Student Conductor

Entrance Requirements

The applicant must demonstrate prior experience in conducting orchestral ensembles. In addition to meeting the general requirements for admission to the Departments of Music, the entering graduate student in the Master of Music degree program in Orchestral Conducting must take the Music Theory Placement Examination and the Music History Placement Examination. The following are also required: the student must (a) pass an entrance audition on campus with the CUA Symphony Orchestra, (b) pass an examination (both written and aural), and (c) have an interview with faculty audition committee. In cases where (a), (b), and/or (c) cannot be undertaken due to time or distance constraints, every effort will be made to evaluate the candidate as fairly as possible, by viewing a video or live rehearsal and scheduling an interview by telephone. First consideration will be given to candidates who audition in person. This is a select program and the above procedure is used when there are openings for candidates.

Students admitted into this program will take advantage of an open studio policy among the orchestra conducting faculty in the fulfillment of private instruction requirements. In the first year of the graduate conducting program, the student will study with one of the major orchestral conducting faculty, but may participate in the open studio opportunity for short-term study with a specialist in specific repertoire, including choral music and musical theatre, from the Departments of Music faculty. Beginning in the second full year of study, the student will alternate between the major orchestral conducting faculty each semester to receive the full benefit of varied interpretative and technical perspectives. Typically this graduate degree program will take four semesters to complete.

Field Experiences for M.M. Orchestral Conductors

The conducting student will observe and assist with at least one Catholic University opera production and at least one Catholic University musical theatre production. The requirement could alternatively be fulfilled with outside organizations with the approval of the major professors. Satisfactory completion of the requirement is contingent upon approval of the major professors and a positive evaluation from the supervising/host conductor. The student will also spend a minimum of two semesters observing one or more approved outside ensembles. The orchestral conducting division will assist the student in finding a suitable placement with an outside organization. In the event that an appropriate outside ensemble cannot be found, the student may fulfill the requirement with Catholic University ensembles as approved by the major professors. Satisfactory completion of the requirement is contingent upon approval of the major professor and a positive evaluation from the supervising/host conductor.

Graduation Requirements

Successful completion of two conducting recitals is required: a 40-minute conducting recital (MUS 902A) and a 30-minute lecture conducting recital (MUS 902B). The recitals are to be conducted in public before a committee of the music departments faculty, and are graded on a pass/fail basis. The performing ensembles may consist of players from the Catholic University Symphony Orchestra or another appropriate ensemble from outside the Departments of Music.