Baltimore Chamber Orchestra Conducting Workshop
with Markand Thakar
December 15-19, 2012

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

Under the supervision of BCO music director Markand Thakar, up to 10 participants will conduct the internationally acclaimed Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in orchestral works by Elgar, Mozart, and Beethoven.

The workshop will focus on building musical understanding, with special attention to gaining technical control. Each participant will have over 80 minutes total conducting time, including three sessions with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and four sessions with a 1-per-part ensemble. All sessions will be recorded on digital video.

The workshop opens with an intensive period of concentration on the essentials of music-making. The daily schedule includes a breakfast conversation with Maestro Thakar covering topics from the practical to the profound, a video review session, and twice daily technique development sessions.

Days 2 & 3: ELGAR Serenade, MOZART Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Day 4: MOZART Symphony no. 29, K. 201 in A Major
Day 5: BEETHOVEN Symphony no. 4
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Saturday, December 15
1:00 check-in
1:30 Initial Meeting
2:30 Technique
6:00-7:00 Technique
7:00-8:00 Music Making: single lines / chorale harmonizations

Sunday, December 16
9:30-10:30 Breakfast discussion
10:30-11:30 Technique
11:30-1:00 Music Making: chorale harmonizations
2:00-4:30 Music Making: forms, workshop repertoire
5:30-6:30 Technique
6:30-9:00 Small Ens. Session (Mozart K. 525, Elgar)

Monday, December 17
8:30-9:30 Breakfast discussion
9:30-10:30 Technique
10:30-1:00 Small Ens. Session (Mozart K. 525, Elgar)
2:00-4:30 Video review sessions (15 mins each)
5:30-6:30 Technique
6:30-9:00 Orchestra Session (Mozart K. 525, Elgar)

Tuesday, December 18
8:30-9:30 Breakfast discussion
9:30-10:30 Technique
10:30-1:00 Small Ens. Session (Mozart Symphony 29)
2:00-4:30 Video review sessions (15 mins each)
5:30-6:30 Technique
6:30-9:00 Orchestra Session (Mozart Symphony 29)

Wednesday, December 19
8:30-9:30 Breakfast discussion
9:30-10:30 Technique
10:30-1:00 Small Ens. Session (Beethoven)
2:00-4:30 Video review sessions (15 mins each)
5:30-6:30 Technique
6:30-9:00 Orchestra Session (Beethoven)

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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). For the past 15 seasons he has been co-director (with Gustav Meier) of Graduate Conducting at the Peabody Conservatory.

Students of Maestros Meier and Thakar at Peabody have won significant conducting positions across North America, including music directorships with the Aachen (Germany), Winnipeg, 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 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 29th season, 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. BCO concerts are reviewed by the Baltimore Sun's Tim Smith.

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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

“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

“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 on the beautiful campus of Goucher College in Towson, MD. From the Goucher College 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.

Just a few miles down the road, Baltimore City offers a wide (and sometimes wild) range of cultural attractions, from world-class symphonies and museums to a lively local art and music scene -- plus two major-league sports teams and all sorts of places to eat, drink, shop, see, and be seen.
And if you don't have a car, don't worry. There are all sorts of ways to get where you want to go. Check out the resources on these pages to find out more about how to break out of the bubble and get into town.

  • Baltimore Collegetown Network
  • Collegetown Shuttle
  • Light Rail
  • MTA Bus
  • Zip Cars

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Towson offers a range of convenient housing options.

Workshop participants receive a special discounted rate at the Sheraton Baltimore North, located a five minute walk from the Goucher College campus.

All room reservations should be made directly with the
Sheraton Baltimore North prior to December 1, 2012
to ensure the special rate. When making reservations, ask for the Goucher College rate.

Sheraton Baltimore North
903 Dulaney Valley Road,
Baltimore, MD 21204

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Non-refundable application fee : $50
Participant fee : $1650 (Full payment of the tuition fee will be required to hold the space.)
Auditor fee : $450


To apply for consideration, please submit :

1) A completed application form. (click to download)
2) A recent DVD of your conducting, which will not be returned, or links to online video
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: November 1, 2012.

If your application is accepted, the Workshop Tuition of $1,600 is required to reserve your place.

Any applicant not accepted as a participant may attend all sessions as a non-conducting auditor for a fee of $450.

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

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

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.)

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(email preferable)
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