John Eliot Gardiner & MCO's Apprentices Program Welcomes Young String Players
The Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras (MCO)'s innovative Monteverdi Apprentices Programme offers emergent young string players the opportunity to perform, tour, and train with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) and John Eliot Gardiner next season. Up to eight successful applicants will be fully integrated into the period-instrument orchestra's 2019-20 schedule, performing alongside the ORR in concerts at home and on tour in a wide range of repertoire, as well as receiving dedicated coaching, workshops, and mentorship. As a primary focus of the yearlong program, the young apprentices will perform complete Beethoven symphonic cycles with Gardiner and the orchestra at prominent destinations, including London's Barbican Hall and Barcelona's Palau de la Música. After completing the program, the apprentices will be considered for further professional engagements with the ORR. The orchestra is accepting applications until July 29; click here for more information.Launched in 2007, the Monteverdi Apprentices Programme was the first of its kind in the UK. Designed to follow undergraduate or postgraduate study, it enables outstanding young musicians to spend a full year working with MCO founder and artistic director John Eliot Gardiner alongside some of the best and most experienced musicians in the business. Although it has been emulated by other European ensembles, the pioneering program remains preeminent in its field and is heavily oversubscribed. Intended for both instrumentalists and vocalists, it was open to singers in 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014-15, and 2018-19, and to string players in 2009-10, 2012-13, and 2016-17. Eight of this season's nine vocal apprentices performed in Handel's Semele on the Monteverdi Choir's acclaimed recent European tour, and, of the program's 60-plus alumni, around 70% have worked as fully-fledged members of the MCO. Besides receiving periods of intensive tuition, coaching, and mentoring with Gardiner himself, each apprentice is assigned a mentor from his or her section. Drawn from among the MCO's most experienced members, the mentors provide invaluable individual support throughout the year. Concertmaster Peter Hanson, violist Oliver Wilson, principal cellist Robin Michael, and principal double bassist Valerie Botwright are among the ORR's mentors this season. Before taking part in the orchestra's regular rehearsals, the apprentices receive preliminary rehearsal sessions to help familiarize them with the repertoire and any unusual musical techniques involved. They also have the opportunity to perform for industry professionals in dedicated showcases. By learning first-hand about the exacting demands and working practices of a globally renowned ensemble, they receive exceptional preparation for the rigors of international touring and performance. As Gardiner puts it, "There could be no better first step towards a professional career."