As part of a very exclusive post-graduate fellowship in instrumental conducting at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass., in June, Andy David, head of the university's music department, had the rare opportunity to conduct the Boston Pops Orchestra and the U.S. Coast Guard Band.
David auditioned for and was accepted into the New England Conservatory (NEC) Summer Conductors Forum, a prized professional development opportunity.
During an intensive five days, the six participants studied music with Charles Peltz, who is director of both the NEC Wind Ensemble and the Glens Falls Symphony and serves as director of orchestras at the Luzerne Summer Music Center. The participants also studied with Frank Battisti, who formerly directed the NEC Wind Ensemble and founded the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble and World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles.
David also had the opportunity to rehearse with the woodwind section of the Boston Pops Orchestra on Mozart's "Serenade for Winds" (K. 375) and with the full orchestra on Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B flat.
"It was a chance for me to grow as a professional. I was presented with some extremely challenging tasks, and through the process of meeting those challenges I was able to assess my own abilities from a new perspective," David said. "I left with plenty of things to work on. It was also nice to be recognized as a pretty good conductor on the international stage."
In addition to conducting and performing, the participants attended seminars and meetings to gain new knowledge and skills to use in their respective careers. Seminars involved discussion and study of scores, aesthetics, perspectives on music, and conducting a complete ensemble.
For a final exam, the six conductors traveled to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., where David conducted Stravinsky's "Symphonies of Winds" and Hindemith's Symphony in B flat with the Coast Guard Band.
David's colleagues and students will be able to benefit from his accomplishment, said Dr. Chris Jespersen, dean of UNG's College of Arts and Letters.
"Andy's summer conducting experience was both a significant personal recognition for his outstanding musicianship, and a real bonus for the department, for it is this kind of professional development opportunity that then allows faculty to bring the experience into the classroom and enrich the students' learning," Jespersen said.
David served for five years in the U.S. Army Band, performing throughout the United States and in 26 foreign countries as principal trumpet in the Concert Band and as jazz soloist with the Army's Jazz Guardians and Germany-based Soldiers of Swing. David continues to perform professionally with his own group, The David Brothers Band.
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