UMass Conducting Institute recommended (July 25-28, 2012)

Dear Colleagues in Vermont,
I write to recommend that you check out the possibility of taking part in one of the more unique conducting opportunities available to professionals.

Dr. Tony Thornton – whom some of you met at your recent conference – and James Miller are again hosting the UMass Conducting Institute July 25-28. As last summer, Frank Battisti and I will join in the teaching as guests.

The uniqueness of this Institute was apparent to me from the first moments last summer. Not only do all conductors have the opportunity to work with both good wind and choral ensembles, conducting good literature, but the atmosphere is collegial, and tailored to the individual. It most impressive to see an institute that recognizes the professional level of the participants, and helps them discover the strengths and deep techniques they can build on when they return to their “regular” positions as leaders.

While offering plenty of techniques, the understanding is that conducting is deeply personal, and growth means incorporating those ideas that work for the individual, in their particular circumstance. Conductors take away renewed trust in their strengths and openness to incorporating new techniques that feel right for them.

Of the many short-term learning ventures I have seen over the years this is clearly one of the best. You can learn about it at

I hope your summer is restful and nurturing, and that our paths cross in the future.


E. Wayne Abercrombie
Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Artistic Director, Children’s Chorus of Springfield

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