Audition Information

Conducting Requirements

Choral Conducting
Orchestral Conducting
Wind Conducting

Choral Conducting (Please note: Auditions will only take place during the February audition weekend on Thursday, February 2nd and Friday, February 3rd)

Master of Music (M.M.)
Doctor of Music (D.M.)

 Pre-screening - submitted via Decision Desk:

1)     Resumé/Curriculum-Vita, which should include:

      1. Musical training/education
      2. Jobs (include non-musical positions if they have been significant)

2)     Repertoire List, clearly indicating:

      1. Works conducted (including date and group)
      2. Works prepared (when and for whom)
      3. Works assisted (when and for whom)
      4. Works studied

3)     Rehearsal Video

      1. 10’ of a rehearsal, camera positioned from the choir’s perspective

4)     Performance Audio or Video

      1. 15 minutes maximum, including two contrasting works

5)     1 page Essay/Statement of Purpose  

Describe your entry into the field of choral conducting, significant milestone or motivation, and your aspirations in the field.  2 page/1,000 word maximum, 1 page preferred.

6)     Doctoral Students only:

A writing sample, either a course paper or program notes


If the pre-screening is passed, an audition will be scheduled with one of the Jacobs School of Music choral ensembles during the February audition weekend. The audition process will consist of four parts: 1) a written diagnostic examination, 2) a private conducting session with the Choral Conducting faculty, 3) a conducting session with an SATB choir, and 4) an interview with the Choral Conducting Department faculty.

1.)The written diagnostic examination will be administered to all applicants to determine the depth of their musical knowledge and interests, current research skills, analysis skills, etc. (Note that this examination is not in lieu of the graduate entrance examinations.) This exam will include a short dictation of a four-part Bach chorale and identification of select choral scores.

2.)During the private conducting session with the Choral Conducting faculty, the applicant will be expected to conduct the section "Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter"(Nimrod Chorus) from Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb (from rehearsal 2 up to rehearsal 9, Boosey & Hawkes edition). The applicant will also conduct a recitative and be prepared to sing it as well. Applicants should prepare the following recitative according to their intended degree program.

  • MM applicants-Handel: Recitative: "Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts" from Messiah.
  • DM applicants-Haydn: Recitative: "Gleich offnet sich die Erde Schoss" ("Straight opening her fertile womb") from Die Schopfung (The Creation)-in German.

Both the choral section from Rejoice in the Lamb and the recitative will be accompanied by piano.

3.)The conducting session with the SATB chorus will last approximately 10-12 minutes. The applicants should choose one of the pieces from the repertoire list below and be prepared to rehearse and perform the selection in the original language. Select one movement of a multi-movement work, but be prepared to discuss the complete work during the interview. The applicant will be expected to show advanced musicianship, knowledge of the voice, and exemplary choral rehearsal techniques.  Vocal scores will be provided for the chorus; applicants should bring their own full score. The applicant should communicate with the Choral Conducting Department to make sure he/she is using a compatible edition. Notify the Choral Office (812) 855-0427 of your choice of audition piece at least two weeks before your audition date.

Select from the following:

  • Bach, Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4 (Carus Verlag)
  • Beethoven, Mass in C Major, Op.86 (Breitkopf)
  • Brahms, Ein deutsches requiem (Movements I & IV) (Peters)
  • Handel, Messiah, (excluding Hallelujah Chorus) ed. Watkins-Shaw (Novello)
  • Hayden, Mass in D Minor "Lord Nelsen" ed. Robbins Landon (Schott)
  • Hindemith, Six chansons (Schott)
  • Mozart, Requiem, K. 626, completed by Sussmayr (excluding Dies Irae) Barenreiter)
  • Schutz, Die mit Tranen saen (Barenreiter)
  • Stravinsky, Mass (Boosey & Hawkes)
  • Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms (Boosey & Hawkes)
  • Verdi, 'Va, pensiero' from Nabucco

Note: For all standard repertoire, be prepared for the chorus to read all notes and dynamics. Do not rehearse pitches except in the few cases where necessary: spend time on interpretive ideas such as articulations, performance practice, rhetorical gestures, etc. The goal is not to get through the music, but rather to take one section and make it sound as you want it to sound.

Please also note: The applicant may be asked to warm-up the ensemble (no more than 5 minutes) on their audition day. It would be prudent to prepare a short warm-up in the event that you are chosen to do so with the ensemble.

4.)The interview portion with members of the faculty will consist of an informal discussion of choral music, the applicant's background,and the morning conducting audition. The applicant will be asked to demonstrate her or his ability in sight singing, keyboard skills, score-reading, transposition, and analysis. The applicant may also be asked to give an analysis of and/or sing parts of the audition repertoiore.

Choral conducting applicants with strong music theory skills are encouraged to schedule an interview for a music theory assistantship with the Office of Music Admissions. (Please read the important qualifying information regarding music theory AI auditions on pages 14-15. Note that this examination is not in lieu of the graduate entrance examinations.)

All applicants to the choral conducting program must audition in person. The Choral Department does not admit students based on video or audio recordings sent with applications to the Jacobs School of Music.

PLEASE NOTE: Evidence of an acceptable TOEFL score must be submitted together with the application by December 1, 2016. If an admissible TOEFL score of (560 PBT, 223 CBT, 84 IBT) for MM admission consideration or (600 PBT, 250 CBT, 100 IBT) for DM admission consideration has not been received by the Office of Admissions by the application deadline of December 1, 2016, the application will not be processed and you will not be scheduled to audition.
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Orchestral Conducting

Master of Music (M.M.)
Doctor of Music (D.M.)

The orchestral conducting audition and interview will not occur during any of the regularly scheduled audition weekends. Invited applicants will be informed of a date in writing.

Applicants must submit a prescreening recording of a performance or rehearsal that displays their conducting proficiency. Please click here for detailed instructions for submitting your recording online. A limited number of persons will then be invited to a personal audition and will conduct one of the Jacobs School of Music orchestras. Tapes must be submitted by December 1, 2016. Invited applicants should prepare the following pieces for the personal conducting audition:

  • Beethoven, Symphony No. 2, Mvt 1
  • Tchaikovsky, Romeo and Juliet (complete)
  • Copland, Appalachian Spring, #6-16 and #35-51.
  • Puccini, La Bohème, Act I, Rodolfo's aria "Che gelida manina"

All pieces are to be learned in their entirety.

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Wind Conducting

Master of Music (M.M.)
Doctor of Music (D.M.)

Students interested in applying for graduate degrees in Wind Conducting must complete the online graduate application process.  In addition to this application, all candidates must submit a video recording of a rehearsal. The camera should be positioned so that comments made to the ensemble are very clear and audible and conducting gestures, body posture and facial expression easily seen. The recording should be approximately 20-30 minutes long. In addition, please include the following information in either your video recording or on a separate sheet: Name, Current Position, Brief Overview of Educational and Professional Background, and Detailed Information on the Works Rehearsed and Ensemble Being Rehearsed. The video recording must be submitted online. For detailed instructions click here.

Doctoral Students only: Submit a writing sample, either an analysis of a major wind band piece or an equivalent article based on some area of research applicable to wind band repertoire.

The deadline for the submission of a video is December 1, 2016. We will review all of the submitted videos in January and decide how many people we might want to invite to campus. This will depend on the number of openings we have from year to year. Admission to the program is highly competitive.

Review of materials will begin in January 2017 and finalists will be invited to campus in February or March for a live audition with one of the Jacobs School of Music concert wind bands. For questions regarding graduate degrees in Wind Conducting, please call 812.855.1372 or e-mail

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