New LA-based Conducting Workshop Aims to Reduce Cost of Study

The newly established Los Angeles Conducting Co-Op provides podium time for young conductors at as low a cost as possible


Three Los Angeles musicians came together to create new opportunities for aspiring conductors looking to launch their careers. The Los Angeles Conducting Co-Op — a collective founded by conductor-composer Chris Rountree, violinist Lisa Liu, and violist/conductor Nadia Sirota — was founded in June to provide a space for young conductors to get crucial podium time with professional players.

The collective aims to mitigate the high costs associated with the early stages of a conducting career, in which young players often have to pay enormous sums of money in order to hire players to work with.

The Co-Op offers its services in short Workshop Cycles. Each cycle includes two Zoom lessons with Rountree, two Gesture Workshops, and two sessions with the Lab Orchestra — a flexible group of friendly professional players with whom the young conductors can try out different aspects of technique.

The collective has kept the fees as low as possible, charging $500 for each Workshop Cycle. The vast majority of that sum goes to the players in the Lab Orchestra, with the remainder being spent on an audio-visual engineer. As a result, participants also receive high-quality video recordings of their work, which they will need to apply for further opportunities.

Conductor training “happens in a swirl of insane privilege,” said founder Nadia Sirota. “Just to have the opportunity to study music on this level and not get paid for a really long time…it’s a privilege to learn how to do this thing.”

“We’re trying to keep the prices as low as possible,” she added. “It’s like a one-to-one exchange, just paying musicians. That’s basically where our entire budget goes.”

You can read more about the Co-Op, here.

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