The Mahler Conducting Fellowship

May 11-21, 2018

cropped-blocks_image_6_1.pngThe Colorado MahlerFest, Kenneth Woods- Artistic Director, is proud to support the Mahler Conducting Fellowship program for outstanding young professional conductors.

Since 2016, each May Colorado MahlerFest invites 2-3 fellows to participate in the festival as assistant conductors. Fellows will attend daily score study and seminar sessions with the Artistic Director, work with guest lecturers and speakers and conduct in a public masterclass.


Kenneth Woods- Artistic Director- Colorado MahlerFest, Principal Conductor- English Symphony Orchestra, Founder and Director- Rose City International Conductors’ Workshop. Woods is one of today’s most influential and prolific recording artists and a leading conducting pedagogue who as taught at conservatories, festivals and universities across the USA, Canada and UK. He will be working with the Fellows on a daily basis throughout the festival on score study, technique and career development.

Michael Young- Assistant instructor and class pianist.An alumni of the inaugural class of Mahler Conducting Fellows, Michael Young is Artistic Director of the Beethoven Orchestra for Humanity and Assistant Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra. He has taught conducting at the Royal Academy of Music.


As assistant conductors:

Mahler- Das Lied von der Erde (full orchestraversion)

Sibelius- Symphony no. 7

For the public masterclass:

Gustav Mahler arr. Schönberg/Riehn- Das Lied von der Erde arr. for chamber ensemble

Musicians in the Public Masterclass

Stacey Rishoi, Mezzo-soprano
Brennen Guillory, Tenor
Alexandra Aguire, Flute
Victoria Brawn, Oboe
Daniel Silver, Clarinet
Sarah Fish, Bassoon
Lydia Van Dreel, Horn
Amy Hearting, Percussion
Michael Young, Piano
Laura Moylan, Harmonium/Celesta
Jorja Fleezanis, Violin 1
Karen Bentley Pollick, Violin 2
Lauren Spalding, Viola
Andrew Brown, Cello
Craig Butterfield, Bass

Application – Closed for 2018

Please check back next year for information on the 2019 program.

Please apply via email to

Include a CV, a brief cover letter, two letters of recommendation, and a link to a recent video of your conducting.

Finalists may be asked to participate in a brief Skype interview.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS – Applications are now closed.

Applicants will be informed of their status by 25 March, 2018

The program

As assistant conductors of the MahlerFest Orchestra, fellows will attend all rehearsals and work as a team assisting with balance and other rehearsal feedback. Fellows may be asked to conduct in run-throughs of portions of the repertoire in rehearsal and will take a sectional rehearsal during the week. Fellows should plan to be podium ready on all festival repertoire on the first day of the festival and may be asked to conduct at any time during the week.

There will be daily morning seminar classes during the week of the festival. Classes will incorporate a mixture of score study and analysis, discussion of matters arising from the rehearsals and daily sessions working on technical conducting challenges with piano. Fellows are encouraged to choose selections from the festival repertoire they want to work on in the piano sessions well in advance. There will also be visits to the conducting seminar from visiting composers and scholars

On the Thursday of festival week, Fellows will conduct members of the MahlerFest Orchestra in a public masterclass. The masterclass will be filmed.

Fellows should also plan to attend the public seminar of the final Saturday of the festival.

Tuition and fees

Participation in the Mahler Fellowship Program is generously supported by Colorado MahlerFest and our educational partners. All students accepted will receive a full scholarship worth $1,925 which covers all course fees and tuition.

Where possible, the Festival will arrange for Fellows homestay with friends of the festival. Fellows are responsible for their own travel to and from Boulder, Colorado and their own daily expenses while at the Festival. Fellows are expected to provide their own scores using the editions specified above.



Francis Scully– Conductor, New Resonance Chamber Orchestra

Michael Young– Assistant Conductor- English Symphony Orchestra

Boon Hua Lien– Assistant Conductor, Polish National Radio Symphony

Tal Samuel- Fellow Conductor, Indianapolis Symphony

Peter Wadl- Editor, new critical edition of Mahler 10th Symphony Performing Version by Cooke.

Dean Whiteside- Conducting Fellow, New World Symphony Orchestra

What past Mahler Conducting Fellows say about the program:

“Thank you so much again for inviting me to participate in the MahlerFest as a conducting fellow. I am really, really grateful to have been invited and so happy that I attended. I learned an amazing amount and was very inspired by the music, music-making, and all of your insights on the podium and in your instruction. It was a very full and stimulating ten days and it exceeded my expectations. Ken, with all of the responsibilities you had throughout the festival, you really went out of your way to include the fellows and make the experience worthwhile. It was also a lot of fun to get to know you and Boon and Michael and hang out. It was a great team.”Francis Scully, 2016 Mahler Conducting Fellow
“As an opportunity for conductors it was innovative and pretty unparalleled in my experience. I got so much both musically and as a conductor. A particular highlight for me was – with your encouragement and support – finally letting go of the idea that ‘I have to keep them going’. This freed me to be able to trust – myself, them, space to really listen, guide and show where necessary and just make music together. It’s so simple in the end…” Michael Young, 2016 Mahler Conducting Fellow
“Colorado MahlerFest has been an incredible experience for me, and the breathtaking scenery of Boulder is the perfect setting for Mahler’s music. Its unique blend of activities, such as daily seminar sessions with Artistic Director Kenneth Woods, rehearsals, films and symposium were both stimulating and thought-provoking. I have learnt a tremendous amount from everyone during the week, and am truly inspired by their passion and love for Mahler.” Boon Hua Lien, 2016 Mahler Conducting Fellow