Program in Choral Conducting

Student conducting a choirThe program prepares students for careers as professional conductors in many contexts, particularly educational, civic, and church settings. A primary emphasis of the master’s degree is laying the foundation for continued work in a doctoral program. Students are expected to expand their musicianship skills and develop the broad knowledge of repertoire required of conductors.

Program Requirements

The program for choral conductors includes individual lessons with the choral conducting faculty and lessons during regularly supervised sessions with the repertory and recital choruses. Attendance at a weekly seminar, Repertory Chorus rehearsals, and membership in the Yale Camerata are required each term, as is participation as a singer in either the Yale Schola Cantorum or the Repertory Chorus. First-year students conduct Repertory Chorus in two shared performances. Second- and third-year students present a degree recital with the Recital Chorus. Choral conducting students are required to study voice as a secondary instrument for two terms and are encouraged to pursue other secondary instrumental studies. For more information about curriculum and degree requirements of the Yale School of Music, please see the School of Music bulletin. Students who are enrolled in the School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music may have additional requirements as specified by the Institute. All students are expected to avail themselves of the offerings of the University, particularly courses in the Department of Music. Of particular interest to choral conductors are the music and theology courses listed under the Program in Religion and the Arts.

Marguerite Brooks conferring with studentChoral conductors are advised to observe rehearsals of each of the various vocal and instrumental ensembles. Further conducting experience is gained by serving as assistant conductor for one of the faculty-led choruses, and by directing the Battell Chapel and Marquand Chapel choirs. Visiting guest conductors have included Sir David Willcocks, Robert Shaw, Krzysztof Penderecki, James MacMillan, Sir Neville Marriner, Stephen Layton, Helmuth Rilling, Nicholas McGegan, Paul Hillier, Dale Warland, Simon Carrington, Simon Halsey, Andrew Megill, James O’Donnell, David Hill, and Stefan Parkman. Visiting conductors during the academic year 2015-2016 are Matthew Halls and Kaspars Putnins.

Working with their adviser, choral conducting majors elect two courses from the ISM, Yale Divinity School, or Department of Religious Studies course guides. With the approval of the adviser and ISM director, required School of Music Hearing and History courses may take the place of one or more of these electives. Students may petition the ISM director for exceptions to these expectations.