Two seasoned professional conductors with over a 80 years of experience between them, Charles Gambetta and Ovidiu Balan, will mentor student conductors throughout the Advanced Conducting Academy. Dr. Larry Spell, Music Director of the Wasatch Symphony (UT) and student of Gambetta’s Embodied Conducting™ method, will join Maestro Gambetta for Mastering the Concerto, and Gambetta will mentor all students at the Prelude Academy. Mastering the Concerto violinists will study with Prof. Emilio Percan, and pianists will study with piano master teacher Mattia Ometto.
Together, the Institute faculty are an incredible team. Their teaching styles are complementary, and they share an approach to conductor and soloist training that provides students the maximum practical time in front of the ensemble while offering guidance and support when needed. Instruction focuses on building a flexible, expressive technique and developing the professional skills that will enable participants to better convey their artistic interpretations to the musicians in the orchestra, choir and audience.
Charles Gambetta is among those rare artists who demonstrate mastery and artistic excellence in virtually every area of musical endeavor. An inspiring conductor, accomplished composer and arranger, virtuoso performer, successful program administrator, master teacher and published author, he has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments in both academia and the concert hall. As Founder and Music Director of the Young American Symphony Orchestra, he helped young performers bridge the gap between a college/conservatory education and careers in professional music. Concurrent with his doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he served as Music Director of the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra and Assistant Conductor of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. His guest conducting engagements include appearances with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Fayetteville Symphony (NC), the UNCG Orchestra and Opera Theatre and the Philharmonia of Greensboro. Appearances in Europe include the Philharmonic Orchestra “Mihail Jora” of Bacau, Romania, the National Orchestra of Ukraine, the Rome Festival Orchestra, the Varna State Philharmonic and the Catania International Festival Orchestra in Sicily. Known around the world for his research in conductor training, Maestro Gambetta is the creator of the Embodied Conducting™ method, a innovative interdisciplinary curriculum for conductors based on the principles of Laban Movement Studies. He has presented his work at the 2006 Laban for the 21st Century Conference in Bratislava, the 2008 Laban International Conference in London, the 2008 Laban/Barteniff Institute of Movement Studies Symposium and the 2010 College Orchestra Directors Association Conference in Atlanta where he was also a master teacher for the CODA Student Conductor Workshop. Dr. Gambetta teaches at the Advanced Conducting Academy, the Prelude Academy and the Mastering the Concerto course.
Acclaimed as one of the finest conductors in the Eastern European tradition, Ovidiu Balan is currently Music Director and Principal Conductor, Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra, Romania; Principal Conductor, Ploiesti Symphony Orchestra, Romania and Music Director of the Domenico Cimarosa Symphony Orchestra, Aversa, Italy. In 1973 Balan was invited to the USA to study conducting with great conductors and orchestras including Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti and the Chicago Orchestra, Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Aldo Ceccato and the Detroit Symphony, Lorin Mazel and the Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez and the New York Philharmonic and Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony. Maestro Balan returned to the USA in 1988 to conduct a 42 concert national tour organized by Columbia Artists Management with the Costanta, Romania Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 he was invited to bring the Bacau Philharmonic to the USA for a series of benefit concerts for orphans organized by the “Altamura Center for the Arts” in New York. A frequent guest conductor with orchestras throughout Europe, Maestro Balan also serves on the jury for several international competitions including the “International Composition Competition” in Alcoi, Spain and the “International Piano Competition” in Varalo, Italy. Since 1992 he has been the Conductor and member of the jury for “The Piano and Orchestra International Competition” in Cantu, Italy. In 1996 he became the President of the Jury for “The International Instrumental Competition” in San Bartolomeo al Mare, Italy. Maestro Balan’s numerous awards and honors include the 1975 “Theater and Music Association Award” in Bucharest, the 1979 “Art Critics Association Award,” The 1982 “Cultural Merit Award” in Bucharest, the 1994 “Master of Arts Award” in the Republic of Moldavia and the Italian “Journalists Award” in 2000. Maestro Balan teaches at the Advanced Conducting Academy.
Dr. Lawrence Spell has dedicated his career to inspiring students to achieve the highest standards of musical performance. As Director of Orchestras at Salt Lake Community College and Assistant Conductor of the Utah Youth Orchestras and Ensembles, he has developed a reputation for getting results from young musicians by creating a positive and collaborative rehearsal environment. He is also currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Wasatch Symphony, one of the oldest orchestras in Utah. Dr. Spell earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Utah and the Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from East Carolina University. During his time at the University of Utah, he served as the Assistant Conductor for the university orchestras and Salt Lake Symphony. Before moving to Salt Lake City, Dr. Spell was the Music Director and Conductor of the Pitt Community College Symphony Orchestra in Greenville, NC. In addition to his conducting duties, he served as Coordinator for Music and Drama. Dr. Spell has devoted a large portion of his academic research and published writing to the application of Laban Movement Studies to conducting pedagogy. He has studied with Certified Movement Analyst Jackie Hand and Dr. Charles Gambetta, developer of the Embodied Conducting™ Method. Dr. Spell uses LMS in both his private conducting studio and his collegiate conducting classes. This method has proven highly successful with several of his students gaining admission to conducting programs at major universities. Dr. Spell returns to Vidin in 2018 for his second year on the conducting faculty of the Mastering the Concerto course.
Winner of a vast array of national and international prizes in Europe and the United States, Italian pianist Mattia Ometto has established himself as an artist whose gifts harken back to the Golden Age of classical piano performance. His singular artistry is shaped in equal parts by the inspiration derived from his Venetian background and the influence of his studies in Paris with the legendary Aldo Ciccolini and in Palm Springs with American virtuoso Earl Wild. During the 2008 – 2009 season Mr. Ometto appeared in recitals at the Théatre du Rond Point des Champs Elysées in Paris, in New York City at Carnegie Hall, at Redlands University in California and in Venice at Gran Teatro la Fenice. The 2009 – 2010 season saw him appear both in recital and as soloist with orchestra in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Des Moines, Chicago and Boston. As part of his 2011 North American tour, Mr. Ometto appeared as soloist in Los Angeles with the Lyric Symphony Orchestra and again in New York where he returned for the third time to Carnegie Hall. In 2012 he made his debut as soloist in Berlin and Ankara with Academic Baskent Orchestra conducted by Ertug Korkmaz. Live broadcasts of his performances and interviews have been aired on numerous radio stations such as BBC London, Rai International, Radiotre, Raitrade, Radio della Svizzera Italiana, Radioclassica, Radio Romania, Iowa State Radio, Kanal B Ankara and WGBH Boston. In demand as a teacher as well, Mr. Ometto gives master classes at Drake University in Des Moines (Iowa), Redlands University, the International Piano Academy “Aldo Ciccolini” in Trani and the Accademia della Musica in Padua. In 2013 Mr. Ometto joined the faculty at “Arcangelo Corelli” Conservatory in Messina, Italy and was formerly Associate Director of the A&B Festival of Music in New York and Artistic Director of the “Guido Alberto Fano” International Piano Competition in Padova. His discography includes the complete set of César Franck “Melodies” with soprano Francesca Scaini on Brilliant Classics (rated 5 Diapasons in Diapason magazine), the complete music for two pianos by Reynaldo Hahn with legendary pianist and Liszt scholar Leslie Howard on Melba Recordings (Australia) and the complete Mélodies by Henri Duparc with bass Andrea Mastroni released December 15, 2015 on Brilliant Classics. Mr. Ometto is the piano instructor for the Mastering the Concerto course.
Macedonian violinist Emilio Percan began his studies at the age of 7 at the state music school of his native city, Skopje. His debut recital at the age of 14 was a master class with professor Isabela Golovina, a former student of Leonid Kogan, with whom he studied in Moscow until 1999. Emilio continued his violin studies with Professor Dora Ivanova, a former student of David Oistrach, in Sofia in 2000. He entered the “Folkwang Hochschule” university in Essen- Germany in 2001 in the class of Prof. Pieter Daniel. During this time he was taught and guided by Prof. Andreas Reiner, Prof. Vladimir Mendelssohn and Prof. Christian Rieger. Percan received additional instruction from Prof. Dirk Mommertz in chamber music and Stephan Schardt in period instruments (baroque violin). Emilio performs as a soloist and chamber musician all over the world and is a visiting concertmaster and soloist with many European orchestras. Through his various artistic engagements he works with artists such as Viktoria Mullova, Daniel Hope, Raffaella Milanesi, Edita Gruberova, Xavier de Maistre and performs at venues such as the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow; the Berlin Philharmonic, Pro Musica Concert series, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Handel festival Halle, WDR-Musikfest, Israel Festival, Cité de la musique, Paris; Bishkek Philharmonie, Kyrgyzistan and the Savannah Music Festival, USA. Apart of his performing activities Emilio is a devoted teacher, coaching many students on both sides of the globe. He currently teaches violin at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, and he is a regular professor at master classes in Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, Kirgizstan and organizer and teacher of summer camps in Macedonia and Croatia since 2009.
International Institute for Conductors Founder Robert Gutter
Maestro Robert Gutter died suddenly and unexpectedly on May 8, 2017 in the middle of a spring concert tour in Chisinau, Moldavia. As the Institute honors his memory by continuing to offer conductors of all ages and backgrounds exceptional training and unique opportunities for artistic growth, I would like to share just some of the remarkable achievements and contributions as conductor and pedagogue made by my mentor, colleague and friend for over 20 years.
During his long and distinguished conducting career, Maestro Gutter directed symphonies and opera companies around the world including New York, Washington, London, Paris, Vienna, Milan, Buenos Aires, Florence, Madrid, Stuttgart, and Tienjin (China). His opera credits include guest engagements with the Vienna Volksoper, Linz Stadtheater, Teatro Lirico d’Europa, Teatro Massimo Bellini, the New Orleans Opera, the Connecticut Grand Opera, and the State Opera in Astana, Kazakhstan. He also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine in Kiev from 1996-2000. At the time of his death he held posts as Principal Guest Conductor with the Vidin Siinfonietta (Bulgaria) and the Philharmonic Orchestra “Mihail Jora” of Bacau, Romania and Principal Tour Conductor of the Eastern European Philharmonic. He was Director of Orchestral Activities for 20 years at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Prior to accepting orchestral posts in North Carolina in 1988, Maestro Gutter served as Music Director and Conductor of the Springfield Symphony (MA) where he was credited with building the orchestra into one of the nation’s most accomplished regional orchestras. He was named Conductor Emeritus in 1986. During his 20-year tenure as Artistic Director, the International Institute for Conductors developed a reputation as one of the world’s premiere conductor training programs. Institute alumni have won numerous awards and hold music directorships with orchestras and universities in the United States, Europe and Asia. If you are one of Maestro Gutter’s many students know that he was very proud of each of you and that he loved you all. –Charles Gambetta
Institute Alumni Comments
“Prof. Percan was an awesome and wonderful teacher. He helped me with things I had time to fix within the two
weeks. He made me feel confident and gave me great advice and practice techniques.”
-2017 Mastering the Concerto soloist
“Prof. Ometto is a true musician, pianist and professor, and such professionalism made my experience at Mastering
the Concerto even more unique.”
-2017 Mastering the Concerto soloist
“All the faculty are amazing, fantastic and brilliant.”
-2016 Advanced Conducting Academy conductor
“It was truly an exceptional learning experience. The maestros are down-to-earth; they respected each individual’s
musical decisions and gave really effective suggestions.”
-2015 Advanced Conducting Academy conductor