Our second English Concert Master Class for young harpsichordist-directors took place in June 2012 at the Foundling Museum in London.
Four aspiring harpsichordists worked with The English Concert, our artistic director Harry Bicket (pictured) and two solo singers in directing a range of Baroque repertoire, culminating in a public concert in which all student participants directed The English Concert.
This year's students were:
Thomas Foster (UK)
Jeffrey Grossman (USA)
Tamar Halperin (Israel)
Pawel Siwczak (Poland)
Master Class Schedule -
Tuesday 26 June
1000-1300: Corelli Concerto Grosso op.6 no.10
1400-1700: Handel arias from Alcina and Rodelinda with Rachel Wheatley (soprano) and Joshua Ellicott (tenor)
Wedesday 27 June
1000-1300: Handel Concerto Grosso op.3 no.2
1400-1700: Bach arias from Cantatas 21 & 68 with Rachel Wheatley (soprano) and Joshua Ellicott (tenor)
Thursday 28 June
1000-1300: Rameau instrumental movements from Les Boréades
1400-1700: Rameau and a reprise of other repertoire
Friday 29 June
1400-1700: General Rehearsal
1930: FINAL CONCERT
We are extremely grateful to Mrs Caroline Erskine, Julian Schild, the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, the Garrick Charitable Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust without whose generous support the Master Class would not have been possible. We are also very grateful to the Foundling Museum for again so generously providing its space and resources free of charge for the English Concert Master Class.
A video featuring the Master Class will be available soon.
Response to the 2010 Master Class -
"The English Concert’s master class for young directors was very much uncharted territory, both for the four candidates and the orchestra. The art of directing an orchestra from the keyboard is in itself a skill that can only be learnt through hands-on experience: no amount of private preparation at home can teach you what an orchestra like TEC needs; it would be the equivalent of learning to drive a car by watching a DVD. For these young conductors, it was an extraordinary opportunity to try out what works and what doesnt, but in a relatively unpressured environment. But it was also a revelation for many of the TEC players to analyse what exactly it is that they need from a conductor, and why some approaches work and some dont. The weeks work was invaluable for all of us, and the final concert a testament to how far the participants and orchestra had travelled together through the week."
Harry Bicket (Artistic Director, The English Concert)
"Its been absolutely worthwhile. Its been an exremely steep learning curve. Ive always thought that directing might be for me, and this is my first experience, and I had no idea whats involved. I now realise that theres an awful lot involved, and Ive learnt a lot and that Ive still got a lot to learn. The length of it is about right. The repertoire is a good mix and Id go on another one if there was one. Its been incredible."
"I think its brilliant, I think its been done very well, I think Harry and Laurence have been fantastic, and its been very interesting for us to how the students progess and for us to think for ourselves about what it is we want from directors, and when you dont get it, what to do about it. Also a bonding exercise, team building."
Joseph Crouch (member of The English Concert)
"I think its been excellent – its always lovely to have live music in the museum and having it in the 18th century picture gallery, surrounded by the music, played authentically is just such an experience. Its a lovely surprise for visitors who arent expecting it. Its a great opportunity and its brought in a lot of people who havent been to the museum before."
Katharine Hogg (The Foundling Museum)
"I found it fascinating in that one tends to think that they could do it without a director, and the very simple questions the musicians were asking about individual notes make you realise the absolute amazing skill to be a real director and not a follower. I would come if you were doing a similar thing again. The positioning of the audience was in the end excellent , so that we could see the director and it was almost as though we were part of the band. It drew attention to the fact that the director has to direct and not follow. It probably wouldnt work in a much bigger venue you wouldnt want to mic the director of students perfect size."
Member of the Audience
We are extremely grateful to the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, the Garrick Charitable Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust without whose generous support the Master Class would not be possible.
We are also very grateful to the Foundling Museum for again so generously providing its space and resources free of charge for the English Concert Master Class.