Aurora & LEAD! Conducting Masterclasses with Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Johannes Gustavsson

Trollhättan/Vänersborg, Sweden
August 26 – September 1, 2019

Following the success of the 2018 conducting masterclasses in Stockholm, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Johannes Gustavsson are back for an exciting new collaboration in Aurora’s new Festival and Masterclasses in Trollhättan and Vänersborg. This course will have an entirely new format for Aurora that promises to be challenging and exciting for everyone involved!

The masterclasses take place during the ongoing Aurora Music Festival which takes place between the small cities of Trollhättan and Vänersborg in western Sweden, about 1 hour from Gothenburg. All participants will receive free entrance to all festival events and concerts that are not sold out in advance.

Take risks, inspire audiences, meet people and have fun.

Become an integral part of a performing arts community of which many of the world’s most important performers are also members.

In recent years, over 4000 amazing young artists from 50 countries have participated during the now world famous Aurora Master Classes & Festivals.

We take pride in what we offer our participants. Please take time to read all of the information before you apply.

The Festival

The Aurora Conducting Masterclasses are part of the Aurora Music Festival which takes place in Trollhättan and Vänersborg, two picturesque town just 12 km’s from each other and about an hour from Gothenburg in western Sweden. Over 100 musicians from 50 countries take part in masterclasses and concerts on all orchestral instruments in solo, chamber music and symphony orchestra formats. Around 20 famous professors, soloists and artists participate in the festival.

You will experience amazing audiences, musicians, and concerts next to some of Sweden’s most beautiful lakes and canals.

Please take a good look at the festival and your potential new friends and contacts HERE

Aurora Music and Jukka-Pekka Saraste present:

LEAD! for Conductors

Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Johannes Gustavsson present a special course conductors based on the principals and techniques of Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s LEAD! program.

Integrated into the dynamic environment of the LEAD! project is the course for conductors, a chance to not only work with and learn from the expertise of Maestro Saraste, but also to receive feedback from the invaluable experience of highly successful, international musicians and to be coached through the process of both learning to interact with and become part of the complex organism that is a symphony orchestra.

Through both observing the rehearsals and workshops of LEAD! and actively conducting the orchestral repertoire, conductors will have unparalleled access to the orchestral environment and the chance to intensively acquire experience and knowledge in a unique and vibrant working environment.

The LEAD! concept also involves high levels of interaction where leading artists will also host discussions and workshops covering other essential music industry topics while offering a support network with unique access to all facets of musical life.

“Every conductor and soloist knows how essential a good mentor is, and it’s no different for orchestra members and leaders” – Jukka-Pekka Saraste

The professional core of this LEAD! project is made up of the international professors who will be on site teaching and coaching all the young musicians involved as well as the Aurora Chamber Orchestra, the internationally praised string orchestra made up of musicians from all over the world who meet under the Aurora umbrella to present dazzling concert experiences and whose goal is to pass on their knowledge and experience to young musicians and to help them along the path to acquiring and developing these very specific skills and experiences.

LEAD! was designed by maestro Saraste to be a training ground both for young instrumentalists and conductors and will therefore be integrated both into the long-standing tradition of Aurora’s Symphony Orchestra program as well as the Aurora Music Conducting Masterclasses.

To read more about LEAD! visit

Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Johannes Gustavsson and piano soloist Elisabeth Leonskaja


Dates: August 26 – September 1, 2019
Available places: 6
Course fee: 10 000 SEK
The course fees do not include accommodation, food or travel. Aurora will recommend a variety of affordable and good options starting from about 2500 SEK in total for all days
Registration fee: 700 SEK
Application Deadline: May 24, 2019

Application process/schedule

May 24: Last application day

Applications are evaluated on the basis of CV and video recording

The non-refundable registration fee of 700SEK is not part of the course fee.

10 June: Announcement of selected students
17 June: Last day to pay the course fee
18 June – 18 August: Individual preparations
26 August – September 1: Course days in Trollhättan/Vänersborg


6 Places Available

  • Conductors will be required to observe daily rehearsals of both Symphony Orchestra programs (3-4h/day)
  • Conductors will be called upon to participate in rehearsals and try excerpts of repertoire by both Maestros Saraste and Gustavsson at various points throughout the week
  • All conductors will conduct a performance during the festival concerts that will be recorded on video
  • At the discretion of the Maestros, one conductor per program may be selected to conduct the dress rehearsal and concert of a work during one of the festival concerts on the main stages of Trollhättan and Vänersborg
  • All conductors will learn and prepare the complete repertoire of both orchestra programs
  • All conductors will be given one work to rehearse and perform with an ensemble of masterclass students during the festival concerts. These rehearsals will be coached and supervised by Maestro Gustavsson.
  • Conductors will have the opportunity to participate at daily discussions and meetings presented in LEAD! format (A large variety of topics from programming, public relations, career management, collaboration with soloists and orchestras, personal development and much more) and review sessions with Maestros Saraste & Gustavsson.
  • Conductors will have complete access to all masterclasses on all orchestral instruments and chamber music lessons
  • Conductors will have access to free tickets to all festival concerts and events that are not sold out in advance


The course is aimed at advanced students and/or musicians who have completed a course of musical study (instrumental study, singing or conducting) and who already have conducting experience

There is no age limit. The course will be in English.

 Documents/Information to be submitted in the online application form

  • Personal data
  • CV in English
  • Video recording (in the form of a web link) showing applicant in the role of conductor

Selection procedure

After all complete applications have been received, a jury will evaluate the application and select the participants.
The results will be announced June 10, 2019 at the latest.
On receiving notification of acceptance for the course, the selected students must confirm their attendance and pay the course fee by the specified deadline or someone else will be offered the spot.

All decisions are final.


Students must declare that they are willing to create diary entries or post information on Facebook, and be prepared to give short interviews.

Aurora Music retains all rights in respect of photographic or video materials which have been created during the course or recorded at the concerts.

Students are responsible for obtaining visas and paying visa costs.

Students must also pay for their own insurance.

Repertoire List  

The selected participants shall prepare and study this repertoire for the course in August. Repertoire is subject to change and you will be notified as soon as something changes.

Symphony Orchestra
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3
Piano Concerto No. 5
At least two more pieces to be named later.

Conducted Ensembles – TO BE ANNOUNCED

The following repertoire was conducted during the masterclasses in 2018, shown here as an example of possible repertoire for 2019:
Charles Ives – Central Park in the Dark & The Unanswered Question
Stravinsky – Octet for Wind Instruments
Stravinsky – Concert i D
Stravinsky – Soldiers Tale Suite (Selections)
Debussy/Schoenberg Verein: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Benjamin Staern – Muramaris


May 24: Last application day
June 10: Announcement of selected students for each category 1, 2 and 3
June 15: Last day to pay the course fee. See: for more information
16 June – 26 August: Individual preparations
26 August – September: Course days in Trollhättan/Vänersborg

Ola Larsson                                                         

General manager +46 (0)70 654 12 50

Willem Stam

Artistic Coordinator  +31 642 05 62 57