International Conductors' festival - ICF
The International Conductors’ Festival started as a conversation between its would-be co-founders, Matthew Brown and Christophe Rody, in a pub in Estonia. The two were attending another well-known conducting workshop in 2006, and the topic of the evening was the shortcomings of workshops offered to conductors early in their careers.
The first round of the conversation (coinciding with the first round of drinks) consisted of, “this workshop is bad because of this, this and this.” The second round (of conversation and beers) became, “wouldn’t it be great if a workshop did this, this and this?”. By the end of the third round, the question became, “why not us? Why can’t we be the ones to bring these ideas to life?”
Unlike so many great “third round ideas” that often fall to the wayside, our dynamic duo awoke the next morning with the same enthusiasm that fueled the previous evening’s discussion. After leaving Estonia for their respective homelands (Rody to Switzerland, and Brown to the United States), the two would spend the next couple of months hashing out the details of their new project, before tackling a couple of major challenges – finding the right orchestra and the right location.
When it came to finding an orchestra interested in being the “house orchestra” for this new venture, they turned to a friend and former "Cairo Opera House Orchestra-mate" of Christophe’s – Ukrainian French horn player Slava Dembrovsky. When asked his thoughts on the idea, Slava’s suggested the orchestra in-residence at Ukraine’s National House of Organ and Chamber Music. The ensemble’s home was (and still is) the magnificent cathedral of the St. Nicolas Church, in the heart of the country’s capital city, Kiev.
It’s been a long and challenging road to get this far, but with a little help from our friends, we can continue building on that original conversation, and help more emerging conductors gain the real experience they need to develop and hone their skills on the podium.