JEAN SÉBASTIEN VALLÉE, Canada

Audiation: a new approach to conducting 

Audiation is to sound what image is to imagination. Coined by music education researcher Edwin Gordon, audiation refers to mentally hearing and comprehending music without the presence of physical sound. Traditionally, the cognitive act of audiating has been used in the musical training of children and young musicians. However, this key concept is not limited to music education and is a necessary skill for conductors and choristers of all levels. Conductors must have a clear audition prior to conducting a musical score. By doing so, they can find appropriate gestures to communicate their musical intentions to the ensemble. This interactive session will include a lecture and a masterclass section using the assembled-audience as demonstration choir to explore the different levels of audiation and its communication from the conductor’s imagination to the singer’s mind. This presentation aims to shed new light on the act of conducting by bringing the musical score and its mental representation to the center of music making.

Jean Sebastien Vallee, conductor, scholar, clinician, and adjudicator, Maestro Jean-Sébastien Vallée is a rapidly rising conductor on today’s concert music stage. Mr. Vallée is Director of Choral Studies and Chair of the Conducting Area at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in Montréal. Prior to his appointment at McGill University, he served as Director of Choral Studies at California State University in Los ActiveAngeles, and was on the choral faculty of the University of Redlands. Maestro Vallée is also founder and director of INSPIRAVI, a 20-voice Los Angeles based professional chamber choir, director of the renowned choir of St. Andrew and St. Paul, and artistic director of the Ottawa Choral Society.

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