Orkney Conductors' Course

11-21 June 2017

 • Guest Course Director Alexander Vedernikov
 • Associate Director Charles Peebles

Now in its 14th year, this course provides a stimulating and supportive environment in which conductors can share in an intensive period of study. Most importantly, as part of the St Magnus International Festival, Orkney Conductors’ Course enables participants to work with outstanding orchestras, ensembles, conductors and soloists. In 2017 these include the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, St Magnus Festival Chorus, the Assembly Project, the BBC Singers and conductors Alexander Vedernikov and Charles Peebles and other festival solo performers. Participants will also work with the St Magnus Composers’ Course and conduct in a Festival concert of new works written by student composers.  

​See below for details of how to apply.

2012 Conductors' and Composers' Course Participants

Initial sessions are with two pianos, focusing on clarity of communication of musical ideas. OCC pianists are Elizabeth Burley, BBC SO, LSO pianist, and Michael Bawtree, Scottish Ballet music staff. These two-piano sessions are video-recorded and time is spent reviewing these recordings. The two-piano work prepares students for a full day of rehearsal with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. Other sessions include rehearsals of new works with The Assembly Project, a rehearsal with the St Magnus Festival Chorus and work with the BBC Singers. In addition, the course provides students with the opportunity to hear composers speak about their work as well as seminars with orchestral musicians and orchestral managers. Participants are also offered free tickets for a number of Festival concerts and a Festival Club pass, where they can socialise with professional performers, directors and managers. 

Repertoire will include:

  • Haydn Symphony No. 103
  • Schumann Symphony No. 2
  • Rachmaninov The Rock
  • Shostakovich Symphony No.9 
  • Mozart Requiem
  • Wagner Overture to The Flying Dutchman
  • Rimsky Korsakov Scheherezade
  • Plus new works by leading composers and St Magnus Composers’ Course participants

How to apply

There are no age restrictions. Eight students will be accepted onto the course, for which applications must be submitted by Monday 6 March 2017. Successful applicants will be notified of the result in the week beginning 3 April, and those unsuccessful in the following week.

Applications forms may be obtained from:

Courses Administrator (OCC)
St Magnus International Festival
60 Victoria Street
KW15 1DN

tel +44 (0)1856 871445

email Click here to email us

or download form here (Word format) or here (pdf format)

Along with the completed form, applications must also include:

  • a DVD recording of your conducting

Course fee: £690

The fee includes:

  • all tuition
  • Up to 14 nights' self-catering accommodation in Kirkwall within walking distance of the teaching spaces. (the duration of the course is 12 nights

Students also receive:

  • free admission to some St Magnus Festival performances
  • an invitation to the opening Festival Reception

Successful candidates will be required to confirm their acceptance by paying a non-refundable deposit of £150 by 14 April and the balance of the fee will become payable by 15 May.

A small number of bursaries towards course fees may be available for talented UK candidates who might otherwise have difficulty in meeting the course fees. If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please tell us why in a covering letter.

Travel to Orkney

For more information on how to get here, see our Orkney page.

Thanks to everyone at the Festival. It was an amazing experience
and I believe I owe my current position to what I learned in
Orkney with Martyn and Charles.

Previous course participant


St Magnus International Festival, 13 Albert Street, Kirkwall, KW15 1HP

T: +44 (0)1856 871445

E: info@stmagnusfestival.com

St Magnus Festival is a charity registered in Scotland. Scottish Charity No SC011666. Company Number SC073825.

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