New ballet conducting fellowship announced in London and Birmingham

Sarah Kirkup Thu 17th May 2018

Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet create unique opportunity for aspiring ballet conductors

Koen Kessels will mentor the new Constant Lambert Fellow (photo: N Timonera)

Koen Kessels will mentor the new Constant Lambert Fellow (photo: N Timonera)

A new training programme for ballet conductors has been launched by The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Called The Constant Lambert Fellowship, the two-year post will provide invaluable experience to the successful candidate, from conducting rehearsals, education projects and workshops to providing cover for specific Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet productions.

The new Fellowship is named after the Founding Music Director of The Royal Ballet and is the first of its kind in the UK. Alongside numerous performing opportunities, the Constant Lambert Fellow will receive vital mentoring, primarily from Koen Kessels, Music Director of both companies.

When Kessels spoke to Gramophone back in September 2016, he lamented the lack of training available to conductors in the ballet world – particularly compared to opera – and spoke of his desire to create more opportunities for aspiring ballet conductors.

The tide was already beginning to turn with the appointment of Matthew Scott Rogers as the ROH’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme from the start of the 2016/17 season. And back in 2015, Jonathan Lo had been appointed BBC Performing Arts Fellow with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Rambert, which then evolved into the post of Conducting Fellow with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. But Kessels wanted to roll out a Fellowship programme both nationally and internationally, in order to attract and nurture musicians with potential for conducting ballet. This latest development is a significant step towards achieving this.

‘It is a great moment in the musical history of the Royal Ballet companies to undertake this joint initiative in establishing the next generation of conductors for ballet,’ he said. ‘We are presenting an opportunity for the Lambert Fellow to immerse themselves in the musical heritage of both companies and to learn from our world-class musicians in London and Birmingham.’

Assisting Kessels in the mentoring process will be Barry Wordsworth, Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Ballet, and Paul Murphy, Principal Conductor of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Auditions will take place in London in June, and the role will commence in September 2018. An online application form is available at recruitment.roh.org.uk

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