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Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra offers hands-on experiences for young conductors

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The WSO hosted the 2023 RBC Canadian Conductors Showcase this past month, providing four emerging Canadian conductors with a unique professional training opportunity. Shawn Bennett, Juliane Gallant, Lorenzo Guggenheim, and Serena Reuten were immersed in the orchestral world for two days through mentorship with WSO music director Daniel Raiskin and the WSO artistic team.

Shawn Bennett

Julie Gallant

Lorenzo Guggenheim

Serena Reuten

The RBC Canadian Conductor Showcase provides selected conductors with the opportunity to work with a major Canadian orchestra (your WSO) under the guidance and mentorship of Maestro Raiskin, and to acquaint us with talented Canadian conductors for potential future engagement. A two-hour masterclass session was held for all candidates with Raiskin, associate conductor Julian Pellicano, assistant conductor Naomi Woowho came to the WSO through this very program, and a pianist. Conductors also participated in individual one-hour masterclass sessions with Raiskin and the Orchestra and took part in a debrief with WSO musicians and our conducting team.

The WSO also provides training opportunities for young and emerging musicians. Pianist Émilie Strain participated as soloist throughout the Showcase, preparing and performing the first movement, Molto allegro con fuoco, from Feliz Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 25, in G minor. This added depth to the experience; Strain in her first appearance as soloist with a professional orchestra, and for the conductors. Leading a professional orchestra with a soloist created a complex task and a rich learning and growth opportunity for all.

“The RBC Canadian Conductor Showcase is part of the WSO’s strategy and commitment to developing the Canadian orchestral voice. It allows us to provide rare and impactful orchestral training opportunities and experiences for emerging and early career conductors, alongside our other artist development programs – the WNMF Composers Institute for emerging and early career composers and the Soloist Training Program,” said Raiskin.

The RBC Emerging Artists Project supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance an artist’s career trajectory. Every year the RBC Foundation donates millions of dollars to hundreds of arts organizations globally to help emerging artists become established. The WSO gratefully acknowledges RBC’s support of the RBC Canadian Conductor Showcase.