The Academy runs over a period of two years after each La Maestra International Competition for Women Conductors. Like the Competition, this Academy is co-directed by the Philharmonie de Paris and the Paris Mozart Orchestra. The next Academy will begin in April 2024, after the third edition of the Competition in March 2024.
The aim of the Academy is to provide professional support for fellows not only on a national level, but also on international level. Taking advantage of the resources and artists who are permanently invited, the Philharmonie has set up a series of artistic, pedagogical and social actions intended to support the Academy participants: concerts, advice, workshops, communication, masterclasses, Démos project…
The winners and semi-finalists of the 2024 La Maestra Competition will take precedence in participating in the 2024 Academy.
Concert engagements can be offered to Academy participants as part of the Philharmonie de Paris season: concerts for the general public, educational concerts, concerts with amateurs, school concerts, etc.
The Orchestre de Paris as well as the resident orchestras and ensembles of the Philharmonie de Paris (Orchestre National d’Île-de-France, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Les Arts Florissants) are associated with this project, as well as certain orchestras regularly invited.
The Paris Mozart Orchestra offers the opportunity to co-direct concerts programmed at the Philharmonie de Paris and on tour in prestigious international venues.
The concerts are jointly conducted by Claire Gibault and the Academicians. For the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 seasons, these concerts are labelled “Nova Mondo”.
In addition, the Academy participants can conduct the Academy’s partner regional orchestras.
A partnership with Génération Opéra (formerly the Centre Français de Promotion Lyrique) also provides the opportunity for the participants to receive proposals to conduct productions in the largest concert halls in France.
On a European scale, the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO) network of venues supports the Academy’s project, either directly in the context of productions in these venues or through resident orchestras.
The Orchestre de Paris can involve the women conductors in some of its work weeks by entrusting them with the baton, either to assist one of the guest conductors (Paavo Järvi, Frank Strobel, etc.) or alongside choir masters Marc Korovitch and Ingrid Roose. Likewise, the Paris Mozart Orchestra gives the finalists and semi-finalists an opportunity to work with their Music Director Claire Gibault on eclectic and ambitious projects based on contemporary creations and educational projects as part of the Orchestre au Bahut initiative.
In the same spirit, other orchestras and ensembles that are regulars at the Philharmonie de Paris involve the women conductors in rehearsals for workshop weeks.
The women conductors can work on an ad hoc or regular basis with the conductors of partner orchestras and venues in France and Europe.
Opportunities outside Europe may also be offered, as is the case for Stephanie Childress who assisted conductors in Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco as part of the Institut Français’ Villa Albertine residency program in spring 2022.
The professors giving masterclasses to the Academy participants are eminent conductors, in residence at the Philharmonie de Paris or invited, such as Marin Alsop, Claire Gibault, Tugan Sokhiev, Pablo Heras-Casado, François-Xavier Roth, David Reiland, and Douglas Boyd.
In the case of masterclasses open to the public, the scores for the performed works could be projected onto a screen so that the public get a finer appreciation of the details of the work. The Pierre Boulez collection, available at the Philharmonie de Paris, allows the public to work on the scores of the repertoire annotated by Pierre Boulez.
Masterclasses given by the Academy participants in conservatories in Paris and all over France to promote the work of conducting among young people can be organised.
The Academy also allows the enrolment of the Academy participants in competitions, master-classes or training courses managed by other organisations in France and abroad. Partnerships are in place, notably with the isdaT in Toulouse, Marin Alsop’s Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship, Elizabeth Askren’s Transylvanian Opera Academy, the masterclasses at the Cité Musicale-Metz given by David Reiland and others.
In-depth work with professionals in the organisation of musical life is crucial to understanding the artistic, political, social and educational issues at stake. The profile of the invited personalities is as follows: artistic agents, orchestra directors, venue directors, programmers, journalists, press officers, conservatory directors, orchestra soloists, directors of record companies and digital platforms, communication directors, sponsorship directors, etc.
The topics covered can concern the professional contacts to be implemented, the international network, marketing, program selection, audience building, media relations, links with sponsors and corporations, the place of the artist in society, the link with contemporary creation, the articulation of concerts with the educational and social dimensions. To this end, Google and YouTube provide the winners with a number of tailored resources, tools and expertise.
The Philharmonie de Paris and the Paris Mozart Orchestra have partnered with Marin Alsop and the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship to offer a series of online professional meetings exclusively for La Maestra Competition winners and Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship alumnae. These meetings cover a variety of topics including: “How to create your own musical ensemble”, “How to deal with a crisis”, “The relationship between the conductor and the musicians”, “The role of the concertmaster”, “How to play Haydn or Mozart with modern instruments”, etc. These discussions feature a distinguished list of speakers, including world-renowned conductors, prestigious orchestra managers and highly sought-after agents.
The Academy can also provide financial support for the realization of a first recording with a record label or on a concert platform broadcast on the Internet.
The Academy also provides funding for photographic shoots to enhance the communication materials of the Academicians.
The Education Department of the Philharmonie and the Orchestre de Paris organise numerous activities and projects for children, young people and amateur musicians. These are all opportunities for fellows to participate as conductors in educational and training activities. Fellows may be offered the opportunity to conduct “Family Concerts” as well as to prepare and conduct concerts involving amateur musicians.
Fellows can choose to be involved in the artistic, pedagogic and social work of the DEMOS project (Dispositif d’Education Musicale et Orchestrale à Vocation Sociale), offering under-privileged children throughout France the opportunity to make music in an orchestra. This project has developed exciting and effective new methods of learning and practice. Training in DEMOS educational techniques will be gained through joining dynamic work sessions led by experienced DEMOS conductors. Thus, fellows could be offered to conduct the advanced DEMOS orchestra in partnership with the Orchestre de Paris for a season as well as conduct regional DEMOS orchestras for up to three years.