For many years, the Bamberg Symphony has worked hard to support the region’s young orchestral players via numerous educational projects. With the founding of its own Orchestra Academy during the 2010/2011 season, the Bamberg Symphony created an international institution for training future international players. By selecting highly-gifted young instrumentalists of various nationalities and endowing with a two-year bursary, it aims to equip them with specific skills and knowledge which cannot be acquired at music college, at least not to the right level – and the Orchestra Academy doesn’t confine itself to the purely musical, but assigns equal importance to developing the students’ so-called “soft skills” and personal qualities. Academy students are given various positions within the relevant orchestral sections, allowing them to test their capabilities and grow alongside their colleagues, into team players with leadership qualities.
6 Pillars of our Training Programme:
As the Orchestra Academy’s central pillar, students participate in the Bamberg Symphony’s regional, national and international concert projects, as well as radio and CD recordings and associated rehearsals. In their daily work alongside their orchestral colleagues, students learn a wide range of symphonic orchestral repertoire, become acquainted with music old and new, get a chance to collaborate with internationally renowned guest conductors and soloists, and make useful contacts. They become a part of the orchestral “microcosm”, and over the two years of their bursary build up a work ethic which is indispensable for an international career. The two-year membership of the Orchestra Academy also involves them in the Orchestra’s busy touring work, as well as giving them experience of playing abroad.
Students receive coaching in technical skills and expressive musicality during one-to-one instrumental tuition from members of the Orchestra, with the choice of tutor left entirely to individual pupils. The minimum required is one tutorial (90 minutes) in the run-up to each new concert project, up to a maximum of four tutorials a month. Répétiteurs are also available to help students prepare set repertoire for auditions and competitions.
The Joseph Keilberth Orchestra Academy lays special emphasis on the preparation of chamber repertoire followed by public concert performances. Appearing in a chamber music ensemble leaves students highly exposed and demands considerable strength of nerve, team spirit and technical perfection. Ensembles are deliberately made up of a mixture of students and Orchestra members, which guarantees a as rich a learning experience as possible.
Coaching for Auditions
To prepare young players musically and psychologically for competitions and auditioning for other orchestras, each season the Orchestra Academy holds two audition training sessions for students. At these sessions they present their repertoire, receive in-depth feedback from their highly experience colleagues in the Orchestra, and afterwards they can undergo a video analysis of their performance with a body-language coach.
Help with Stress Management, Presentation Training, Mediation etc.
The fifth pillar of the Academy’s programme for students consists of additional training with outside experts. They work up specialised repertoire, and are trained to handle the profession’s physical and mental strains, with an extra new emphasis on prevention. Regular workshops are available in, among other topics, mental training, relaxation techniques (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais) and hearing protection. Where possible these are supplemented with seminars or master classes with guest conductors, soloists or contemporary composers, as well as tuition in organology, historical performance practice, and early and modern music. Due regard is paid to the differing requirements of the various instrumental sections.
Bamberg’s Academy programme has a distinct extra dimension, without precedent in the orchestral world: Academy students collaborate with the Education Team of the Bamberg Symphony, and get involved in music outreach. Students supervise school and kindergarten classes when attending rehearsals, join Orchestra colleagues on visits to educational institutions, and introduce the Bamberg Symphony’s work and instruments. They are the first choice to perform at the Orchestra’s special concerts for families, schools and students. Such ‘new faces’ help the Bamberg Symphony break down possible barriers for children and young people, and counter the cliché that classical music is only for old people. In addition, devising, preparing and executing their own education project (such as a concert for schoolchildren), including any PR and administrative work involved, helps Academy students see beyond their “musical horizon” and places the career of a concert artist in its wider organisational context.