Beyond Beating Time…

A message from Maestro Maurice Peress:

The Queens College Conductor’s Workshop in New York City (the “Tough Love” Workshop) focuses on close reading and musicianship.  If you think you can really ingest a score; can or want to learn to sing, whistle, or play any phrase, parse the thorniest rhythm, and have something to say; we can help you communicate that to an orchestra.

Just beating time and expecting the players to deliver the music does not do it.


You will have ten minutes of podium time every morning, 120 minutes in all, with a professional orchestra. You will leave with videos of your work that can help you apply for other workshops, employment, or simply study to help you improve.

Every afternoon we break into small classes of five student conductors with an experienced conductor/teacher who will review your morning’s work before the orchestra and take you through the next morning’s assignment. Everyone’s body, arms, and hands are different. We can help custom tailor your baton or hand movements to reflect your musicianship.

All of our conducting teachers have years of experience and are currently working music directors of professional, community, or college orchestras.  And we offer a workshop orchestra of the best professional freelance players who will support your efforts and offer comments that help you communicate better.

After the afternoon group lesson, there will be an informative lecture––with an opportunity to ask questions––by a member of our faculty or a guest composer; This past year we offered lectures about; “Off-the-podium challenges of a music director;” “Stylistic and rhythmic differences between Gershwin’s ragtime and the Be-Bop swing of Ellington or Bernstein;” “Grace notes in Mozart.”  We break this up with field trips to the Dvorak Room at the Czech Center, the Pierpont Morgan Library, and the New York Philharmonic Archives where you will see original scores, holographs, of Dvorak, Mozart, or working scores marked by Bernstein, Mahler and others.