Orchestra for Practical Conducting Lessons (OPD)

Many years ago, the Orchestra for Practical Conducting Lessons (OPD) was founded at the University of Music FRANZ LISZT. This ensemble is the ideal working tool for the practical training of conductors. It replaces the conducting training practised worldwide, in which the orchestra is usually replaced by pianos, with work on the correct orchestral sound.

This successful model was first copied throughout Germany, then several times in Europe, and has now provided conductors with valuable practical building blocks on their way to success for many years. Up to now, the OPD has been supported financially by private sponsorship or by the support of various associations.  Each player and each choir singer receives a fee per hour, with a rehearsal time of three hours.

As a rule, five rehearsals take place in the winter semester and four in the summer semester, with different instrumentations. An orchestra with a maximum of 45 musicians is available for each of the rehearsals. As a rule, five to six conducting students conduct. For the COPD (choir and orchestra for practical conducting lessons) there are also about 25 singers.

This gives the young conductors a great opportunity to expand their practical experience, which is so important for their studies, by working with an orchestra with different literature and instrumentation. In contrast to working with a professional orchestra, there is more room for experimentation in the OPD as a working orchestra; one can and may take risks and develop in this protected space.

In a classic win-win situation, on the other hand, instrumentalists get to know many works of standard literature that they will play in the orchestra later in their careers. During the rehearsals with concert literature, the students of the instrumental classes get the chance to gain experience as soloists with orchestra and conductor. The mutual perception of orchestra musician / choir singer / soloist / conductor is strongly encouraged.

It is especially important for all participants to learn how a conductor must work, why certain procedures do not work, where the instrumentalist must take responsibility. For the conductors, this is the most important part of the training, which cannot be learned in the simulation in the classroom: The direct confrontation with the orchestra apparatus and with the soloists, the differentiated listening to the overall sound in order to bring about specific changes or improvements, the psychological leadership of the group etc.

The long list of successes of the conducting students of the Department of Conducting and Opera Correpetition is proof of the excellent practical work offered at the Weimar University of Music - the OPD/COPD is an important pillar of this model. It is strongly supported by all sides - instrumentalists, singers, conductors - and a continuation of this unique cooperation is desired by all.

The Orchestra for practical conducting lessons needs your support!

For more information about the orchestra and funding opportunities, please contact the following persons.