Conductor Training Workshop with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra JoAnn Falletta & Jorge Mester – Faculty

Conductor Training Workshop 
with the
Virginia Symphony Orchestra

JoAnn Falletta & Jorge Mester – Faculty

Regent University
Norfolk, VA

December 18-20, 2012

The Conductors Guild is proud to announce an exciting workshop with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. This Conductor Training Workshop provides participants with the experience of conducting a full-time professional orchestra under the guidance of faculty members JoAnn Falletta and Jorge Mester. Participants will receive over 50 minutes of podium time – 2 sessions with piano  and 3 full orchestra sessions.


JoAnn Falletta is internationally celebrated as a vibrant ambassador for music and an inspiring artistic leader. An effervescent and exuberant figure on the podium, she has been praised by The Washington Post as having “Toscanini’s tight control over ensemble, Walter’s affectionate balancing of inner voices, Stokowski’s gutsy showmanship, and a controlled frenzy worthy of Bernstein.” Acclaimed by The New York Times as “one of the finest conductors of her generation”, she serves as the Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center.

Ms. Falletta is invited to guest conduct many of the world’s finest symphony orchestras. This year, she will make return engagements with the Krakow Philharmonic in Poland and the Goettingen Symphony in Germany and debuts with the Czech Philharmonic and Croatia National Philharmonic.

Highlights of her recent international guest conducting appearances include her South American debut with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Chile in Santiago Chile, and performances with the London Symphony, Korean Broadcast Symphony, Beijing Symphony, a tour of Germany and Italy with the Sudwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Haifa Symphony (Israel), Goettingen Symphony (Germany), Netherlands Radio Orchestra, National Philharmonic of Lithuania, Orquestra de Extremadura (Spain), Warsaw National Philharmonic, Kraków Philharmonic, Orchestra National de Belgique, Seoul Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic in Manchester, Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan), Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Orchestra of Asturias (Spain), Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National De Lyon, Northwest German Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Lisbon Metropolitan Symphony. She has guest conducted over 100 orchestras in North America, including the orchestras of Philadelphia, Detroit, Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Houston, Rochester, Utah, Edmonton, Quebec and the National Symphony. Ms. Falletta’s summer activities have taken her to numerous music festivals including the Brevard Festival in North Carolina, where she is in her second season as Principal Guest Conductor, Aspen, Tanglewood, Hollywood Bowl, Grand Teton, Wolf Trap, Eastern Music, Cabrillo, OK Mozart International, Lanaudiere, Peter Britt, Breckenridge, Brevard and Interlochen, among others. She is also Artistic Adviser to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, which was founded last year.

She is the recipient of many of the most prestigious conducting awards including the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the coveted Stokowski Competition, and the Toscanini, Ditson and Bruno Walter Awards for conducting, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League’s prestigious John S. Edwards Award. She is an ardent champion of music of our time, introducing over 400 works by American composers, including more than 100 world premieres. Hailing her as a “leading force for the music of our time”, she has been honored with eleven ASCAP awards. Ms. Falletta serves as a Member of the National Council on the Arts.

The Virginia Symphony’s 2012-13 season will be highlighted by the Orchestra’s Stravinsky Festival with a performance by the VSO and the Richmond Ballet of the Rite of Spring on the exact date of the 100th anniversary of its world premiere, and a recording of Stravinsky’s Les Noces. In 2012, the VSO recorded its first CD for the NAXOS label of two world premieres by composer Adolphus Hailstork. Under JoAnn Falletta’s direction, the VSO has risen to celebrated artistic heights. Recent achievements of the Virginia Symphony under her baton include fourteen recordings, a performance of Peter and the Wolf, which was aired on National Public Radio, new audience development through residences at the College of William and Mary, Newport News and Virginia Beach and critically acclaimed performances at the Kennedy Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic is continuing its trajectory as one of the most recorded orchestras in America with the release of two new Naxos CDs in the 2012-13 season, Tyberg’s Symphony No. 2 and Gershwin’s Catfish Row, Rhapsody in Blue, Strike up the Band, and Promenade, and the recording of its 16th Naxos disc, Gliere’s Symphony No 3.   Performance highlights include a concert at Carnegie Hall in May 2013, as part of the Spring for Music Festival, and the Orchestra’s debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Since stepping up to the podium as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the fall of 1999, Maestro Falletta has been credited with bringing the Philharmonic to a new level of national and international prominence. Under her direction, the Buffalo Philharmonic has become one of the leading orchestras for the Naxos label, earning two Grammy Awards and five Grammy nominations. This season, the BPO will once again be featured on national broadcasts of NPR’s Performance Today and SymphonyCast, and international broadcasts through the European Broadcasting Union.

As Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra Falletta made her Proms debut in Royal Albert Hall in August 2012, and will conduct many of the main season programs and select regional concerts and other events. In November 2013, she will lead the Orchestra in a US tour with flute soloist, Sir James Galway. She is the first American and the first woman to lead the Orchestra… The orchestra has a unique exclusive broadcast partnership with BBC, under which its concerts are recorded and streamed for internet broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, Radio Ulster and BBC TV. Under Falletta’s leadership, the Ulster Orchestra entered into an exciting new multi-year recording relationship with Naxos.  The first disc, released in June 2012, includes works of Gustav Holst, with upcoming discs to feature works of Moeran and Boyle.

Maestro Falletta is having an extraordinary recording year.   In 2012, Naxos  entered into multi-year recording agreements with the Virginia Symphony and the Ulster Orchestra, and released or will release four recordings with  four different orchestras led by Ms. Falletta;  an exceptional accomplishment in the current recording environment.     These include Naxos’ thirteenth disc featuring the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (Gershwin), the first of three discs with the Ulster Orchestra (Gustav Holst), the 1st Naxos recording with the Virginia Symphony (Adolphus Hailstork), and a world premiere recording with the London Symphony (Kenneth Fuchs).  In the past ten years, her recordings for Naxos have garnered nine Grammy nominations, including two Grammy awards in 2009 for John Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man with the BPO.  Maestro Falletta’s growing discography, which currently includes over 70 titles, consists of recordings with the London Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Ulster Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Czech National Symphony, Philadelphia Philharmonia and Women’s Philharmonic, among others.

Ms. Falletta received her undergraduate degree from the Mannes School of Music in New York, her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School, and in addition, has been awarded twelve honorary doctorates.

For more information on Ms. Falletta, visit her website at

Jorge Mester has long been considered an ardent champion of contemporary music, Mester has given more than 70 world-premiere performances of works by such composers as Philip Glass, Peter Schickele, Michael Daughtery, Carl Ruggles, Joan Tower, and George Tsontakis.

During his 12-year tenure as music director of the Louisville Orchestra from 1967 to 1979, Mester made 72 world premiere recordings with the orchestra, a prolific achievement for both conductor and orchestra. Mester recalls, “It was an exciting challenge to find music deserving of a permanent record. During that time, I got an incredible overview of contemporary music around the globe.” Among the composers whose works he recorded are Dmitri Shostakovich, Krzysztof Penderecki, Carlos Chavez, Frank Martin, Henry Cowell, Peter Mennin, Walter Piston, Samuel Barber, George Crumb, Leonardo Balada, and Peter Sculthorpe. Mester returned to once again lead the Louisville Orchestra as Music Director during the 2006 season.

Notably, Mester’s passion for conducting extends from the stage to the classroom. He served as director of the Juilliard School’s Conducting Department during the early 1980s and, this past season, led a series of conducting workshops for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Mester was the Director for Conductor Development for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in the early nineties. He has also been a guest conductor at the USC Thornton School of Music. Says Mester, “I love teaching. I hope to pay back the help which Leonard Bernstein, Gregor Piatigorski, William Schuman, and Jean Morel gave me early in my career. I want to help others they way I was helped.” Indeed, he has taught several generations of conductors, including James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, Andreas Delfs, JoAnn Falletta, and John Nelson. In addition, he has mentored early in their careers such internationally acclaimed artists as Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Midori, Renee Fleming, Cho-Liang Lin, and Robert McDuffie.

“I have gained tremendous insight from working with these composers,” says Mester. “What I have learned about their feelings about tempo, balance and musical structure helps me understand how other composers from the Classical and Romantic eras may have thought about their own music.”

Jorge Mester, one of the world’s most dynamic conductors, served as music director of The Pasadena Symphony from 1985 to 2010. He is conductor laureate of the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, which he led as music director from 1970 to 1991. He previously put his unique stamp on the Puerto Rico Festival Casals during the seven years he served as its music director, beginning in the late 1970s. Mester also served as Artistic Director of the Young Musicians Foundation and its Debut Orchestra for the 2011-12 season.  Indeed, throughout his career, Mester has brought excellence and prominence to each of the organizations he has led.

Mester served as a guiding force in the music world during his 21-year affiliation with the Aspen Music Festival (1970 – 1991), an organization he describes as having its own unique dynamics and personality due to the synergy between the distinguished faculty, acclaimed guest artists and gifted young musicians. He says, “That made it possible for me to put together programs that set the festival apart both in scope and quality.” It is a characteristic for which Mester is still widely regarded.

In 1985, he received Columbia University’s prestigious Ditson Conductor’s Award for the advancement of American music. Other Ditson Awards recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski.

As the artistic director of the National Orchestral Association’s New Orchestra Music Project from 1988 to 1992, he became familiar with an impressive number of American composers and had the opportunity to present many new works at Carnegie Hall. He also served as chief conductor of the West Australia Symphony Orchestra in Perth and principal guest conductor of both the Adelaide Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. From 1998 to 2002, he served as artistic director of the Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, with which, in 2000, he conducted an unprecedented 10-month retrospective of 20th Century music. In Cape Town, he programmed and directed a two-month long contemporary music festival.

A noted opera conductor as well, Mester has led numerous productions for the New York City Opera, the Sydney Opera, Spoleto and the Washington Opera, including Der Rosenkavalier, Cavalleria Rusticana, Ì Pagliacci, La Bohème, Le Nozze di Figaro, Madama Butterfly, Salome, and The Cunning Little Vixen. In November 2006, he led a staged operatic production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. The following season, he led a concert performance of Samson and Delilah by Camille Saint-Saens in Louisville as a joint-production with Kentucky Opera. The production was so successful that in 2008-09 both organizations collaborated to co-present Tchaikovsky’s Iolanthe.

He has also guest conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Cincinnati Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. He commanded worldwide attention when he conducted the opening ceremonies for the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 1997 and subsequently served as artistic director of the Center’s first classical music series.

In 1998, Mester conducted a series of archival recordings for the Milken Family Foundation in Barcelona, Spain. He has also made two recordings with The Pasadena Symphony for the Auracle label. The first, a numbered limited edition, was released in 1994 and features Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra! and Saint-Saëns’s Symphony No. 3 in C Minor. The second, released in 1997, features Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Mester expanded the boundaries of classical music presentation through an ongoing series of original “symphonic theatre” productions, semi-staged productions that incorporate classical music, dance and drama. The first production, a collaboration with actor/director John de Lancie, was the world premiere in 2001 of a semi-staged presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn and film composer Erich Korngold. Mester and de Lancie’s second project married Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme with Richard Strauss’s incidental music, and their third focused on Romeo & Juliet and featured the music of Berlioz, Prokofiev, Bernstein and other composers, with a cast of singers, actors and dancers.

Mester, who is of Hungarian descent, was born and raised in Mexico City and currently resides in Southern California. An accomplished violist, he performed with the Beaux-Arts Quartet for several years before focusing exclusively on conducting.

Virginia Symphony Orchestra

The 92 year-old Virginia Symphony Orchestra is Southeastern Virginia’s pre-eminent professional symphony orchestra. It is ranked in the top 10 percent of professional orchestras nationwide and performs Classics, Pops and Family concert series in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Newport News and Williamsburg, reaching more than 200,000 concert goers every year. Its performances and its musicians have been highlighted in state and regional print and online media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Lifetime Cable Television, National Public Radio and on the BBC Worldwide News. In 2010, the VSO won an ASCAP award (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ) for adventurous programming in recognition of its performance of new works and world premieres by contemporary composers.  The 2010-2011 season which celebrated the 20th anniversary of JoAnn Falletta’s tenure as Music Director enjoyed 11 sold out concerts, both Classics and Pops.

Highlights of Falletta’s remarkable tenure with the orchestra include performances at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, opening three new performance halls in Hampton Roads where the orchestra regularly performs series, developing a discography of twelve recordings, including in 2011 a recording of the music of Adolphus Hailstork on the Naxos label, the premiere classical music label.

Dedicated to engaging children, students and adults with the power of classical music, Symphony education and community programs reach more 63,000 children, students and life long learning adults each year through Young People’s Concerts, School Artistic Residencies, Master Classes and Small Ensemble Special Programs.

Falletta and Associate Conductor Benjamin Rous lead over seventy-five professional musicians and over ninety glorious voices in the Virginia Symphony Chorus. As the cornerstone of the performing arts in Southeastern Virginia, the Virginia Symphony provides the professional musicians and orchestral support for the Virginia Opera, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Ballet and Todd Rosenlieb Dance.

For more information, please visit

Adams The Chairman Dances
Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (movements 1, 2, 3)
Brahms Symphony No. 3
Dvorak Symphony No. 7

Participants are encouraged to study all of the listed repertoire in preparation for this workshop but are given some choice of the segments they will conduct in consultation with the faculty.

Application Deadline

Application Deadline: October 19, 2012. Applicants should submit their application through our online application portal. Payment of the $75 application fee should be submitted using the online form included in the application or a check mailed to: Conductors Guild, Attn: VSO Workshop, 719 Twinridge Lane, Richmond, VA 23235. Please allow extra time to familiarize yourself with the new application process. Late applications cannot be accepted.

Please note that submission of a video is required for consideration. Consult the CG Video Guidelines for suggestions regarding the preparation of a conducting video. New this year you must submit your videos online. We will no longer accept DVDs. The Conductors Guild website also contains important information about workshop application review procedures, and about the goals and format of CG Workshops.

PLEASE NOTE: Application is open only to Conductors Guild members. If you are not currently a member and do not include your membership dues (or apply online), your application cannot be processed.




$75   –   Application Fee
$350 – Auditor Fee
$750 – Participant Fee

Application deadline is October 19, 2012. Participants will be notified of acceptance no later than November 2, 2012. Fees are due upon notice of acceptance and must be paid in full not later than November 16, 2012 by a credit card or by a check payable to the Conductors Guild. The fee will act as a deposit to reserve each participant’s place in the workshop. Fees will be refunded only if the withdrawing applicant’s place in the workshop is filled by another participant.

Workshop Application Form

»2012 VSO Workshop Application

»Video Guidelines for Workshop Applicants


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


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