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SINGERS:  What does a conductor

want and expect from you? 

CONDUCTORS:  What do the singers

and orchestra members need from you?


Learn answers to these questions and many more while collaborating in a one-of-a kind, intensive experience designed to explore the unique and intimate relationship between singers, conductors, and orchestras.  

The Conducting Masterworks Program will study Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH  (Peters full score edition), arias from Mozart's C MINOR MASS (Peters full score edition), and arias from the operatic literature, paying particular attention to the unique problems that occur between the orchestra, conductors, singers, when given limited rehearsal time.  Lessons with John Ratledge consist of working with professional soloists, a string quintet and collaborative pianist.  Conductors will rehearse and conduct a chamber orchestra  on several concerts, including but not limited to:   the Aria Concert, the Grand Finale Concert, and off-campus concerts. The following seminars will be chosen from the following for conductors:  Orchestral Rehearsal Techniques in the Choral/Orchestral Setting, Score Study and Preparation for Conductors, as well as Conductors and Singers Round Table:  Building Meaningful Collaboration.

Singers will participate in master classes, some with orchestra, coachings, private lessons, as well as a variety of workshop sessions, including Conversational Italian and Italian Diction,–recitatives for non-Italian speakers. 

Voice master classes with conductor, orchestra and singers



Watch Now
Dr. John Ratledge 

with some truly gifted singers/now artists that have given so much to me musically and personally. I thought:  "How can I give back to them when they have given so much to me?" To my mind,  these singers should be singing professionally, but for whatever reason, cannot "breakthrough."

Prior to my departure for a seven-month sabbatical in Italy in January 2014, I asked myself, "Why don't you have a symposium while you are in Italy? You are in living in Italy. Why not?   Just do it."  And so I did.


My idea...... So many aspiring conductors have no knowledge of how to collaborate with singers and choirs with the orchestra, and I thought this would be a much-needed collaboration–conductors and singers, singers and conductors.....this collaboration should be rich and it was!    


So, the project was born, and within 24 hours, I had a venue, a collaborative pianist, a string quintet, and a master voice teacher.  I had decided to have the symposium even if there was only one student, and to my astonishment and with gratitude, we had 21 total participants in July, including 7 singers, 3 conductors, 11 faculty and instrumentalists.  It was a dream come true.  And the dream has just begun.  In 2015, we doubled our enrollment and increased our concert series from two to seven concerts.  2018 was the largest and best Symposium to date with  21 singers–a total of 38 total participants, faculty and orchestra, and the best concerts in our history to date. An absolutely fantastic experience!

2020 proves to be one of the most exciting years to date.  I can only thank Marcello Bassi Brugnatelli for his friendship, his belief in me as a human being, musician, and visionary and his generosity by allowing us to use his magnificent villa, Palazzo Bassi Brugnatelli. 

I hope you will consider joining us this summer in magnificent Italy.







Our first symposium in 2014 was one of the crowning achievements of my career, and I couldn't be happier with the extremely talented conductors and singers that participated in this amazingly unique event for the past four years.  I have had a great career, and through all 43 years, I have worked 







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