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Head of Conducting Colin Metters Hon RAM Colin Metters enjoys an enviable inter- national reputation as conductor, orchestral trainer and inspirational conducting pedagogue. He has worked with many leading orchestras in the UK and abroad and has given masterclasses in Europe, USA, Russia, China and Australia. In 1997 he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor and Musical Advisor to the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra and was subsequently awarded the Vietnamese Order of Merit for services to Vietnamese Cultural Development.


Established in 1983 under the direction of Colin Metters, the Academy’s post- graduate conducting programme is now internationally recognised as one of the foremost programmes in conductor training.


The course provides a comprehensive and integrated programme over three years, examining what lies behind the art and craft of conducting and the role and responsibilities of the conductor, and seeks a better understanding of the complex relationship that exists between conductor and performers. The course is designed to provide a strong technical foundation, studying laws of cause and effect as they relate to conducting, and to develop the ability to be both self-aware and self-critical in all aspects of the conductor’s craft.


Students have the opportunity to work with varied instrumental ensembles on a regular basis as well as in orchestral workshops. Following a major review in 2007, orchestral conducting provision has now been significantly enhanced. Selected students can also conduct concert performances in the Academy’s official orchestral programme as and when appropriate.


Regular classes are held throughout the term under the direction of Colin Metters. Additional masterclasses are given by visiting guest conductors, who have included Sir Colin Davis, Ilya Musin (St. Petersburg Conservatoire), Jorma Panula (Sibelius Academy, Helsinki), Claus Peter Flor, Yuri Simonov, Lutz Köhler (Berlin), Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Charles Mackerras, Leonard Slatkin, Kenneth Kiesler (Michigan), Carl Topilow (Cleveland), Gunter Kahlert (Weimar) and Thomas Baldner (Indiana). George Hurst also visits once each term to work with the conductors’ class.


Repertoire over the course is broad-based, the mainstream orchestral and concerto repertoire forming the central core of the curriculum.


‘The most prestigious schools [for conducting] are Sibelius Academy and the Royal Academy of Music’ Wall Street Journal, February 2010


The course maintains a strong link with the Composition and Contemporary Music Department and the Manson Ensemble, working on established twentieth-century repertoire and on premières of student compositions, the conductors working in direct collaboration with the composers. Students also work with Royal Academy Opera and the Vocal Faculty on various projects and workshops throughout the year, and have the opportunity to work with the Academy’s instrumental ensembles and orchestras.


Additional studies, including aural classes, keyboard skills, transposition and score-reading, take place regularly throughout the course.


The closing date for receipt of applications is 9th January 2012.


Auditions for orchestral (not choral) conductors are held in February/March 2012 for entry in September. Auditions take place in London only. Detailed requirements are available from the Registry and at www.ram.ac.uk.


Notable recent alumni


Paul Brough Principal Guest Conductor, BBC Singers


Richard Farnes Music Director, Opera North


Rumon Gamba Leading international conductor


Edward Gardner Music Director, English National Opera


Christian Ludwig Principal Conductor, Cologne Chamber Orchestra


Ludovic Morlot Music Director, Seattle Symphony Orchestra


Paul Murphy Principal Conductor, Birmingham Royal Ballet


Toby Purser Assistant Conductor, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris


Ilan Volkov Leading international conductor


Martin West Musical Director and Principal Conductor, San Francisco Ballet


Mark Wigglesworth Leading international conductor


Department Administrator: Camilla Fisher BMus Telephone 020 7873 7405 Email conducting@ram.ac.uk Open Day: 7th October 2011


The Teachers Colin Metters Hon RAM (Head of Conducting)


Raymond Holden PhD, Hon ARAM (Contextual Studies in Performance Practice and Performance History)


George Hurst Hon RAM (Visiting Professor) Mark Shanahan (Operatic Repertoire)


International Chair of Conducting and Orchestral Studies Sir Colin Davis CBE, Hon RAM


Klemperer Chair of Conducting Studies Semyon Bychkov


Conducting Options for other Students There is strong provision for both undergraduate and postgraduate students who wish to pursue conducting studies but who are not on the postgraduate Conducting course itself:


Undergraduate Conducting This is designed to equip all second- year students with a basic conducting technique, enabling them to show tempo and some degree of texture and dynamic through gesture.


Conducting Electives Two conducting electives are open to Undergraduate students: Intermediate Conducting offers the opportunity for students to build on the foundations laid in Introduction to Conducting (part of Supporting Studies). Advanced Conducting deals with enhanced principles of baton technique and explores in depth the relationship between conductor and ensemble.


Intermediate Level Acceptance is by audition. Students would normally have completed the elective, but any student in the Academy may audition for this course in order to receive individual tuition.


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