Voces Caravan #1 – september 2013

I september  2013 deltog Peter Hanke samt fire dirigentstuderende fra Voces Academy i en international karavane for at udbrede kendskabet til akademiets læringsmetoder i en række forskellige undervisningsmiljøer i Europa. Dette resulterede i tre masterclasses på fem dage arrangeret i et internationalt samarbejde mellem St. Mary Magdalen Ensemble i Oxford, Voces Academy i København og Konservatoriet i Haag.


Dan Collins i Haag


International introduction to the Voces Caravan

Between 9 and 13 September 2013, 4 young European conductors will travel across three countries with Peter Hanke, taking part in workshops and masterclasses. The caravan will travel between Oxford, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Hague. The object of the caravan is to expose the conductors to a large number of different experiences, ensembles, and situations in order to develop their musical leadership and their authority in front of an ensemble, using the principles developed over recent years by the Voces Academy in Denmark. Participants will take part in a business workshop and conducting masterclass in all four cities: 9 September in Oxford, 10-11 September in Copenhagen, 12-13 September in Amsterdam.  The Caravan will culminate in a masterclass at the Conservatory in Hague on September 13.


Participant biography

Ulla Christensen is a professional singer born in the north of Jutland, Denmark and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in 2005. She made her début at the Royal Danish Opera in 2006 as Flora in The Turn of the Screw by B. Britten, and has since been doing different parts at the same scene.  She has a great interest in oratorios and cantatas, especially by Bach, and is an often used soloist for this repertoire. Ulla has many years of experience in leading children’s and youth choirs and as a developer of children’s voices.

Daniel Collins is a successful professional counter tenor with a longheld ambition to move into conducting. He was a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, music scholar at Charterhouse, a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College Oxford before going freelance to pursue his singing career with multiple professional ensembles including The Sixteen.

Elisa Houvinen is a choral conductor from Helsinki, Finland, studying conducting at the Sibelius Academy and working as a choral conductor in a semi-professional chamber choir. She is also a professional singer working in the Helsinki Chamber Choir and Savonlinna Opera Festival Choir.

Emil Ritter is a professional singer educated in Copenhagen at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Emil is an experienced ensemble singer singing in the Danish National Radio Choir and the Royal Navy Church Vocal Ensemble.  Emil is also co-founder and member of the Holmens Male Quartet. As a conductor Emil is the leader of the ladies choir Nordklang. As a singer Emil operates comfortably in many genres and has recently been singing Raoul In the Danish version of Phantom of the Opera.


Voces Academy work pattern

The caravan masterclasses will follow the Voces Academy work pattern which aims to explore a number of key aspects in the musical leadership.

A conductor has a very important role as a leader of a choir/orchestra. The skills needed for this special role and a profound reflection on leadership are not obvious. During the masterclasses Peter Hanke reflects with the students and participants on their own leadership skills and trains them to develop different  methods. Peter focuses on aspects of the musical leadership and creates a deep relationship between the ensemble and the conductor in his teaching. All conductors should join the ensemble in the workshop.


Key questions

  • How do you create a naturally evolving authority and credibility as a conductor in front of a choir?
  • What makes the singers trust you as their leader?
  • How do you transfer your musical intentions to the choir by gesturing?
  • Can you serve the choir’s needs and pursue your own musical beliefs at the same time?



  • Thorough feedback on the personal impact and aesthetic impression of the conductors
  • Gestures and embodiment of musical thoughts and leadership actions will be exercised
  • We include the ensemble members in the reflections on leadership development


Three focus points

  • Work with simple pieces of music and focus the direct leadership in gestures
  • Directing methods  – in the search for efficient and inviting rehearsal techniques
  • Personal agendas – the group of conductors gets individual feedback and experiments


Every conductor will appear two or three times in front of the ensemble. All students will participate in the choral ensemble to observe and give feedback to every conductor.

Voces Academy would like to thank Suzanne Algra, the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague, and the Said Business School for their support and assistance.

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