Gödöllő retreat – feedback

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Comments about our first conductors’ retreat at the Royal Palace in Gödöllő, Hungary.
Sincere thanks for a terrific and highly valuable retreat. I really appreciated the opportunity to spend such a long and focused time with you. It was incredibly useful and I have come away with a highly targeted plan for what I am working on now – a much more coherent understanding than is possible when we are working with the orchestra.
Your encouragement to be flexible and try other things (the start of Egmont for example) means that we stay musical, thinking about the sound we want to achieve – and so the formal elements can grow in their own time and gradually become a more and more effective part of what we do, without prohibiting musical thinking in the meantime.
It was very useful for me in many aspects, and I absolutely did not regret the absence of practical time with an ensemble. Indeed, the theory and considerational depth we entered into during the three days has caused me to completely reconsider my technical, intellectual and creative approach to leading an ensemble.
Thank you for the marvelous retreat! Last year I learned that what I was doing was fighting the musicians and the flow of the music… there was a whole new world out there that I wanted to explore and eventually master and implement in my own conducting. I knew I wanted to change but didn’t really know how to go about it.

Now at least I understand the basic components of what I am after and have a deeper understanding of how auftacts and content/subdivisions within the beat affect the music. I also now know how to use your skill-building exercises and why they are important– and understand better how to apply them. Understanding and having automatic, correct responses are two very different things, though! There is much practicing and thoughtful work to do. Even just two weeks of doing your exercises with the wrist has made a very noticeable difference, though. My orchestra noticed too–at the very first rehearsal.

I thought it was great! And yes, a small group worked well. I also thought that the flexibility of choosing 3 or 6 days was a good idea – with all our busy schedules it makes it more realisable.
It is much better without pianos or other instrumentalists. It meant that we could be really flexible, work on what we wanted and when we wanted, and also not waste time simply running through pieces. Singing from the group is much more useful in this context.
Great venue. Thank you so much for the lovely and generous lunches, and also for our tour on Sunday – I had an excellent day.
Next time I would not be so worried about actually what repertoire we do – provided it is standard rep – because it seems to me now that the point is that it is all part of continuing development so we can trust you, of course, to be helping us progress, progressively finding all the corners of technique and so on; and the music itself is simply a means to an end in this context.

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