The Swiss conductor and pedagogue Johannes Schlaefli has developed a distinguished name during the relatively short time he has led the Orchestral Conducting Program at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste (Zurich School of the Arts). He has succeeded in amalgamating the most important concerns in an ideal and time constructive manner: he is highly regarded for his sharp eye for detail and technical instruction and is equally admired for his knack of allowing space and time for young conductors to develop and for being able to limit himself as coach, to a only a few but psychologically pertinent suggestions. His primary objective is to assist students to strengthen their own “Strong Inner Voice” as developing conductors; and to bring this inner voice more rapidly and effectively into contact with the orchestra. In doing so, he places his own musical interpretation alongside the student, without being artistically imposing.
Johannes Schlaefli worked for many years as a teacher on the “Symphonic Workshops” courses, has been a visiting professor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, at Rice University in Houston, the University of Sao Paulo and as part of the Deutsche Dirigirentenforum. The center of his teaching activities is the conducting class at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. As a conductor, he has directed many orchestras (Tonhalle Zurich, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, orchestra della svizzera italiana, Philharmonia Prag, Kammerorchester Basel among many others). He is the Principal Conductor of the Berner Kammerorchester www.bko.ch and also directs the orchestral ensembles at the Universität Zürich (University of Zurich). www.aoz.ethz.ch, www.alumniorchester.ch, www.ako.ethz.ch
In the courses he utilizes a multifaceted teaching method: often there are discussions (Analysis, Rehearsal Technique, Technical Conducting Details) with the entire group, sometimes detailed video reviews in small groups or individually and of course, where and when required, he demonstrates examples with the orchestra. It is a major concern of his to sharpen the awareness and eye of each student and to create a learning atmosphere within the group, whereby students eagerly learn from one another.