Orchestra Conducting Workshop

Orchestral conducting workshop in Weill Hall

January 16–18, 2024
Green Music Center
Sonoma State University

Fellow spots are filled, but still accepting applications for Associate spots.

Workshop Overview

This workshop, led by world-renowned conducting pedagogue Markand Thakar, focuses on developing essential physical control and building musical understanding. Participants will work with the Vintner's Chamber Orchestra- Sonoma County’s professional string orchestra - on the following repertoire: 

Mozart, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (K. 525)

Elgar, Serenade for Strings

Holst, St. Paul Suite

All ensemble sessions will be captured on digital video, which Fellows are free to use without conditions.

Fellows will participate in daily technique sessions, video reviews, and directed lunch conversations, and will have opportunities to work with the small and large ensembles on each of the three works under the direction of Maestro Thakar. Associates will participate fully in all activities beyond conducting the ensembles.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, participants are invited to sit on stage to observe the rehearsals of the Santa Rosa Symphony. The program is Bernard Herrmann's Suite from Psycho, John Williams' Three Pieces from Schindler's List, Maurice Jarre's Suite from Lawrence of Arabia, and Rachmaninoff's Symphony no. 3. Conductor is Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong.

All sessions are held at the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University, consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful and acoustically perfect performing arts centers in the United States. Sonoma State University is in stunning Sonoma County, just minutes away from hundreds of world-class wineries, restaurants, the Pacific Coast and a myriad of outdoor adventures.


Workshop Schedule

Day 1 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2024
1:00 - 2:30          Opening Talk
2:45 - 3:45          Technique session
4:00 - 6:30          Evening string quintet session
7:30 - 10:00        Santa Rosa Symphony rehearsal (optional)

Day 2– WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2024
9:00 - 10:00        Technique Session
10:00 - 12:30       String Quintet session
12:30 - 1:30         Lunch Q&A (lunch provided)
2:00 - 3:00           Video Review
3:30 - 5:30           Technique session
7:30 - 10:00          Santa Rosa Symphony rehearsal (optional)

Day 3 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 2024
9:00 - 10:00         Technique Session
10:00 - 12:30       Morning Orchestra Session
12:30 - 1:30         Lunch Q&A (lunch provided)
2:00 - 3:00           Video Review and wrap-up
7:30 - 10:00        Santa Rosa Symphony rehearsal (optional)


About Markand Thakar

Markand Thakar black and white headshotMarkand Thakar is renowned world-wide as one of the major conducting pedagogues of the 21st century. For 20 years co-director of Graduate Conducting (with Gustav Meier) at the Peabody Conservatory, he is Director of Conducting Programs International and Visiting Faculty at the Juan N. Corpas University School of Music in Bogota, Colombia.

As a conductor Maestro Thakar has appeared with some 40 orchestras across North America, in addition to orchestras in Asia and Europe. Currently Music Director emeritus of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, his career included stints as Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Associate conductor of the Colorado Symphony, and Music Director of the Duluth Superior Symphony. Notable among his studies was his work with the legendary conductor Sergiu Celibidache. Thakar is the author of On the Principles and Practice of Conducting (University of Rochester Press, 2016) Looking for the "Harp” Quartet: An Investigation into Musical Beauty (University of Rochester Press, 2011), and Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making (Yale University Press, 1990).

Students of Maestro Thakar have won significant conducting positions across North America and internationally, including music directorships of the Aachen & Bochum Symphony Orchestras and the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, in Germany, the Orchestre national d’Île de France, the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Venezuela, the Changwon Philharmonic Orchestra of South Korea, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra of Spain, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Michoacán of Mexico, the Sofia New Symphony Orchestra of Bulgaria, and the symphony orchestras of Winnipeg, Hartford, Charleston, Oklahoma City, Eugene, Bozeman, El Paso, Lubbock, Muncie, Williamsport, Amarillo, Illinois, Berkeley, Yonkers, Mid-Atlantic, Sioux City, Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Fresno, Lake Forest, Hamilton (Ontario), Washington-Idaho, Young Musician's Foundation, and Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestras. Students of his have held staff conducting positions with the Metropolitan and Indianapolis Opera Companies, and the orchestras of Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Seattle, Portland (OR), Richmond, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Phoenix, Charlotte, Kansas City, Canton, Portland (ME), Winston-Salem, and El Paso, as well as numerous collegiate positions. Among his students are Grand Prize winners in the Malko, Eduardo Mata, Memphis International, Mario Gusella International, and Fifth International Prokofiev Conducting Competitions. markandthakar.com



Conducting Fellow: $900
Conducting Associate: $200


How to Register

To register for the event, please click here https://forms.gle/tKq8LKFj6WkqiuPA7. Participants will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration will be considered complete on receipt of payment. Registration closes on December 15, 2023. (Note: There is no application fee)

Payment Link



On-campus housing is not available. Recommended hotels in the area are Oxford Suites and the Doubletree Hilton in Rohnert Park. There are also many rentals in the area available through airbnb. Parking passes for the Sonoma State campus will be provided for all participants.


What people are saying about studying with Maestro Thakar:

Students of Markand Thakar are saying...



Green Music Center


Contact: Alexander Kahn

Alex Kahn headshot

(717) 698-0840

(link sends e-mail)

Schroeder Hall
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Date and Time Ticket Link
Tuesday, January, 16, 2024, 8:00am
Wednesday, January, 17, 2024, 8:00am
Thursday, January, 18, 2024, 8:00am