delighted to be offering a similar programme for 2024 with the firm intention that this will become an annual event.