AMF Conducting Program is an intensive four-week course designed for advanced conducting students. The program engages students through a combination of coaching from eminent conductors and weekly conducting lessons with the festival orchestra.
To ensure individual attention, approximately six applicants will be invited to participate in the program.
Conducting student and faculty members meet daily to discuss musicianship, score analysis, and conducting technique.
Once a week, participants receive a live conducting lesson in front of the AMF Orchestra.
Photo: Conducting Program student Vinay Parameswaran conducts the AMF Orchestra during its final performance of the season
The program culminates in a performance featuring conductors. Video recordings of rehearsals and performances will be provided.
Photo: AMF conducting student rehearses the Festival Choir
During the festival season, conductors collaborate closely with other departments in order to gain unique insights and experiences. Some examples include:
» Working with composers during orchestra reading sessions and other performances
» Collaborating with AMF Artists and Fellows
» Conducting Opera Workshop vocal ensembles and performances
Click on an image for additional details.
Click here for information on Resident Artist Fellowship for Conductors
Benjamin Shwartz recently completed a three season tenure as the Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony where he assisted Michael Tilson Thomas, led numerous concerts, and was the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. A highlight during his Music Directorship of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, was leading their European tour during summer 2008. Of one of their performances a critic wrote: Benjamin Shwartz practiced precision work; he by no means simply let his orchestra show off with brute sonic force, but shaped each phrase, even those of the solo winds, with the utmost refinement. In the slow movement, he succeeded in creating highly romantic moments of vibrant intensity in the strings. The Festsaal audience was in a frenzy.
Prior to his appointment as Resident Conductor with the San Francisco Symphony, Benjamin was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, Delaware Symphony and the Reading Symphony, Pennsylvania.
Benjamin Shwartz has conducted the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, and Oregon Symphony Orchestra, among others. This season he will make debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony, Duisburg Philharmonic, Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Nürnberger Symphoniker and the Landessinfonieorchester Schleswig-Holstein. Operatically, he has conducted new 2 productions at The Curtis Institute – La Sonnambula and Il viaggio a Reims.
Committed to new music, Benjamin Shwartz has led numerous world premieres of works by composers of his generation. Benjamin is the conductor of Mercury Soul [www.mercurysoul.org], a new music project, which he curates together with composer Mason Bates and designer Anne Patterson. The ensemble presents new music for acoustic and electronic instruments in clubs and other unusual locations blurring the lines between classical, experimental, and electronic music.
Raised in Los Angeles and Israel, Benjamin Shwartz attended the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, where he received the Shanis Fellowship to study conducting. While at Curtis, Benjamin Shwartz worked closely with Christoph Eschenbach in preparing the Curtis Orchestra for concerts. He also studied composition with James Primosch at the University of Pennsylvania, with Karlheinz Stockhausen in Germany, and at IRCAM in Paris.
Benjamin Shwartz has received numerous awards for his work including the Presser Music Award and was a prize-winner in the 2007 Bamberg Symphony Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition.
Music Director, Delaware Symphony
David Amado has been praised by the media, audiences and fellow musicians for his deep musical insight and visceral energy. These qualities have allowed Maestro Amado to reinvigorate the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, turning it into a premier regional orchestra during his short tenure. His innovative programming, his approachable demeanor and his natural and instinctive music-making make him a formidable musical presence.
Descended from a long line of fine musicians including his grandmother, violist Lillian Fuchs, and great-uncle, violinist Joseph Fuchs, David Amado continues his family's tradition of making great music. He showed a predilection for music at a very early age, beginning piano lessons at age four. But it was not until his high school years that he became dedicated to a musical career, thanks to the galvanizing force of his teachers and peers in the Pre-College Division of Juilliard. David continued his college years at Juilliard, studying piano with Herbert Stessin while simultaneously exploring other facets of music, including the world of the orchestra.
Maestro Amado's fascination with the orchestra led him to Indiana University, where he received his Master's in Instrumental Conducting. After graduating he returned to New York to study again at Juilliard, but this time as a conductor with Otto-Werner Mueller. The following three years both reignited David's dedication to musical excellence and groomed him for entry into the professional world.
David's first job was an apprenticeship with the Oregon Symphony, followed by a six-year tenure with the Saint Louis Symphony in Missouri. While in Saint Louis, David was both the Music Director of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and staff conductor for the Saint Louis Symphony. David greatly expanded the types and number of concerts offered to young people, introducing symphonic music to 55,000 young people annually. In addition to his conducting duties, David was a producer for Arch Media, the Symphony's own record label.
Maestro Amado is a prominent leader of the Delaware arts community. His unique and appealing programming, which blends familiar orchestral repertoire with modern pieces, has propelled the DSO to new artistic heights. In March of 2010, the orchestra released its first national and international recording on the Telarc label featuring the orchestra with Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. The recording debuted at number 11 on the Billboard charts and is garnering rave reviews, "The LAGQ's account [of the Rodrigo] is...tense and exciting; the festive last movement in particular overflows with an affection and joie de vivre that is quite special...the excellent Delaware Symphony Orchestra...seize on the drama and exoticism inherent in the music, making it their own." Gramophone Magazine, June 2010.
Maestro Amado continues to be an enduringly popular figure in Saint Louis where he was the Associate Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) from 2001-2004. Recent highlights of his career include engagements with the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Houston Symphony, the New World Symphony, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony.
Maestro Amado lives in Wilmington with his wife, violinist Meredith Amado, and their three children.
Jonathan Schiffman's imaginative, fresh and contemporary approach to repertoire and programming has captured the interest of both orchestras and audiences throughout Europe and the US. Informed by his background as a composer, Schiffman draws on a strong interest in contemporary music as well as a wide core repertoire to produce programmes which are both unique and appealing. His open enthusiasm and charismatic approach towards conducting have earned him the respect and admiration of many strong supporters. After two seasons as assistant to Kurt Masur at the Orchestra National de France and Ivan Fischer at the Budapest Festival Orchestra, Schiffman held the position of Music Director with the Orchestre Lyrique de Région Avignon-Provence from 2007-2010, during which time audience subscriptions doubled. In February 2006, Schiffman made his subscription concert debut with the Orchestre National de France which resulted in a 2008 reengagement as well as debuts with the Opéra National de Lorraine and the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire.
During the 2009-10 season, Schiffman made a number of notable debuts including with the Orchestre de Paris, the Northern Sinfonia in a sell-out concert with Sarah Chang at the Royal Albert Hall, the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the Gävle Symphony Orchestra. He also returned to the Opéra National de Lorraine to conduct a double-bill of Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti and Ravel L'Enfant et les Sortilèges. In 2010-11, Schiffman has debuts with the Orchestre National de Lyon, BBC Scottish Symphony, RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin, Het Gelders Orkest, Helsingborg Symphony and the Norrlands Opera Orchestra.
Born and raised in New York City, Schiffman began studying cello at age five. Piano and composition studies followed shortly afterwards. Upon graduating with honours from Yale where he was Music Director of the Yale Bach Society Orchestra & Chorus, Schiffman attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival as a conducting fellow. He subsequently received a master's degree from Juilliard, where he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller. In 2001, Schiffman made his professional conducting debut with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. His success there led to several return engagements as well as concerts with the National Symphony, Eugene Symphony, and Richmond Symphony orchestras. Schiffman moved to Paris in 2003 to study composition with Narcis Bonet as a Fulbright scholar.
An active composer himself, Schiffman has a particularly close affinity to new music. He has conducted premieres by a number of prominent composers including a European premiere of Wolfgang Rihm Dritter Doppelgesang with the Orchestre National de France. He also conducted the world premiere performance of Stravinsky's last work, entitled, Four Preludes and Fugues transcribed from The Well-Tempered Clavier.
* List of faculty members is subject to change without notice.
Those interested should complete the online application and upload the following material via our online application site.
- Submit video recordings of applicant’s conducting of two contrasting works (maximum of 30 minutes).
- Recommendations are optional