6.4 Education Around the World

If you are interested in learning more about education options for conductors around the world, you can start by downloading and looking through this overview of  various education courses in Europe and North America. It covers the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, the Nordic Countries, Russia and the USA. 

ConductIT has its headquarters in Europe and the material we publish is thus strongly influenced by the knowledge of teaching practices and methods close to ourselves. However, we obviously recognise that conductors both train and work throughout the rest of the world! We would have loved to provide an extensive list of education opportunities for aspiring conductors in Asia, Africa, South America and Oceania but our knowledge of what is available in these areas is lacking and any attempt would probably lead to an embarrassing and misleading read.

Of course, we are not completely blind to what is going on beyond our borders. For example, the El Sistema movement originally founded in Venezuela is now one of the most famous music programmes in the world that have been recreated in many places throughout the world. Internationally recognised conductors have emerged from this programme, most notably Gustavo Dudamel. 

You can read more about El Sistema on Wikipedia and Sistema Global.

Interview with El Sistema-trained Conductor Christian Vasquez

Another El Sistema trained conductor is Venezuelan-born Christian Vásquez, Chief Conductor of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra from 2013 to 2019. He has continued to work with youth orchestras in his home country for many years after his international breakthrough as a conductor.

Born in Caracas, he joined the San Sebastian de Los Reyes Symphony Orchestra as a violinist at the age of nine. He began conducting studies under the tutelage of José Antonio Abreu in 2006 and was appointed Music Director of the Aragua Juvenile Symphony Orchestra Jose Felix Ribas soon after. He was also Music Director of the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela from 2010 to 2017, notably leading them on many tours in Europe. More about Christian here.

We caught up with Christian after a general rehearsal with the symphony orchestra in Stavanger and asked him about his background and experience with El Sistema and a few other things. Watch his interview below where he elaborates on studying with José Antonio Abreu, working with youth orchestras and talks about what being a conductor is all about.

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