BCO (Baltimore Chamber Orchestra) Summer Conducting Course
with Markand Thakar
July 7-16, 2013

Under the supervision of music director Markand Thakar, up to 10 participants will conduct the internationally acclaimed BCO (Baltimore Chamber Orchestra) in orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Beethoven, and - with members of BCO – smaller works by Stravinsky, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

The BCO Summer Conducting Program will focus on building musical understanding, with special attention to gaining technical control. Each participant will have over 2.5 hours total conducting time, including three sessions with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, two with the Stravinsky L’Histoire du Soldat ensemble, and nine with a 1-per-part ensemble. All sessions will be recorded on digital video.

The program begins with five days of Boot Camp: building physical control, along with two days dedicated to the fundamentals of music-making and three days dedicated to the three principal musical forms: theme & variations, fugue, and sonata form. The second part, Ensembles, includes a L’Histoire Day, and three days of conducting the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in music by Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Beethoven.

In addition to orchestra and small ensemble sessions, the program will include daily video review and technique development sessions. Additionally, participants are invited to daily breakfast conversations with Maestro Thakar, covering topics from the practical to the profound.

A limited number of auditors will be accepted. Auditors participate in all activities outside of conducting the ensembles; this includes review of previous video with Maestro Thakar.

STUDENT TESTIMONIALS - Past Workshop Students
APPLICATION FORM (click to download)

TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 5
BEETHOVEN Symphony no. 7
STRAVINSKY L’Histoire du Soldat Suite

BACH Contrapunctus I from The Art of the Fugue
BEETHOVEN String Quartet no. 14 in C# Minor, op. 131, mvt 1
BEETHOVEN String Quartet no. 10 in Eb Major, op. 74, mvt. 2
SCHUBERT String Quartet no. 14 “Death and the Maiden,” mvt 2
MOZART Divertimento K. 136
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Boot Camp

Part 1 - Fundamentals of Technique and Music-Making

Sunday, July 7
opening meeting
two technique sessions
music-making: single lines

Monday, July 8
breakfast conversation
two technique sessions
two music-making sessions: harmonization, chorale melodies, and harmonizations

Part 2 – Forms

daily schedule includes

breakfast conversation
two technique sessions
video review sessions
two sessions conducting the small ensemble

Tuesday, July 9 - Theme & Variations
SCHUBERT String Quartet no. 14 “Death and the Maiden,” mvt 2
BEETHOVEN String Quartet op. 74 mvt. 2

Wednesday, July 10 - Fugue
BACH Contrapunctus I from The Art of the Fugue
BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op. 131, mvt. 1

Thursday, July 11 - Sonata Form
MOZART Divertimento K. 136


Friday, July 12 - L’Histoire Day

breakfast conversation
technique session
two L’Histoire practice sessions
two L’Histoire sessions with full ensemble

Saturday, July 13 – Day Off

Small Ensemble and BCO

daily schedule includes

breakfast conversation
two technique sessions
video review sessions
one session conducting the small ensemble
one session conducting the large ensemble

Sunday, July 14
TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings

Monday, July 15
SCHUBERT Symphony no. 5

Tuesday, July 16
BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 7

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Markand Thakar is Charles A. and Carolyn M. Russell Music Director of the Duluth Superior Symphony, music director of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and principal conductor of the Duluth Festival Opera. A student of the legendary Sergiu Celibidache and former assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Thakar is the author of Looking for the "Harp” Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty (University of Rochester Press, 2011), as well as Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making (Yale University Press, 1990).

Students of Maestros Meier and Thakar at Peabody have won significant conducting positions across North America, including music directorships with the Winnipeg, Aachen (Germany), Hartford, Eugene, Lubbock, Muncie, Williamsport, Young Musician's Foundation, Mid-Atlantic, Sioux City, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Washington-Idaho, and Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestras; staff conducting positions with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle, Richmond, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Phoenix, Charlotte, Kansas City, Canton, and El Paso; as well as numerous collegiate positions.
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In its 30th season, BCO (formerly Baltimore Chamber Orchestra) is Maryland's premiere small orchestra. Recently lauded by the New York Times for its "warmth and substance,” BCO has recently recorded three CDs for the Naxos label, one named to Naxos' "Best of the Best” list. Comprised of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra musicians and top area professionals, recent BCO activities include a New York debut and a five-concert trip to China.

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Video of the January 2010 BCO conducting workshop is available on YouTube, as is video of Markand Thakar conducting the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.
BCO Conducting Workshop, January 2010
TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade, movement 3
TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade, movement 4
BEETHOVEN Symphony no. 3 “Eroica,” movement 1

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"Markand Thakar's passionate and thoughtful approach to music making continues to be an important part of who I am as a musician. Through understanding and explaining the fundamental components of music, he builds musical works from the ground up, as they should be. I am very grateful to have had his musical guidance to help me find, in his words, 'the music inside me.' I owe him a lot.”
Tomasz Golka
music director, Lubbock Symphony Orchestra
music director, Riverside (CA) Symphony Orchestra
grand prize winner, 2003 Eduardo Mata International conducting competition

"Markand Thakar is the secret treasure of the Peabody conducting program. While students may initially come because of Gustav Meier's well-deserved prestige, they leave having been at least equally influenced by Thakar's simple, yet profound refrain, 'be the music.' Few conductors can match Thakar's ability to know and hear music in great detail, and to establish a palpable connection with the players. He relentless conveys all of this to his students, and for that, he is truly a great teacher of conducting.”
Matthew Brown
Resident Conductor, Canton Symphony Orchestra
Artistic Director, International Conductors' Festival (Kiev)

“Markand gave me a view of conducting that came from the music and a technique that enables me to be free - which enables me to connect with the orchestral sound - in other words, as he often said, to ‘become the music’! And I still do his exercises almost every day.”
Ken Lam
Grand Prize Winner, 2011 Memphis International Conducting Competition
Director of Orchestras, Montclair State University
Music Director, Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra
Resident Conductor, Brevard Music Festival
former Assistant Conductor, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

“My time with Markand Thakar at Peabody was invaluable. His ideas about orchestral color opened up a new world to me and his remarkable ability to teach young conductors how to realize their own concept of sound gave my conducting and my entire approach to music a whole other dimension that I could not have gotten any other way. I
am a better musician because of it.”

Case Scaglione
assistant conductor, New York Philharmonic
2011 Solti Foundation Award winner
music director, Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra

“Though it has been several years since I graduated from the masters conducting program at Peabody, I still hear Markand insisting that I ‘hear everything, hear every sound!’ when I’m on the podium. Listening is the fundamental act of conducting and I learned this incredibly valuable lesson time and again in the two years that I worked with Maestro Thakar. Lessons with Markand are always intense and he is dedicated and concentrated on each conductor’s personal strengths and weaknesses. Markand pursues music-making of the highest quality and he demands and inspires this same pursuit in his students. It’s hard to say just how much studying with Markand has challenged me and improved my conducting. I am incredibly fortunate to have Markand Thakar as a teacher and mentor.”
Francis Scully
music director, New Resonance Orchestra

"Markand Thakar teaches from the inside out: from within the score, and from within the student. His demanding but responsible pedagogy, imbued with the spirit of the great Sergiu Celibidache, leads his students toward mastery of the energies that shape authentically musical performances.”
Dr. Mark Shapiro
music director, Opera Company of Middlebury
music director, Cantori New York
Director of Conducting, European American Musical Alliance

"Brilliant and insightful, Markand shares his depth of knowledge and his meticulous Celibidache technique with passion."
Carolyn Kuan
music director, Hartford Symphony Orchestra

"Markand challenges students to immerse themselves in the music, and to be driven by the experience. His emphasis on internalizing a score truly helped me in opening my ears and building my podium presence.”
Joseph Young
assistant conductor, Phoenix Symphony

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“It was the first time I have ever been moved by my own conducting.”
Dana Sadava
Assistant Conductor, Indianapolis Opera

"identifying problems and working on resolving those problems – without giving up on the artistic side (shaping phrases, etc…) – brilliant! It is the very best workshop I have taken part in."
Hans Kretz
Assistant Conductor, Opera Bremen

“I came to this workshop with a lot of awful new habits from working with young student orchestras. Markand worked on me like a sculptor; getting rid of the tension, unnecessary gestures, etc., to simply being pure and finding the magic. to allow myself to just BE the music, really opened my body, my mind and most importantly, my love towards music.”
Keitaro Harada
Music Director, Phoenix Youth Symphony

“There are things that have plagued my conducting for years, both mechanical and otherwise, which I needed to solve. I also was very drawn by the opportunity to study with Markand; as well as by the opportunity to conduct such fine works with such a fabulous orchestra. Every single item on my list of things I hoped to gain was noticed, analyzed and addressed in a most efficient, but kind way by the maestro – including strategies for continued progress and self-analysis after the workshop. Markand is truly a master pedagogue.”
Jane Brown
Music Director, Reno Pops Orchestra

"I feel as though a tremendous weight has been lifted off me - that is, I now feel I have the ability to be free and feel the music. Before this workshop I had an unhealthy fear of expressing my musical ideas. Markand and the orchestra helped me to release it. Many technical ideas helped me as well. Most importantly, I feel comfortable being myself. This allows the music to flow unhindered."
Andrew Crust
graduate conducting major, McGill University

Markand is an excellent teacher. Why?

  • no BS
  • clear
  • systematic
  • observant of everyone's unique issues
  • objective - no favorites, no head games
  • consistent

Alexander Kahn
director of orchestral activities, Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College

Gained concrete methods for improving my technique and becoming a more clear conductor. Learned how to begin listening to the orchestra better. Address tension issues in my conducting and music making. Gain more confidence and experience in front of professional musicians. Met many other conducting students in a very positive and supportive environment! Thank you Markand for providing instruction to us so openingly and in such a pleasant, collegial, and professional manner.

Sam Matthews
music director, Shanghai International Youth Orchestra
deputy artistic director, Shanghai Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra

  • Relaxation and efficient use of body while conducting - and I've found this has translated into overall better
    posture in everyday activities.
  • Great repertoire to know and study.
  • Exceptional conducting students to network with.
  • Last and especially - Markand Thakar's teaching was exceptional. He had great things to say to every student, and I grew so much as a conductor and musician!

Rachel Grubb
graduate conducting major, Northwestern University

“Mr. Thakar’s holistic and profound approach to conducting and the music making process gives his students the confidence to reach that place within: a free mind and body allowing them to give and receive. The message is clear: it is not only about music and conducting, it is about connecting and influencing and being better human beings.”
Francois Chanon
cellist, Palm Beach Symphony

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The workshop will take place in the modern Mattin Center on the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins
From the Johns Hopkins website:
Just down the street from Goucher, the suburban college town of Towson boasts a major mall, an eight-screen movie theater, a national concert hall, and dozens of restaurants, pubs, shops, and places to hang out.

Homewood is like a haven in the north Baltimore neighborhood of Charles Village. It's a peaceful place of green grass, wide-spreading trees, brick residence halls and classroom buildings, and interconnecting walkways that combine to create a comfortable country atmosphere in the heart of a major city. In minutes you can easily find the action of Baltimore - by bus, light rail, your bike, or even on Hopkins' own shuttle bus service - at the Inner Harbor, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the National Aquarium, Hopkins' medical campus and the Peabody Institute or one of many spots downtown. East of the Inner Harbor, Fells Point - a part of town known for exciting nightlife, fun shops, and ethnic restaurants - is a weekend favorite.

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The Johns Hopkins area offers a range of off-campus housing. Program participants may also have access
to Hopkins dormitories, at reasonable rates. More information will follow in the Spring.

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Active Participants : $2550
Auditors : $1000
Non-refundable application fee : $50


To apply for consideration, please submit :

1) A completed application form. (click to download)
2) A recent DVD or YouTube links of your conducting music of contrasting styles. (DVDs will not be returned)
3) Your Curriculum Vitae.
4) A list of references, including email addresses.
5) Non-refundable application fee of $50

Applications are accepted immediately, and will continue to be accepted until enrollment is filled with qualified applicants. (Interested parties are thus advised to apply sooner rather than later.)

Please make checks payable to "Baltimore Chamber Orchestra". If paying by credit card, only VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

Deadline for applications: April 1, 2013.

If your application is accepted, the Workshop Tuition of $1275 is required by May 1, 2013 to reserve your place, with the remaining $1275 due by June 1, 2013.

Any applicant not accepted as a participant may attend all sessions as a non-conducting auditor for a fee of $1000.

Application materials and the non-refundable application fee should be sent to:

Summer Conducting Course
Baltimore Chamber Orchestra
11 West Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21201

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(email preferable)
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