Inkster Conducts Berlin Philharmonic Musicians in France

A West Liberty University music professor received a rare opportunity and distinct honor when he was selected as a participant in the Conductors Lab, held in Aix-en-Provence, France, July 21 – 25, 2014. Wheeling musician and educator Dr. Matthew Inkster traveled to Provence, France, to conduct 12 members of the Berlin Philharmonic – widely considered the world’s best orchestra. Inkster was one of only a handful of conductors worldwide to take part in the workshop, which is a joint project between the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University and musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Other conductors were from Germany, Russia, Australia, Belgium, England, and the U.S. “I am still so excited about this experience,” Inkster said. “The musicians coming from Berlin were themselves from six different countries, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Albania, Scotland, and Austria. This speaks to the universality of music, and their passion for the art and their own commitments to teaching from the conductor’s podium was a life-changing experience.” The Conductors Lab is hosted by the Vanderbilt Center in Aix-en-Provence, France, and provides a weeklong cooperative learning environment for experienced conductors. Inkster had to submit a curriculum vitae and a 30-minute DVD of live performance work to be considered for the honor. Participants conduct an ensemble of Berlin Philharmonic musicians and receive comments and critique in real-time directly from the musicians themselves. Unlike other workshops Inkster has attended in Colorado and Minnesota, the French lab has no master-conducting teacher. Instead, all feedback is contextualized in follow-up sessions between the musicians and participant conductors, offering conductors a rare opportunity for growth and improvement of skills. Inkster, who also is the conductor of...