Summer School of Music
Wind Conducting Course : Biographies
Mark Heron is a Scottish conductor noted for dynamic and well-rehearsed performances of an unusually wide repertoire.
He appears regularly with major orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National, Manchester Camerata, Psappha and Meininger Hofkapelle. He is Music Director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and as Professor and Head of Conducting at the RNCM works regularly with all the College’s orchestras and ensembles.
Mark has vast expertise in contemporary music and has collaborated with many of the greatest living composers. He has recorded more than twenty CDs with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and Manchester Camerata on labels such as Chandos, Naxos, NMC, ASC and Polyphonic.
Alongside his conducting activities, Mark has an international reputation as a conducting teacher. Apart from leading the RNCM's world-renowned conducting programmes, he is a visiting professor to the Royal Air Force and is frequently invited to teach at masterclasses all over the world.
Bjørn Sagstad is Artistic Director of the Military Wind Bands in Norway, professor at the Academy of Music (FHNW) in Basel Switzerland and an associate Professor at the University of Bergen (Grieg Academy of Music).
Bjørn undertook his formal training at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Grieg Academy of Music in Norway and the University of Tromsø and Trondheim/NTNU in Norway. He has worked with symphony orchestras in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Hong Kong and the USA and with all the professional military wind ensembles in Scandinavia along with the Royal Marine Band in Holland and the Royal Marines in Portsmouth UK. He was Chief Conductor of several orchestras and wind ensembles including the Prinsen Brass Ensemble (Denmark), the Kristiansund Symphony Orchestra and Opera (Norway), the Norwegian Navy Band and the Kristiansund Wind Ensemble.
He is a sort-after guest conductor and conducting lecturer giving masterclasses all over the world. His repertoire is extensive and includes orchestral, choral, music theatre, opera and ballet as well as specialising in contemporary music. He has made several recordings and been responsible for the premieres of a large number of new works. Bjørn is currently directing a five-year mentoring programme for young conductors sponsored by Dextra Musica and the Norwegian Band Federation.
Agata Zajac is a Polish conductor of considerable reputation. She started her musical life as a violinist which was followed with conducting studies at the Poznan Academy of Music in Poland. Last year she held the position of the Mills Williams Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
In Poland, Agata was Resident Conductor with the Torun Symphony Orchestra during the 2020/21 season and the Sudeten Philharmonic Orchestra during 2021/22. She has worked with many international orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Britten Sinfonia, Grazer Philharmoniker, Malmö Opera and the Orchestre National de Metz to name but a few. Agata has studied with many eminent teachers including Paavo Järvi, Jorma Panula, Johannes Schlaefli, Mark Heron, Antony Hermus, Peter Eötvös and Marin Alsop. Her last summer was spent at Tanglewood Music Festival as a Conducting Fellow working under the guidance of Andris Nelsons, music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She was also a student at the Tonhalle Conductors’ Academy in 2022/23 and the Gstaad Conducting Academy and NOSPR Conducting Academies in 2021.
Agata has taken part in many important conducting competitions including the Siemens Hallé International Competition where she won second place, the Malta International Masterclass and Competition where she received a special distinction and the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition where she reached the semi-finals. In 2018 Agata was awarded a scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. This season she will take up the position of Assistant Conductor with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra.