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Friday, October 31, 2014

Recognition in The American Prize conducting competition

I am happy to see that our work in Hradec Kralove is being recognized even in America.  In October of 2014, I was awarded Honorary Mention as one of the top 4 conductors in the category professional orchestra of The American Prize conducting competition.

This competition is based solely on video recordings, and the performances of mine which were judged were all from my recent educational concerts with the Hradec Kralove Philharmonic.  These videos may all be seen on youtube:
Stravinsky - The Firebird Suite
Mussorgsky - Pictures from an Exhibition

Our educational concerts continue in Hradec Kralove with a performance of all music by Leos Janacek on Wednesday, November 26.  The program features works of Janacek spanning over 35 years:

- Lachian Dances (1891)
- Jealousy Overture (1895)
- Taras Bulba (1918)
- Sinfonietta (1926)
- Glagolitic Mass, Uvod & Intrada (1927) 

and here is a link to that info in Czech:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Conductor's Gestures - Hidden Characters

It was a wonderful surprise to discover that a team of Hungarian graphic designers had analysed my conducting gestures from my youtube video of the Bach/Stokowski Toccata & Fugue, and they even created a graphic realization of those gestures! 

Daniel Nagy of Hidden Characters said: "This work was made for a graphic competition called 'music to my eyes' (organized by the Society of Hungarian graphic designers). I concentrated on the name of the competition, and I found out that to visualize the gestures of a conductor would be a very adequate way to make some kind of a visible picture of music."

Here is a link to their work. Daniel Nagy and Peter Orban of Hidden Characters:

Thursday, December 01, 2011

La mer, Firebird, & Vixen in Ostrava & Zlin 2011

It was a great pleasure to be invited for return engagements with both the Janacek
Philharmonic Ostrava and the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin.

We performed Igor Stravinsky's Firebird, Leos Janacek's The Cunning Little Vix
en, & Claude Debussy's La mer in educational concerts entitled "Colors of the Orchestra".

Our concerts also included images from Russian paintings of the Firebird story, the original drawings which inspired Rudolf Tesnohlidek in creating the tale of the Cunning Little Vixen, and a film with images of the sea!

The film of the sea was created by Gilda Tabarez, and every image was planned to match the mood of Debussy's music. It was a true thrill and adventure to synchronize the orchestra with the film, and I was extremely satisfied with both the musicians and the talented work of Gilda! You may view her film here:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Slovak Sinfonietta in Zilina & Tomas Vinklat in Hainburg

I am very fortunate to be able to conduct in Slovakia and I am thankful that the Slovaks are so understanding of my limitations in regard to their language. To Czechs, Slovak may be very easy to understand, but although I understand Czech, Slovak is still often a very foreign language for me. So it is always a relief when the Slovaks seem to not mind that I am speaking Czech to them.

I had previously only conducted once in Bratislava with the Slovak Philharmonic and once before in Zilina with the Slovak Sinfonietta. Now in May of 2011, I was invited for a return engagemnet in Zilina, and we took the orchestra to Austria where I conducted once more for the Haydn Gesellschaft of Hainburg. Our concert in Zilina featured young soloists: soprano Zlata Krautová in Mozart's concert aria Bella mia fiamma, and Barbora Gálová in Mozart's Flute Concerto in D-major. More photos are available here.

The concert began with the sparkling overture to Il signor Bruschino by Rossini and later featured rich romantic colors in Wagner's Siegfried Idyll. The four principal string players of the Slovak Sinfonietta were also featured prominently in the virtuosic Introduction and Allegro for String Orchestra by Edward Elgar.

Our concert was repeated in Hainburg, but this time with violin soloist Tomas Vinklat who has been a member of the Vienna Philharmonic for 13 years and performs on a rare 1723 Gofriller violin. He performed the Haydn Violin Concerto in G-major as well as the Rachmaninoff Vocalise in the premier of my own arrangement for violin solo and string orchestra.

It was a wonderful honor to accompany a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and to perform Haydn's music in a city where he lived!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mussorgsky's "Pictures from an Exhibition" with paintings!

I always enjoy returning to conduct in places I have been before and especially to work with musicians who I met long ago. It was in 1994 that I first conducted in Ostrava with a student orchestra, and at least five of those same musicians are still in the Janacek Philharmonic Ostrava today!

Together, we performed Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures from an Exhibition" in educational concerts which featured some of the original paintings by Viktor Hartmann which inspired the creation of this music!

We also showed the audience how to read and follow a full orchestra score, and we presented pages of the music (with colorful highlighted hints) synchronized with the orchestra's performance.

The concerts were such a success, that the orchestra has invited me back for five performances of the same concert in March of 2012!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Hi, I am a conductor from the New Orleans area who has been working in Europe, and when I recently came back to visit Louisiana, it was suggested that I should upload my photos onto the internet in case the originals are destroyed in the next hurricane!

So I will use this space for storing photos and chronicles of some of my conducting experiences and travels. I hope this will also be a way to get back in touch with the many friends I have met around the world. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

best wishes,


If you would like to read my resume and bio, please click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Salonen masterclass in Singapore

I have just recently returned from a most rewarding conducting journey. I was one of three conductors invited to a masterclass with maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Singapore! The orchestra which we conducted was a combination of orchestras from three different countries with musicians from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore, the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and the Guildhall School of Music in London.

After, maestro Salonen worked on Debussy's La Mer with us and this international student orchestra, as part of the Singapore Sun Festival we were then able to watch him conducting La Mer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

he orchestra was fantastic and the people were very friendly. I especially enjoyed making friends with the locals from Singapore and sampling their wide variety of Asian cuisine. But to top it all, right after conducting, I was on a beautiful beach at the southernmost point of continental Asia.! Paradise :-)

If only the world were full of places with beautiful weather all year round, sunny beaches, and first-class orchestras. Anyone have any suggestions? ...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

à travers la mer, pour 'La Mer'

It is with great anticipation that I am now preparing to depart for my first time to conduct in Asia. I have been selected as one of three conductors to participate in a masterclass with maestro Esa-Pekka Salonen in Singapore! I have always been a big fan of his style and programming, and you can find many videos of him on
The masterclass repertoire includes Brahms - Symphony #2 and Stravinsky's Firebird, but the main work is Debussy's La Mer. You may find some quotes by Debussy on my page of favorite quotations along with two excerpts from the La Mer autograph. The wave image which I have included here is a copy from wikipedia of "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" which inspired Debussy when composing La Mer. There is also a beautiful video of a sunrise on the Gulf of Mexico (where I grew up) set to the opening of La Mer on youtube.

Educational concerts in Zlin, Spring & Fall of 2008

I have just finished conducting some exciting educational concerts for students aged 15 to 17 with the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in Zlin. In the Spring, we performed a program of Folksong in the Symphony, similar to the concerts I previously conducted in Hradec Kralove including Brahms, Mahler, and Tchaikovsky. But this time, we also added Leos Janacek's Lachian Dances. Each of the dances was performed first in its original version by the Moravian folk ensemble Cimbalova Muzika Struna (in the photo), and then the orchestra played the corresponding dance as arranged by Janacek!

The Spring concerts were such a success, that I was invited back now in the Fall, and this time I suggested a more challenging program: Britten - Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Bach - Toccata & Fugue in d minor as arranged by Leopold Stokowski (!), and Wagner - Prelude to Die Meistersinger. Some people were doubtful if the Wagner might not be too difficult for the 15 year-olds, but the students seemed very enthusiastic with their applause always coming right during the final chord! It was also a well prepared logical ending to the concert which first introduced the instruments of the orchestra and presented them in Britten's fugue, then the Bach offered a further opportunity to explain the concept of counterpoint and fugue to the students. Finally, I was able to take apart the Meistersinger climax to show them the brilliant counterpoint of all three main themes coming together at the same time.

I'm glad that this concert took place in a hall with such a nice organ. It was a thrill to be able to play the opening of the Bach Toccata on the organ and then immediately conduct it., and I was particularly impressed with how well the orchestra handled this extremely virtuosic program!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beethoven's Vienna & conducting in Admont Austria

This summer I had the opportunity to work with conductors Achim Holub and Toby Purser in Austria at the International Summer Academy Admont. The main repertoire was Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Beethoven's Eroica, thus I took the opportunity to visit Beethoven's home in Heiligenstadt and the Eroicahaus in Vienna.

I was fortunate to visit these locations in Vienna during the most beautiful weather. I especially enjoyed the quiet walk along the Eroicagasse in Heiligenstadt which leads off into the woods, streams, and fields where Beethoven must have often collected his thoughts.

Viewing the first page of the Eroica manuscript, with Napoleon's name scratched out and ripped through to the opening chords was a perfect inspiration. In Admont, I was also a finalist in the conducting competition and conducted Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the Grazer Kammerphilharmonie.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

home in New Orleans

I am just visiting New Orleans now for Christmas, and then soon I will be in Vienna to work as Assistant Conductor / Studienleiter on Janacek's "Kata Kabanova" at Theater an der Wien.

Here's the latest news:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Conducting excerpts available on

I am now in the process of making my conducting videos available on-line at

Already I have found a few of my friends' and colleagues' conducting videos there, such as Steve Ellery, David Rahbee, Scott Jackson Wiley, Noam Zur & soprano Jessica Tivens.

I hope you will enjoy the videos and post comments or video responses. My youtube address is:

Friday, July 13, 2007


This summer, I am working in Austria as an assistant on Verdi's Il Trovatore in Gars am Kamp. Many of the roles here are triple-cast, so this is a great opportunity to learn the opera from many different perspectives. We are performing outside in the ruins of an old castle. One of the most magical moments was while I was playing piano for a solo coaching with Azucena inside the castle: during the act 4 duet, one of our tenors in a nearby room joined in, and by chance while we were in a G-major section, the church bells from the village below began ringing a perfectly tuned G. Similarly, we have often had dramatically stormy weather to accompany the act 4 "miserere".since I didn't have any photos from Gars, I'm including this one from a nearby festival I visited in Jaromerice.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Barber of Zilina & Botticelli

After winning a prize last week in the Bartok Opera Conducting Competition, I am now in Zilina, Slovakia, to conduct a concert with the Slovak Sinfonietta. On our program are concerti by Handel and Mozart as well as the Trittico Botticelliano by Respighi, and Rossini's Overture to the Barber of Seville. By the way, how many of you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon that went to that overture? I have tried to put a link to it here, but it is often moved from because of copyright issues.

The pictures here do not have copyright problems and are by Alessandro Botticelli (downloaded from wikipedia). These are two of the paintings on which Ottorino Respighi based his Trittico Botticelliano. The first movement is an allegory of spring "La Primavera" which also uses a quotation of an ancient Italian song "ben venga Maggio".

The last movement is the birth of Venus or "la nascita di Venere". I was fortunate enough to see the real paintings during a visit to the Ufizzi in Firenza when I conducted this piece for the first time in Trento in 1997.

Friday, June 08, 2007

PRIZE WINNER of Bartok Opera Conducting Competition

it has been an exciting week for me in Romania where I just conducted Bela Bartok's opera "Bluebeard's Castle" as a finalist in the Bartok Opera Conducting Competition. Out of 36 conductors, I was awarded 2nd prize! You may find more info and photos at:
On sunday, June 10, I will be conducting the 2nd act of Verdi's "La Traviata" in the gala concert.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

FINALIST in 2007 Bartok Opera Competition

This past week, I have conducted La Traviata, Samson et Dalila, I Pagliacci, and Tosca in the Bartok Opera Conducting Competition in Romania, and once again (as in 2005), I have reached the final round! I will be conducting a rehearsal and complete performance of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle on Friday June 8 at 12:00 (11:00 Prague time zone).

My performance of Tosca was supposed to be shown LIVE on the opera's web-site, but due to technical difficulties, it was not viewable. This problem should be corrected now, and I hope you will be able to watch. Please see the previous blog for more info.

Monday, June 04, 2007

LIVE web-cast: Conducting JUNE 6

I am currently participating in the 2nd edition of the Bartok Opera Conducting Competition where two years ago I was one the top finalists. You can watch me conducting via a LIVE web-broadcast by visiting the competition website:

I will be performing Puccini's TOSCA on Wednesday June 6 at 6pm. Romanian time zone (Thus 17:00 in Prague, and 10am. in New Orleans).

Monday, April 30, 2007

Haydn's Hainburg, concert in Austria

In April, I conducted a concert with the Czech Virtuosi orchestra from Brno. We performed in Hainburg, Austria. This is a city near Vienna where Josef Haydn lived.

Quoting from wikipedia: "Haydn's parents noticed that their son was musically talented and knew that in Rohrau he would have no chance to obtain any serious musical training. It was for this reason that they accepted a proposal from their relative Johann Matthias Franck, the schoolmaster and choirmaster in Hainburg, that Haydn be apprenticed to Franck in his home to train as a musician. Haydn therefore went off with Franck to Hainburg (seven miles away) and never again lived with his parents. He was six years old."

We performed works by Purcell, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and a concerto for Basset Horn by J.G. Heinrich Backofen (as opposed to Offenbach).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cesky Krumlov 2006

In May of 2006, I had the great honor of conducting a concert to celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War II. This concert was especially rewarding for many reasons:
  • we performed in the beautiful castle of Cesky Krumlov,
  • the program was filled with extremely exciting music (Smetana - Overture to the Bartered Bride, Dvorak - Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky - Symphony #5),
  • the soloist Jiri Barta was one of the best on the entire planet for this piece (!),
  • and most of all the South Bohemian Chamber Orchestra played on a world class level not only in the concert but also with care and intensity during the rehearsals!

Brno - Rite of Spring & Requiem 2005

Perhaps the biggest surprise in my career came one sunday morning in March of 2005. At 9 am, I received a phone call inviting me to replace a conductor on short notice in Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" with the Brno Philharmonic!

I had already been visiting Brno frequently to study Janacek's manuscripts, but I had never expected to receive such a challenging opportunity with this prestigious orchestra. Our program included Dvorak's "Wild Dove" and the "Variations on a Theme of Haydn" by Brahms.

Not only did the orchestra offer me a future concert, but they were also kind enough to offer their services with me in a benefit concert for victims of hurricanes Katrina & Rita. In November 2005, we performed Albinoni's Adagio and Mozart's Requiem with the Czech Philharmonic Chorus of Brno. All proceeds went to the Gulf Coast Orchestra Relief fund which aided musicians affected by the hurricanes.