Curtis Conducting Program to Welcome Philly Orchestra's Yannick Nezet-Seguin as Mentor
Building upon a rich tradition of distinguished conducting faculty and alumni, the Curtis Institute of Music launches a new conducting program this fall with Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its first mentor conductor.
Designed for emerging young conductors at a crucial time in their development, the program combines personalized attention from a renowned conductor with frequent podium time, both in performances and rehearsal with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, Curtis Opera Theatre, Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, and others, in keeping with the school's "learn by doing" philosophy.
"Transmission of knowledge, sharing experiences, inspiring younger musicians to find their own true personality-this is how we keep bringing wonderful music to life for so many centuries," notes Mr. Nézet-Séguin. "I have become the musician and conductor I am today because of every teacher I have had, and it is with this in mind that I look forward to becoming the first mentor conductor at Curtis. It is an honor to join in the work of one of Philadelphia's and the world's most important educational institutions, providing guidance and inspiration to the musical leaders of tomorrow."
As the first mentor conductor for the program, Mr. Nézet-Séguin provides musical and professional guidance, working one-on-one with the conducting fellow for the 2013-14 season. Kensho Watanabe, the first Rita E. Hauser Conducting Fellow, hails from Greenwich, Conn., and earned a diploma in conducting from Curtis in 2013.
The Curtis conducting program combines individual attention from a top music director with numerous public performance opportunities. In the 2013-14 season, Kensho Watanabe will conduct the fall Curtis Opera Theatre production of The Emperor of Atlantis and leads the opening work on each of the three Curtis Symphony Orchestra concerts in Verizon Hall at the KimMel Center.
In addition to frequent performances, the conducting fellow will lead sectional rehearsals, work with visiting conductors, and complete high-level training in musical studies, analysis, and conducting techniques. Auditions take place in the spring and conducting fellows are expected to enter the program at a high artistic level, prepared to lead Curtis ensembles in rehearsal and performance. The program has been funded through the 2016-17 school year by longtime Curtis supporters Rita and Gustave Hauser. Application and audition information is available at www.curtis.edu/Admissions.
In addition to his role as mentor conductor, Mr. Nézet-Séguin will also lead the Curtis Symphony Orchestra at the KimMel Center on January 26, and throughout the year will conduct readings with the orchestra and work with Mr. Watanabe in Curtis Lab Orchestra and mentoring sessions. The mentor conductor guides the conducting fellow throughout the year and provides a firsthand look at the operations of a major orchestra.
The connection between the Curtis conducting program and the Philadelphia Orchestra stretches back to its founding by the legendary Leopold Stokowski. Later faculty members included Fritz Reiner, Max Rudolf, and most recently Otto-Werner Mueller. A host of illustrious conductors have graduated from Curtis since its founding including Leonard Bernstein ('41); Alan Gilbert ('92), music director of the New York Philharmonic; and Robert Spano ('85), music director of both the Atlanta Symphony and Aspen Music Festival and School.