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Graduate Choral Conducting

Degrees in Choral


Graduate Choral Conducting at KU

The University of Kansas graduate choral conducting program is one of America’s most comprehensive programs. Led by Dr. Paul Tucker, Director of Choral Studies, the program combines practical and academic studies in both vocal and orchestral disciplines. The choral program makes use of the latest technology to help prepare the graduates to become leaders in the musical world.

Choral Class

The University of Kansas choral conducting students are afforded daily experience in training choirs with one of the university′s ten choirs. Select graduate students are given the responsibility to teach their own choir as part of their Graduate Assistantship. These GTA′s are carefully mentored so that there is immediate feedback with regards to their progress. Conductors are also given the opportunity to work with leading conductors from other institutions.

Our choral graduate students have had the opportunity to work such experts as:

  • Dr. Jerry McCoy, The University of North Texas
  • Dr. Ronald Staheli, Brigham Young University
  • Dr. Andre Thomas, Florida State University
  • Dr. Kenneth Fulton, Louisiana State University

In 2009 the University of Kansas began one of the few Masters of Music programs in conducting that is designed for study during the summer. This course can be completed in as few as three consecutive summers, and allows conductors to remain in full-time employment, while still completing an MM degree in conducting.

The Graduate Choral Conducting program at KU gives preference to applicants with significant teaching experience, keyboard skills, excellent communication skills, and a deep desire to learn and excel in the field of conducting.

Since the field of conducting cannot be isolated to one area only, candidates accepted to the graduate program will be expected to excel not only in choral music but in the instrumental arena as well.

Application Process

Click here to begin the application process.

Audition Panel

The audition panel will be comprised of some or all of the following individuals.

  • The Director of Choral Activities
  • The Associate Director of Choral Activities
  • The Associate Professor of Choral Music Education
  • The Director of Organ and Church Music

Audition Process

The conducting audition will last roughly ten minutes. The candidate will be expected to conduct a single piece. Prior to the candidate’s arrival on campus, the Director of Choral Activities will assign the title for the audition. The candidate will conduct straight through the work (or movement), giving the audition panel an opportunity to see the candidate’s artistry and physical communication skills a conductor. In this segment of the audition, the candidate may not coach the choir verbally. Following the first reading of the piece, the candidate will be expected to rehearse a single segment of the work. This will give the audition panel a chance to see the candidate’s approach to rehearsal. It is important that the candidate not choose a segment that is too long or that cannot be improved in the time available. The point of the exercise is to see the maximum improvement of the passage in the shortest amount of time. The candidate should keep rehearsing until informed that the time limit has been reached. The candidate will then be given some specific conducting challenges to determine his or her ability to respond to instructions. This phase is conducted with the choir so as to create the most adverse condition possible. The candidate’s ability to respond to instructions will be determined from this exercise.

On-Campus Audition

Once we have received and evaluated the required materials, a determination will be made as to the candidates who will be invited to campus for auditions and interviews. The auditions and interviews may take place during the fall or spring semester. We will make the greatest effort to inform the candidates at least a month prior to the audition dates. The earlier we receive your materials; the earlier we can make this determination.

Video

The audition video should include both rehearsal, and performance recordings, demonstrating the candidate’s conducting skills. The camera should be positioned so as to produce a face-on view of the conductor. Video submissions must be in DVD format. Permission must be obtained from the Director of Choral Activities in order to submit another format.

Click here to begin the application process.


Friends of the School of Music

Reach Out Kansas, Inc., Smithyman & Zakoura Chartered and KU Music Concert Series 2014-2015

Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually