Three seasoned professional conductors with over a century of experience between them—Robert Gutter, Ovidiu Balan and Charles Gambetta—
mentor participants throughout the Advanced Conducting Academy. Maestros Gutter and Balan have worked together since 2003, and Maestro Gambetta joined the faculty in 2007. Will Kesling, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Florida School of Music, joined the faculty for the Institute’s groundbreaking Conducting Choral Masterpieces workshop in 2016.
Their teaching styles are complementary, and they share an approach to conductor 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 and/or choir.
Internationally popular with audiences and musicians alike, Robert Gutter has 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 served as Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine in Kiev from 1996-2000. Maestro Gutter is currently a principal guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra “Mihail Jora” of Bacau, Romania and principal tour conductor of the Eastern European Philharmonic. He is founder and Artistic Director of the International Institute for Conductors, recognized as one of the world’s leading training programs for professional conductors. His students have won numerous awards and hold music directorships with Europran and American orchestras and universities. 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). During his 16 year tenure in Springfield, he was credited with building the orchestra into one of the nation’s most accomplished regional orchestras, and was named Conductor Emeritus in 1986. Well respected as an adjudicator, he continues to serve as a clinician and All-State conductor throughout the United States. He was born in 1938 in New York City, NY where he graduated from New York’s renowned High School of Music and Art. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Yale University School of Music, and he holds a diploma from the Chighiana Academy of Siena, Italy where he studied with the late conducting pedagogue, Franco Ferrara. Maestro Gutter teaches at the Advanced Conducting Academy, the Conducting Choral Masterpieces workshop 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.
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 Conducting Choral Masterpieces workshop and the Mastering the Concerto course.
Dr. Will Kesling has conducted hundreds of choral ensembles and forty plus professional orchestras around the world. His talents for weaving together text and music, chorus and orchestra have garnered him an international reputation for musical artistry and inspired leadership. He has conducted a number of engagements in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in major concert halls internationally. In 1992 he conducted the Moscow State Chamber Orchestra and the Bolshoi Opera Chorus in the first professionally produced performance of Messiah since the institution of Communism. Dr. Kesling was Principal Guest Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra for ten years and was the Music Director and Conductor of the Mountain West Symphony Orchestra (Utah) for 18 years. On September 11, 2004 Maestro Kesling made his conducting debut with the National Philharmonic in Constitution Hall, Washington, DC premiering the new Revolutionary War oratorio, A Prelude to Glory. During summer 2004 Kesling celebrated the centennial of Dvorak’s death by leading a rare performance of composer’s Requiem in Prague with the Czech National Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Chorus. Dr. Kesling is the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Florida. Since his appointment in 2002 his choirs have appeared with the Croatian National Chamber Orchestra, Czech National Orchestra, National Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, the Kronos String Quartet, and with the University of Florida Chamber Singers made their first ever American Choral Directors Association Convention appearance. Dr. Kesling has conducted numerous All-State choirs, published scholarly choral editions with a number of publishers, and penned a number of academic articles for professional journals. In recognition of his achievements Dr. Kesling was awarded The Congressional Order of Merit by the Congress of the United States of America in September 2003 and the Ronald Regan Gold Medal in November 2004 and the Congressional Medal of Distinction for his contributions to the cultural life of the citizenry in 2006. Dr. Kesling teaches at the Conducting Choral Masterpieces workshop.
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.
Institute Alumni Comments
“All the faculty are amazing, fantastic and brilliant.”
-2016 Institute 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 Institute conductor
“Instruction from the institute faculty was at a high level and very helpful. All three offered unique perspectives
and valuable advice.”
-2014 Institute conductor