Professional Training Program
The Cabrillo Conductors/Composers Workshop brings together leading faculty, the award-winning Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and early career conductors and composers for a professional training program that focuses on the creation and performance of new music.
“At Cabrillo, conductors are brought into community with each other by about 10 minutes into the first welcome coffee. Three young composers are also planted amidst the conductors and virtually adopted by the whole crew as voices of their generation. The orchestra is warm in their support and feedback for conductors and composers alike. They are active and fierce ‘first responders.’ It is a peaceable kingdom of music festivals committed not just to hearing new musical voices, but striving for a whole new paradigm in the world of concert music. That paradigm is based on an authenticity of human relations that I found to be completely unique, open, and nurturing of exactly those qualities of musical expression that made us all want to be musicians in the first place.” – James E. Ross, Cabrillo Festival Conducting Faculty Member 2013-2016
Each summer for the last twenty years, twenty conductors and three young composers have been selected to participate in this internationally recognized professional development program. Held in downtown Santa Cruz, California, in the context of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s annual rehearsal and performance season, the Conductors/Composers Workshop gives participating conductors and composers five full days of intensive training with some of the world’s most respected contemporary music professionals. In 2020, Conducting Faculty members will include Cabrillo Festival Music Director Cristian Măcelaru, and Octavio Más-Arocas (Director of Orchestras and Orchestral Conducting at Ithaca College, NY, and Music Director and Conductor of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, OH); Composition Faculty member will be Pierre Jalbert (Professor of Music, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Muisc).
“It was a thrill to work with musicians who were willing to provide constructive feedback.” – Conductor Workshop Fellow
This unique workshop experience was designed by founding faculty members, Cabrillo Festival Music Director Laureate Marin Alsop and Maestro Gustav Meier. Activities include a schedule of seminars and critiqued conducting sessions–first with string quintet and piano, then with chamber orchestra, and finally podium time with the full Cabrillo Festival Orchestra. Under the guidance of a composition faculty member, participating composers work with the Festival’s resident composers and with the conductors on subjects including modern score analysis and practical guides for the rehearsal, interpretation and performance of contemporary works. The program is highlighted by an inspirational concert titled In the Works, when the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra is led by six conductors performing short symphonic works by each of the three selected composers.
“It was one of the best musical experiences of my life.” – Workshop Composer