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Dear Maestro Proskurnya,
I just want to express my sincerest thanks for your work with me at the International conducting Workshop 2004. I really appreciate the honesty and generosity of your feedback. I found myself challenged to rethink some fundamental assumptions of conducting technique, and I know that I am better for it. In fact last evening I had a rehearsal with the orchestra I conduct in Pennsylvania and I was constantly working to incorporate the Musin techniques which you taught me throughout the workshop. I must say, I experienced a palpable sense of control over the flow of the orchestra to a
degree that was new to me; a huge breakthrough. I have much more work to do to make this habit, but ¡ I got it!!! I want you to know that, having been through two degrees in conducting and several other workshops, I have learned more about how to conduct in the past several days than I have in the past several years.
Director of Orchestral Activities, Messiah College
Music Director/Conductor, West Shore Symphony Orchestra
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The "Karelia" workshop was one of the most valuable musical experiences of my life. The quality of teaching was outstanding. Although I arrived atthe workshop as the least experienced conductor among the participants, I was not made to feel inferior. There were three conductors on the faculty of the workshop: Oleg Proskurnya (Savannah Symphony Orchestra, USA), Piotr Gribanov (Congress Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society) and Leonid Korchmar (Mariinsky [Kirov] Theater, St. Petersburg). All three faculty members are graduates of the Leningrad Conservatory of Music; Gribanov and Korchmar are presently faculty members at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music. Faculty members took turns leading daily 30 to 45-minute lessons with each of the participants and orchestra (i.e. podium-time) which led toward two performances, one on Saturday, July 27, 2002 at one on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2002. I particularly liked that each participant was given daily podium time and was allowed (and expected) to perform. Although this disallows a single conductor, for example, performing an entire symphony, (I conducted the first movement of Mozart's "Jupiter" and the first movement of Beethoven's 7th), the competitiveness between the participants is virtually eliminated and everyone is given two performance experiences. (I contrast this with my only other previous workshop experience prior to last summer, at the First International Workshop for orchestral conducting held with the Cairo Symphony Orchestra in September 2001, in which conductors were chosen for entire multi-movement works, thus leaving many going home without having performed in a concert.)Another great advantage of the "Karelia" workshop was the excellent daily follow-up lessons with the faculty members. (This did not happen in Cairo, where there was only one faculty member leading the workshop.) Although it was rather exhausting to have two or three follow-up lessons on most days, and I did feel almost overloaded, I think this level of intensity is to be expected at an international workshop and for which, in hindsight. I am grateful.While, at first, it was difficult to work with three different conductors, in retrospect, I found this to be one of the important strengths of the workshop, as I was able to compare different suggestions and solutions and come up with better results. The lessons included many technical exercises and specific practice of difficulties from our selected repertoire. I also liked very much that there was scheduling flexibility on the part of the faculty members so that we could, if we chose (with mutual consent, of course), attend each others lessons. I chose to attend many of the other participants' lessons and found this very helpful.
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This was the third time I have attended this workshop. It has been a marvelous experience each time. This past summer, I spent two weeks with 5 other conducting students in the workshop. We each had a minimum of 30 minutes of podium time each day, which we could videotape, and there were 2 to 4 hours of tutorial time each day away from the podium. The quality of the instruction was superb, including instructors from the St. Petersburg Conservatory, who, among other strengths, were able to teach the methods of Ilya Musin. We each conducted one piece at a concert at the end of each week, which also was videotaped for later review. I can, therefore, attest to the quality and credibility of the workshop this group is offering again this year. Please feel free to contact me, if there are further questions.
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These sessions have been nothing short of revelatory: conducting an
orchestra involves a lot more than just beating time and showing entries.
The teachers - Proskurnya, Gribanov and Korchmar - are dedicated
practitioners of the art, and even more dedicated as teachers. They spend
every minute making sure that no detail is left out and each participant
receives the proper guidance. The emphasis is on technique and how to use it
true to the famous Russian-St. Petersburg School, and as such differs from
other courses where you are taught only how best to beat in four, three,
etc. Definitely a new and eye-opening experience.