Developing leadership, confidence, and
communication in orchestra playing

What is LEAD! – Mission statement

LEAD! Foundation’s main focus is on developing effective leadership and communication skills in young musicians within the context of orchestra playing. LEAD! seeks to enhance confidence in young orchestra players and to increase their awareness of the significance of their contribution to the overall orchestra performance. Working with internationally renowned mentors, one of LEAD!’s primary aims is to coach those chosen to be concertmasters and section leaders how to communicate effectively both with each other and with conductors, and how to master the very unique skills required of them. Although the focus is on concertmasters and section leaders, LEAD!’s philosophy applies to every individual in the orchestra.

Mentors will coach the students in the specific demands of their instrument’s role in the orchestra. In addition to its goal of developing these attributes in individuals, the organisation also has a broader aim: to pass on the tradition of a unified and coherent style of orchestra playing to the next generation by strengthening the motivation and personality of each orchestra player; to develop an ability to produce authentically the wide range of musical styles and sounds of different composers, and to teach how to take responsibility for ensuring musical quality whatever the circumstances.

LEAD!’s programme is a holistic one, focussing not only on developing musical leadership and communication skills, but also skills pertaining to self-management in the professional music world.

In collaboration with Music Mentor, LEAD! combines musical mentorship with guidance on how the music business actually runs, and how to find one’s place in it.

How LEAD! works

We provide tailored mentorship programmes which are adapted to every organisation we collaborate with. The programmes are led by a team of carefully-selected mentors from top international orchestras who draw their expertise from the best traditions of orchestra playing.

We believe that the training works best when in a rehearsal setting. Each project, though unique, is structured as a rehearsal period with a set repertoire and culminates with a performance. Under the guidance of their mentor, the players explore the many facets of leadership by working on aspects such technique, body language and physical communication as well as on taking the initiative, responsibility and daring to show personality.

LEAD! aspires to create an educational, enriching environment where talented musicians can benefit from their musical mentors.

Who can benefit from LEAD!

LEAD! operates under the artistic guidance of Jukka-Pekka Saraste and a team which has many years of experience in the music industry. Thanks to its philosophy and individual approach to each project, LEAD! is able to offer relevant projects and workshops to a great number of differing institutions from conservatories and music schools who wish train their students in the skills necessary to become successful leaders and orchestra musicians, to orchestras seeking to strengthen their artistic identity through encouraging the individual development of their players, to promoters and festivals aiming to round off their profile with an educational facet.

Find out about our upcoming projects or contact the team of LEAD! for more information on how it can benefit your organisation.

FOR YOUNG CONDUCTORS: LEAD! also offers the opportunity for a selection of talented young conductors to be a part of the project. Conductors will actively participate in leadership training sessions, where they will have the opportunity to observe the orchestra’s internal structures and functions as well as receiving feedback on their own performance.

FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS AND CONDUCTORS: LEAD! also provides a consultancy service to young musicians preparing to enter the professional world in collaboration with Music Mentor.


latest project

LEAD! will return to the Aurora Festival from 18-25 August 2019, working with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra as well as running its Professional Mentorship workshops. Jukka-Pekka Saraste will be leading the orchestra rehearsals supported by LEAD! mentors Alexander Zemtsov and Franz Bartolomey, and the team will also be running separate workshops throughout the week focussing on the key themes of developing individual leadership, communication and responsibility. Professional LEAD! Mentors Sarah Osa and Frances Maunder will again be offering group and individual advice sessions for students on the subject of the classical music business.There will also be a chance to hear Leonidas Kavakos, joining the LEAD! team and orchestra to perform the Korngold concerto, discussing his career and experience with long-term collaborator Jukka-Pekka Saraste.

As usual, masterclasses for young conductors will form a key part of the project.

LEAD!’s collaboration with the Aurora Festival, now in its second year, will take place at Kungliga Musikhögskolan, Stockholm, and the concert on 25 August will be held at Konserthuset.