(Notice how many people have returned more than one year!)

"ICF is by the far the best workshop out there if you want a lot of uninterrupted podium time. My conducting improved significantly both times that I went, simply because I had the time and freedom to practice in front of an orchestra. Conductors actually get to rehearse the orchestra in preparation for the concerts, which is not always the case at other workshops. The orchestra is professional and really wonderful to work with, and I'm definitely hoping to go back for a third time someday!”  [she did, in 2019!]

- Jessica Morel (USA), ICF ‘11, ‘16, ‘19

Nice place, good organization, wonderful people! ICF is a great occasion to work closely with a high level orchestra for a long period, having the possibility to test things usually you cannot experiment in masterclasses or also in normal “short” rehearsal time for concerts. Moreover, you live in a “conductors’ fellowship” with which you can share feedbacks, comparing and exchanging ideas. A great situation to make music!"

  1. -Sandro Naglia (Italy), ICF ’10, ’11, ’13, ’16, ’17, ’18 (the record holder!!)

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at ICF this summer.  The orchestra played at a very high level and was incredibly responsive to each conductor at all times.  Matthew and Christophe created a wonderfully supportive and collegial environment.  The opportunity to work with a professional soloist on a major concerto was a tremendous opportunity, one that is rarely offered at most workshops.  I highly recommend ICF to all upcoming, aspiring conductors.”

  1. -Thomas Taylor Dickey (USA), 2018

"Having so much time to work with the orchestra and get the feedback of six other attentive conductors gave me a lot a food for thought. I learned so much from my colleagues in the festival and have gotten to know some of the nicest people I have ever met. This, mixed with two weeks worth of prime Ukrainian Vodka, made the ICF truly an unforgettable experience."

  1. -Daniel Cohen (Israel), ICF '08

"At ICF ’07 I not only made my international debut, I also made some lifelong friends and memories.  The atmosphere of the entire festival – both musical and otherwise – was relaxed and fun. There was always a sense of openness among colleagues, and of true camaraderie among friends.  I never felt like anyone was in competition with each other, but rather we talked about our conducting styles and helped each other to reach a new understanding of how and what we communicate to the orchestra. There are not many festivals that encourage you to explore a new city, country, culture the way ICF does.  Their desire to reach out to the local community helped to bring a new audience to the concert hall, as well as strengthen the bond they have with the orchestra and with the well-established classical-music audience of the Ukrainian capital.  The pictures from our time in Kyiv say it all:  Good music and good times are had by all!”

  1. -Andrew Lyon (USA), ICF '07, '08, ’13, ’17, ’18

"ICF is a unique experience with a sensational orchestra and an exceptionally friendly relationship between all.  Kyiv is a gorgeous and welcoming city.  These are ideal conditions for a conductor to progress and make music in a professional environment."

  1. -Arnaud Pairier (France), ICF '07, '08, ’09

“ICF was a roaring success. I can honestly say that for me, the two weeks of the festival were among the most exhilarating weeks of my entire life. Participation in ICF is particularly useful for those conductors who are transitioning from the world of student conductor to professional conductor. For starters, ICF offers more podium time than any other workshop BY FAR. I am very eager to be a part of ICF 2008. While some potential participants might see the festival’s lack of a big-name instructor as a drawback of the workshop, I found it to be a liberating advantage. Having already spent several years being told what to do by conducting teachers, I needed an outlet through which to find my own voice and style as a conductor. The collegial atmosphere among the conductors at ICF helped me to observe for myself what worked and what didn’t work in rehearsal. Also, the orchestra was very willing and receptive. Surely, every conductor at ICF 2007 improved their rehearsal technique, their conducting and their performances.”    

- Francis Scully (USA), ICF '07 , '08, and ’11

"ICF was a wonderful experience with a great orchestra and colleagues in a beautiful city. Matthew and Christophe are the perfect hosts for the festival and made both of my trips to Kyiv a fantastic experience. The opportunity to have both high quality performance experiences as well as long stretches of uninterrupted rehearsal periods was invaluable to me as a young conductor. I highly recommend ICF to any conductor.”

  1. -Joshua Horsch (USA), ICF ’08, ’11

“ICF was a wonderful experience due to a variety of factors. The orchestra was always pleasant to work with and genuinely interested in our development as conductors. Matthew and Christophe were great, offering helpful feedback with a refreshing lack of dogmatism. They were also wonderful hosts, more than willing sharing the sights, sounds and good eats and drinks of Kyiv with us. On top of all that ICF offers a huge amount of podium time, including concerts, at a price far lower than any other workshop I’ve ever seen.”

  1. -Alexander Kahn (USA), ICF ’09 and ’10

What an extraordinary experience ICF was: making music with a fine orchestra that always gave so much of itself, particularly in performance; sharing vast amounts of podium time as well as thoughts on conducting with an international coterie of friends and colleagues; and doing all this in a vibrant world capital which has not yet fallen prey to the homogenizing effects of tourist oversaturation. The Festival's impact for me, both personal and professional, will be lasting."

  1. -Andrew Koehler (USA), ICF ’09