January 31, 2012
Michelle Merrill, who is pursuing a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, was named one of four winners of the ninth annual International Conductors Workshop and Competition held January 13-16 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. She was the only American among the winners.
Competing participants, who represented seven foreign countries and six states, conducted the professional ICW orchestra on Martin Luther King Day in a concert of works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Wagner and others.
In a three-day workshop leading up to the competition, the conductors were led through intense instruction on orchestral conducting technique, rehearsal procedure and musical preparation of standard repertoire for full symphony orchestra.
Faculty for the workshop included Dr. Gregory Pritchard, music director of the Gwinnett Symphony Chamber Orchestra; Robert Gutter, music director of the Philharmonia of Greensboro; Nadine Whitney, chair of the Music Department at Wesleyan College and ICW choral director; and Maestro Adrian Gnam, assistant professor of conducting and oboe at Georgia Southern University and music director emeritus of the Macon Symphony Orchestra.
Merrill is currently in her second year of the M.M. program at SMU, where she studies with Dr. Paul Phillips and serves as the assistant conductor and graduate teaching assistant of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. She was a conductor for the Meadows Chamber Orchestra concert at SMU on Jan. 27 and 29 and also recently conducted a work for Voices of Change, Dallas’s premier new music ensemble.
Last summer, she led the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in concert through collaboration with the Eastman Summer Conducting Institute. She has also conducted such ensembles as the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra (Czech Republic), Richmond Symphony (VA), and Ocmulgee Symphony Orchestra (GA) at various workshops in the United States and abroad, and has worked with numerous conductors including Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, JoAnn Falletta, Frank Battisti and Neil Varon, among others.
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