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Oxford University website > News. 27 August 2008 (http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_releases_for_journalists/270808.html)

An Oxford University conductor is embarking on what is believed to be the first ever podium exchange in the UK with an amateur orchestra – by swapping places with a maestro in Brazil.

The exchange comes at a time when conducting is proving itself more popular than ever as BBC 2’s Maestro is currently a surprise hit.

Dr John Traill, director of music at St. Anne’s College, lecturer in music at St. Catherine’s College, and Principal Conductor of the City of Southampton Orchestra, will conduct the Orquestra Filharmonia Jaraguá do Sul on 31 August 2008 at the Municipal Theatre, Itajai, Santa Catarina.

Dr Traill said: “For some time now, it has been my goal to develop podium exchanges in the UK, and by leading the way with a leading non-professional orchestra such as the City of Southampton Orchestra I hope to be demonstrating how projects such as this can enhance music in our communities.

“I am delighted to be embarking on this project, and particularly looking forward to performing Abertura by the Brazilian composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia. It is extremely important to establish, and nurture, international relations on the podium, because the power of music can so easily stretch beyond boarders and cultural differences.”

The programme, which includes works by Beethoven, Wagner, Schubert, and Brazilian composer José Maurício Nunes Garcia, will be the culmination of a week residency with the orchestra. During this time, Dr Traill will also lecture at the Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina.

The engagement is one-half of a podium exchange that Dr Traill has created with Brazilian conductor Daniel Bortholossi, conductor of the Orquestra Filharmonica Jaraguá do Sul and Orquestra de Blumenau.  Maestro Bortholossi will visit the UK in November 2008, performing Elgar’s First Symphony with the City of Southampton Orchestra.

Dr Traill is pleased to be taking part in this pioneering venture, just as conducting has captured the UK with TV show Maestro. In the show, celebrities learn the art of conducting and have to lead an orchestra. He says: “This show has very successfully shed light upon the mythical craft that is conducting.  The BBC has delivered an entertaining programme that insightfully explores the role of conductors in making music.”

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