Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an
orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of
directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers
by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to
interpret the score created by a composer in a manner which is
reflective of the specific indications within that score, set the
tempo, ensure correct entries by various members of the ensemble, and
to "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. To convey their ideas
and interpretation, conductors communicate with their musicians
primarily through hand gestures, typically though not invariably with
the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals, such as eye
contact with relevant performers. A conductor's directions will
almost invariably be supplemented or reinforced by verbal instructions
or suggestions to their musicians in rehearsal prior to a
The conductor typically stands on a raised podium with a large music
stand for the full score, which contains the musical notation for all
the instruments or voices. Since the mid-19th century, most conductors
have not played an instrument when conducting, although in earlier
periods of classical music history, leading an ensemble while playing
an instrument was common. In
Baroque music from the 1600s to the
1750s, the group would typically be led by the harpsichordist or first
violinist (see concertmaster), an approach that in modern times has
been revived by several music directors for music from this period.
Conducting while playing a piano or synthesizer may also be done with
musical theatre pit orchestras. Communication is typically non-verbal
during a performance (this is strictly the case in art music, but in
jazz big bands or large pop ensembles, there may be occasional spoken
instructions, such as a "count in"). However, in rehearsals, frequent
interruptions allow the conductor to give verbal directions as to how
the music should be played or sung.
Conductors act as guides to the orchestras or choirs they conduct.
They choose the works to be performed and study their scores, to which
they may make certain adjustments (e.g., regarding tempo,
articulation, phrasing, repetitions of sections, and so on), work out
their interpretation, and relay their vision to the performers. They
may also attend to organizational matters, such as scheduling
rehearsals, planning a concert season, hearing auditions and
selecting members, and promoting their ensemble in the media.
Orchestras, choirs, concert bands and other sizable musical ensembles
such as big bands are usually led by conductors.
Middle Ages to 18th century
2.2 19th century
2.3 20th century
2.4 21st century
3.1 Beat and tempo
3.4 Other musical elements
5 Training and education
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
The principal conductor of an orchestra or opera company is sometimes
referred to as a music director or chief conductor, or by the German
Kapellmeister or Dirigent. Conductors of choirs or choruses are
sometimes referred to as choral director, chorus master, or
choirmaster, particularly for choirs associated with an orchestra.
Conductors of concert bands, military bands, marching bands and other
bands may hold the title of band director, bandmaster, or drum major.
Respected senior conductors are sometimes referred to by the Italian
word, maestro ("master" as in "one who has mastered the art").
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Middle Ages to 18th century
An early form of conducting is cheironomy, the use of hand gestures to
indicate melodic shape. This has been practiced at least as far back
as the Middle Ages. In the
Christian church, the person giving these
symbols held a staff to signify his role, and it seems that as music
became rhythmically more complex, the staff was moved up and down to
indicate the beat, acting as an early form of baton.
In the 17th century, other devices to indicate the passing of time
came into use. Rolled up sheets of paper, smaller sticks and unadorned
hands are all shown in pictures from this period. The large staff was
responsible for the death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, who injured his foot
with one while conducting a
Te Deum for the King's recovery from
illness. The wound became gangrenous and Lully refused amputation,
whereupon the gangrene spread to his leg and he died two months
In instrumental music throughout the 18th century, a member of the
ensemble usually acted as the conductor. This was sometimes the
concertmaster, who could use his bow as a baton, or a lutenist who
would move the neck of his instrument in time with the beat. It was
common to conduct from the harpsichord in pieces that had a basso
continuo part. In opera performances, there were sometimes two
conductors – the keyboard player was in charge of the singers, and
the principal violinist or leader was in charge of the orchestra.
Giuseppe Verdi conducting his opera
Aida in 1881
By the early 19th century (ca. 1820), it became the norm to have a
dedicated conductor, who did not also play an instrument during the
performance. While some orchestras protested the introduction of the
conductor, since they were used to having a concertmaster or keyboard
player act as leader, eventually the role of a conductor was
established. The size of the usual orchestra expanded during this
period, and the use of a baton became more common, as it was easier to
see than bare hands or rolled-up paper. Among the earliest notable
conductors were Louis Spohr, Carl Maria von Weber, Louis-Antoine
Jullien and Felix Mendelssohn, all of whom were also composers.
Mendelssohn is claimed to have been the first conductor to utilize a
wooden baton to keep time, a practice still generally in use in the
2010s. Prominent conductors who did not or do not use a baton include
Pierre Boulez, Kurt Masur, James Conlon, Yuri Temirkanov, Leopold
Stokowski, Vasily Safonov,
Eugene Ormandy (for a period), and Dimitri
Hector Berlioz and
Richard Wagner attained greatness as
conductors, and they wrote two of the earliest essays dedicated to the
subject. Berlioz is considered the first virtuoso conductor. Wagner
was largely responsible for shaping the conductor's role as one who
imposes his own view of a piece onto the performance rather than one
who is just responsible for ensuring entries are made at the right
time and that there is a unified beat. Predecessors who focused on
conducting include François Habeneck, who founded the Orchestre de la
Société des concerts du Conservatoire in 1828, though Berlioz was
later to be alarmed at Habeneck's loose standards of rehearsal.
Pianist and composer
Franz Liszt was also a conductor.
Wagner's one-time champion
Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow (1830–1894) was
particularly celebrated as a conductor, although he also maintained
his initial career as a pianist, an instrument on which he was
regarded as among the greatest performers (he was a prized piano
student of Franz Liszt, whose daughter Cosima he married – although
she was to abandon him for Wagner. Liszt was a major figure in the
history of conducting, who attained remarkable performances).
Bülow raised the technical standards of conducting to an
unprecedented level through such innovations as separate, detailed
rehearsals of different sections of the orchestra ("sectional
rehearsal"). In his posts as head of (sequentially) the Bavarian State
Opera, Meiningen Court Orchestra, and
Berlin Philharmonic he brought a
level of nuance and subtlety to orchestral performance previously
heard only in solo instrumental playing, and in doing so made a
profound impression on young artists like Richard Strauss, who at the
age of 20 served as his assistant, and Felix Weingartner, who came to
disapprove of his interpretations but was deeply impressed by his
Gustav Mahler was also a noted
The next generation of conductors brought technical standards to new
levels; perhaps most notable was the Hungarian-born Arthur Nikisch
(1855–1922), who succeeded Bülow as music director of the Berlin
Philharmonic in 1895. He had previously served as head of the Leipzig
Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,
and was to serve as music director of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Nikisch premiered important works by
Anton Bruckner and Pyotr Ilyich
Tchaikovsky, who greatly admired his work; Johannes Brahms, after
hearing him conduct his Fourth Symphony, said it was "quite exemplary,
it's impossible to hear it any better."
Nikisch took the London Symphony
Orchestra on tour through the United
States in April 1912, the first American tour by a European orchestra.
He also made one of the earliest recordings of a complete symphony:
the Beethoven Fifth with the
Berlin Philharmonic in November 1913.
Nikisch was also the first conductor to have his art captured on film
– alas, silently. The film confirms reports that he made
particularly mesmerizing use of eye contact and expression to
communicate with an orchestra; such later conductors as Fritz Reiner
stated that this aspect of his technique had a strong influence on
Conductors of the generations after Nikisch often left extensive
recorded evidence of their arts. Two particularly influential and
widely recorded figures are often treated, somewhat inaccurately, as
interpretive antipodes. They were the Italian conductor Arturo
Toscanini (1867–1957) and the German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
(1886–1954). Toscanini played in orchestras under
Giuseppe Verdi and
made his debut conducting
Aida in 1886, filling in at the last minute
for an indisposed conductor. He is to this day regarded by such
James Levine as the greatest of all Verdi conductors.
But Toscanini's repertory was wide, and it was in his interpretations
of the German symphonists Beethoven and Brahms that he was
particularly renowned and influential, favoring stricter and faster
tempi than a conductor like Bülow or, before him, Wagner. Still, his
style shows more inflection than his reputation may suggest, and he
was particularly gifted at revealing detail and getting orchestras to
play in a singing manner.
Furtwängler, whom many regard as the greatest interpreter of Wagner
(although Toscanini was also admired in this composer) and Bruckner,
conducted Beethoven and Brahms with a good deal of inflection of tempo
– but generally in a manner that revealed the structure and
direction of the music particularly clearly. He was an accomplished
composer as well as performer, and a disciple of the theorist Heinrich
Schenker, who emphasized concern for underlying long-range harmonic
tensions and resolutions in a piece, a strength of Furtwängler's
conducting. Along with his interest in the large-scale, Furtwängler
also shaped the details of the piece in a particularly compelling and
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan conducting the
Vienna Philharmonic in 1941
The two men had very different techniques: Toscanini's was Italianate,
with a long, large baton and clear beats (often not using his left
hand); Furtwängler beat time with less apparent precision, because he
wanted a more rounded sound (although it is a myth that his technique
was vague; many musicians have attested that he was easy to follow in
his own way). In any event, their examples illustrate a larger point
about conducting technique in the first half of the 20th century: it
was not standardized. Great and influential conductors of the middle
20th century like
Leopold Stokowski (1882–1977), Otto Klemperer
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan (1908–1989) and Leonard Bernstein
(1918–1990) – incidentally, the first American conductor to attain
greatness and international fame – had widely varied techniques.
Karajan and Bernstein formed another apparent antipode in the
1960s–80s, Karajan as music director of the Berlin Philharmonic
(1955–89) and Bernstein as, for part of that period, music director
New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic (1957–69), and later frequent guest
conductor in Europe. Karajan's technique was highly controlled, and
eventually he conducted with his eyes often closed; Bernstein's
technique was demonstrative, with highly expressive facial gestures
and hand and body movements. Karajan could conduct for hours without
moving his feet, while Bernstein was known at times to leap into the
air at a great climax. As the music director of the Berlin
Philharmonic, Karajan cultivated warm, blended beauty of tone, which
has sometimes been criticized as too uniformly applied; by contrast,
in Bernstein's only appearance with the
Berlin Philharmonic in 1979
– performing Mahler's Symphony No. 9 – he tried to get the
orchestra to produce an "ugly" tone in a certain passage in which he
believed it suited the expressive meaning of the music (the first horn
player refused, and finally agreed to let an understudy play instead
Both Karajan and Bernstein made extensive use of advances in media to
convey their art, but in tellingly different ways. Bernstein hosted
major prime-time national television series to educate and reach out
to children and the public at large about classical music; Karajan
made a series of films late in his life, but in them, he did not talk.
Both made numerous recordings, but their attitudes toward recording
differed: Karajan frequently made new studio recordings to take
advantage of advances in recording technique, which fascinated him –
he played a role in setting the specifications of the compact disc –
but Bernstein, in his post-New York days, came to insist on (for the
most part) live concert recordings, believing that music-making did
not come to life in a studio without an audience.
In the last third of the 20th century, conducting technique –
particularly with the right hand and the baton – became increasingly
standardized. Conductors like
Willem Mengelberg in Amsterdam until the
end of World War II had had extensive rehearsal time to mold
orchestras very precisely, and thus could have idiosyncratic
techniques; modern conductors, who spend less time with any given
orchestra, must get results with much less rehearsal time. A more
standardized technique allows communication to be much more rapid.
Nonetheless, conductors' techniques still show a great deal of
variety, particularly with the use of the left hand, facial and eye
expression, and body language.
Conductor's score and batons on a lit, extra-large conductor's music
Women conductors were almost unheard of in the ranks of leading
orchestral conductors through most of the 19th and 20th centuries, but
today, artists like Hortense von Gelmini (de),
Marin Alsop and
Simone Young have broken the gender barrier. Alsop was appointed music
director of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra in 2007 – the first
woman ever appointed to head a major US orchestra – and also of the
Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo
Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo in 2012, and Alsop was
the first woman to conduct on the last night of The Proms. Young
scored similar firsts when she became head of the Hamburg State Opera
Philharmoniker Hamburg in 2005; she is also the first woman
conductor to record the
Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner. The Guardian
called conducting "one of the last glass ceilings in the music
industry". A 2013 article stated that in France, out of 574
concerts only 17 were conducted by women and no women conducted at the
National Opéra in Paris. "Bachtrack reported that, in a list of
the world's 150 top conductors that year, only five were women."
While Mexico has produced several major international conductors,
Alondra de la Parra
Alondra de la Parra has become the first Mexican-born woman to attain
distinction in the profession. Similarly, Asian origin has become
unremarkable, because of the international successes of conductors
from the Far East such as Seiji Ozawa, who was the Boston Symphony
Orchestra's music director from 1973 until 2002 after holding similar
posts in San Francisco and Toronto, and Myung-Whun Chung, who has held
major posts in Germany and France and now is bringing the Seoul
Orchestra to international attention. There is still
under-representation of artists of black origin in the conducting
profession, but there have been notable exceptions, such as Henry
Lewis, Dean Dixon, James DePreist, Paul Freeman, and Michael Morgan.
For more information on black conductors, see Black conductors.
According to a 2004 article in The Guardian, "black conductors are
rare in the classical music world and even in symphony orchestras it
is unusual to see more than one or two black musicians."
2, or fast 6
4 or 3
Conducting is a means of communicating artistic directions to
performers during a performance. Although there are many formal rules
on how to conduct correctly, others are subjective, and a wide variety
of different conducting styles exist depending upon the training and
sophistication of the conductor. The primary responsibilities of the
conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear
preparations and beats, listen critically and shape the sound of the
ensemble, and to control the interpretation and pacing of the music.
Communication is non-verbal during a performance, however in rehearsal
frequent interruptions allow directions as to how the music should be
played. During rehearsals, the conductor may stop the playing of a
piece to request changes in the phrasing or request a change in the
timbre of a certain section. In amateur orchestras, the rehearsals are
often stopped to draw the musicians' attentions to performance errors
or transposition mistakes.
Conducting requires an understanding of the elements of musical
expression (tempo, dynamics, articulation) and the ability to
communicate them effectively to an ensemble. The ability to
communicate nuances of phrasing and expression through gestures is
Conducting gestures are preferably prepared
beforehand by the conductor while studying the score, but may
sometimes be spontaneous.
A distinction is sometimes made between orchestral conducting and
choral conducting. Typically, orchestral conductors use a baton more
often than choral conductors. The grip of the baton varies from
conductor to conductor.
Beat and tempo
At the beginning of a piece of music, the conductor raises his hands
(or hand if he only uses a single hand) to indicate that the piece is
about to begin. This is a signal for the orchestra members to ready
their instruments to be played or for the choristers to be ready and
watching. The conductor then looks at the different sections of the
orchestra (winds, strings, etc.) or choir to ensure that all the
orchestra members are ready to play and choir members are ready. In
some choral works, the conductor may signal to a pianist or organist
to play a note or chord so that the choir members can determine their
starting notes. Then the conductor gives one or more preparatory beats
to commence the music. The preparatory beat before the orchestra or
choir begins is the upbeat. The beat of the music is typically
indicated with the conductor's right hand, with or without a baton.
The hand traces a shape in the air in every bar (measure) depending on
the time signature, indicating each beat with a change from downward
to upward motion. The images show the most common beat patterns,
as seen from the conductor's point of view.
The downbeat indicates the first beat of the bar, and the upbeat
indicates the beat before the first note of the piece and the last
beat of the bar. The instant at which the beat occurs is called the
ictus (plural: ictūs or ictuses), and is usually indicated by a
sudden (though not necessarily large) click of the wrist or change in
baton direction. In some instances, "ictus" is also used to refer to a
horizontal plane in which all the ictuses are physically located, such
as the top of a music stand where a baton is tapped at each ictus. The
gesture leading up to the ictus is called the "preparation", and the
continuous flow of steady beats is called the "takt" (the German word
for bar, measure and beat).
If the tempo is slow or slowing, or if the time signature is compound,
a conductor will sometimes indicate "subdivisions" of the beats. The
conductor can do this by adding a smaller movement in the same
direction as the movement for the beat that it belongs to.
Changes to the tempo are indicated by changing the speed of the beat.
To carry out and to control a rallentando (slowing down the pace of
the music), a conductor may introduce beat subdivisions.
While some conductors use both hands to indicate the beat, with the
left hand mirroring the right, formal education discourages such an
approach. The second hand can be used for cueing the entrances of
individual players or sections, and to aid indications of dynamics,
phrasing, expression, and other elements.
During an instrumental solo section (or, in an opera orchestra during
a vocalist's unaccompanied solo), some conductors stop counting out
all the subdivisions and simply tap the baton down once per bar, to
aid performers who are counting bars of rests.
There is a difference between the "textbook" definition of where the
ictus of a downbeat occurs and the actual performance practice in
professional orchestras. With an abrupt, loud sforzando chord, a
professional orchestra will often play slightly after the striking of
the ictus point of the baton stroke.
Dynamics are indicated in various ways. The dynamic may be
communicated by the size of the conducting movements, larger shapes
representing louder sounds. Changes in dynamic may be signalled with
the hand that is not being used to indicate the beat: an upward motion
(usually palm-up) indicates a crescendo; a downward motion (usually
palm-down) indicates a diminuendo. Changing the size of conducting
movements frequently results in changes in the character of the music
depending upon the circumstances.
Dynamics can be fine-tuned using various gestures: showing one's palm
to the performers or leaning away from them may demonstrate a decrease
in volume. To adjust the overall balance of the various instruments or
voices, these signals can be combined or directed toward a particular
section or performer.
The indication of entries, when a performer or section should begin
playing (perhaps after a long period of rests), is called "cueing". A
cue must forecast with certainty the exact moment of the coming ictus,
so that all the players or singers affected by the cue can begin
playing simultaneously. Cueing is most important for cases where a
performer or section has not been playing for a lengthy time. Cueing
is also helpful in the case of a pedal point with string players, when
a section has been playing the pedal point for a lengthy period; a cue
is important to indicate when they should change to a new note. Cueing
is achieved by "engaging" the players before their entry (by looking
at them) and executing a clear preparation gesture, often directed
toward the specific players. An inhalation, which may or may not be a
semi-audible "sniff" from the conductor, is a common element in the
cueing technique of some conductors. Mere eye contact or a look in the
general direction of the players may be sufficient in many instances,
as when more than one section of the ensemble enters at the same time.
Larger musical events may warrant the use of a larger or more emphatic
cue designed to encourage emotion and energy.
Other musical elements
A conductor, Gerald Wilson, leads a jazz big band
Articulation may be indicated by the character of the ictus, ranging
from short and sharp for staccato, to long and fluid for legato. Many
conductors change the tension of the hands: strained muscles and rigid
movements may correspond to marcato, while relaxed hands and soft
movements may correspond to legato or espressivo. Phrasing may be
indicated by wide overhead arcs or by a smooth hand motion either
forwards or side-to-side. A held note is often indicated by a hand
held flat with palm up. The end of a note, called a "cutoff" or
"release", may be indicated by a circular motion, the closing of the
palm, or the pinching of finger and thumb. A release is usually
preceded by a preparation and concluded with a complete stillness.
Conductors aim to maintain eye contact with the ensemble as much as
possible, encouraging eye contact in return and increasing the
dialogue between players/singers and conductor. Facial expressions may
also be important to demonstrate the character of the music or to
encourage the players.
In some cases, such as where there has been little rehearsal time to
prepare a piece, a conductor may discreetly indicate how the bars of
music will be beat immediately before the start of the movement by
holding up their fingers in front of their chest (so only the
performers can see). For example, in a 4
4 piece that the conductor will beat "in two" (two ictus points or
beats per bar, as if it were 2
2), the conductor would hold up two fingers in front of his chest.
In most cases, there is a short pause between movements of a symphony,
concerto or dance suite. This brief pause gives orchestra or choir
members time to turn the pages of their part and ready themselves for
the start of the next movement. String players may apply rosin or wipe
sweat off their hands with a handkerchief. Reed players may take this
time to change to a new reed. In some cases, woodwind or brass players
will use the pause to switch to a different instrument (e.g., from
trumpet to cornet or from clarinet to E♭ clarinet). If the conductor
wishes to immediately begin one movement after another for musical
reasons, this is called attacca. The conductor will instruct the
orchestra members and choristers to write the term in their parts, so
that they will be ready to go immediately to the next movement.
A military conductor leads the U.S. Navy band during Memorial Day
ceremonies held at Arlington National Cemetery.
The roles of a conductor vary a great deal between different
conducting positions and different ensembles. In some cases, a
conductor will also be the musical director of the symphony, choosing
the program for the entire season, including concerts by guest
conductors, concerto soloists, pop concerts, and so on. A senior
conductor may attend some or all of the auditions for new members of
the orchestra, to ensure that the candidates have the playing style
and tone that the conductor prefers and that candidates meet the
highest performance standards. Some choral conductors are hired to
prepare a choir for several weeks which will subsequently be directed
by another conductor. The choral conductor is usually acknowledged for
their preparatory work in the concert program.
Some conductors may have a significant public relations role, giving
interviews to the local news channel and appearing on television talk
shows to promote the upcoming season or particular concerts. On the
other hand, a conductor hired to guest conduct a single concert may
only have the responsibility of rehearsing the orchestra for several
pieces and conducting one or two concerts. While a handful of
conductors have become well-known celebrities, such as Leonard
Bernstein, most are only known within the classical music scene.
Training and education
David Baker, a music educator, composer and conductor, (far left)
leads the Smithsonian
Orchestra during the NEA Jazz
Masters awards ceremony and concert in 2008.
Classical choral and instrumental conducting have established
comprehensive systems of instruction and training. Aspiring conductors
can study at colleges, conservatories, and universities.
Conservatories, which are the standard musical training system in
France and in Quebec (Canada) provide lessons and amateur conducting
experience. Universities offer a range of conducting programs,
including courses in conducting as part of bachelor's degrees, a small
number of Master of
Music degrees in conducting, and an even smaller
Doctor of Musical Arts
Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting.
As well, there are a variety of other training programs such as
classical summer camps and training festivals, which give students the
opportunity to conduct a wide range of music. Aspiring conductors need
to obtain a broad education about the history of music, including the
major periods of classical music and regarding music theory. Many
conductors learn to play a keyboard instrument such as the piano or
the pipe organ, a skill that helps them to be able to analyze
symphonies and try out their interpretations before they have access
to an orchestra to conduct. Many conductors get experience playing in
an orchestra or singing in a choir, an experience which gives them
good insights into how orchestras and choirs are conducted and
In 2014, orchestra conductors typically hold a master's degree in
music and choir conductors in the US typically hold a bachelor's
degree in music. Bachelor's degrees (referred to as
B.Mus. or B.M)
are four-year programs that include conducting lessons, amateur
orchestra experience, and a sequence of courses in music history,
music theory, and liberal arts courses (e.g., English literature),
which give the student a more well-rounded education. Students do not
usually specialize in conducting at the
B.Mus. stage; instead, they
usually develop general music skills such as singing, playing an
orchestral instrument, performing in a choir, playing in orchestra,
and playing a keyboard instrument such as the piano or the organ.
Another topic that conducting students study is the languages used in
Classical music opera. Orchestral conductors are expected to be able
to rehearse and lead choirs in works for orchestra and choir. As such,
orchestral conductors need to know the major languages used in choral
writing (including French, Italian and Latin, among others) and they
must understand the correct diction of these languages in a choral
singing context. The opposite is also true: a choral conductor will be
expected to rehearse and lead a string orchestra or full orchestra
when performing works for choir and orchestra. As such, a choral
conductor needs to know how to rehearse and lead instrument sections.
Master of music degrees (M.mus.) in conducting consist of private
conducting lessons, ensemble experience, coaching, and graduate
courses in music history and music theory, along with one or two
conducted concerts. A Master's degree in music (referred to as an
M.Mus. or M.M.) is often the required minimum credential for people
who wish to become a professor of conducting.
Doctor of Musical Arts
Doctor of Musical Arts (referred to as D.M.A., DMA, D.Mus.A. or
A.Mus.D) degrees in conducting provide an opportunity for advanced
study at the highest artistic and pedagogical level, requiring usually
an additional 54+ credit hours beyond a master's degree (which is
about 30+ credits beyond a bachelor's degree). For this reason,
admission is highly selective. Examinations in music history, music
theory, ear training/dictation, and an entrance examination and
conducting audition are required. Students perform a number of
conducted concerts, including a combination lecture-conducted concert
with an accompanying doctoral dissertation, advanced coursework.
Students must typically maintain a minimum B average. A DMA in
conducting is a terminal degree, and as such, it qualifies the holder
to teach in colleges, universities and conservatories. In addition to
academic study, another part of the training pathway for many
conductors is conducting amateur orchestras, such as youth orchestras,
school orchestras and community orchestras.
A small number of conductors become professionals without formal
training in conducting. These individuals often have achieved renown
as instrumental or vocal performers, and they have often undertaken a
great deal of training in their area of expertise (instrumental
performance or singing). Another way that a small number of conductors
become professionals without formal training in conducting is by
learning on the job by conducting amateur orchestras, school
orchestras, and community orchestras (or the equivalent choral
The average salary of conductors in the US in 2014 was $48,180. A 3%
growth rate is forecast for conducting jobs from 2014 to 2024, a
slower than average growth rate.
List of principal conductors by orchestra
Women in music#Conducting
^ Sir George Grove, John Alexander Fuller-Maitland; eds. (1922). A
Music and Musicians, Volume 1, p.581. Macmillan. [ISBN
^ Kennedy, Michael; Bourne Kennedy, Joyce (2007). "Conducting". Oxford
Concise Dictionary of
Music (Fifth ed.). Oxford University Press,
Oxford. ISBN 9780199203833.
^ a b Holden, Raymond (2003). "The technique of conducting". In Bowen,
José Antonio. The Cambridge Companion to Conducting. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-521-52791-0.
^ Espie Estrella (6 March 2017). "The Conductor". thoughtco.com.
Retrieved 9 March 2018.
Jérôme de La Gorce (2007). "(1)
Jean-Baptiste Lully (Lulli,
Giovanni Battista) (i)". Oxford
Music Online (New Grove). Oxford
University Press. Retrieved 8 October 2008. (subscription
^ Libbey, Theodore (2006). The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of
Classical Music, p. 44. Workman. ISBN 9780761120728.
^ Galkin, Elliott W. (1988). A History of Orchestral Conducting: In
Theory and Practice, p. 521. Pendragon. ISBN 9780918728470.
^ David Mutch: "The gathering critical judgement of Hortense von
Gelmini, Germany's only woman conductor, is that she has not only the
talent but the education, energy, and persistance to make her mark in
this difficult and competive profession" – 1976 in: The Christian
Science Monitor[full citation needed]
^ Hannah Levintova. "Here's Why You Seldom See Women Leading a
Symphony". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
^ Victor Tribot Laspière (2013-10-02). "Une main ferme à l'Orchestre
national de France". France Musique. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
^ "11 of today's top women conductors". Classical-Music.com.
2015-03-06. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
^ Higgins, Charlotte (10 August 2004). "Black conductor fears he will
remain exception". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
^ Wakin, Daniel J. (6 April 2012). "The Maestro's Mojo – Breaking
Conductors' Down by Gesture and Body Part". The New York Times.
Retrieved 26 April 2012.
^ a b "
Music Directors and Composers : Occupational Outlook
Handbook : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". www.bls.gov.
Michael Bowles: The Art of
Conducting (Garden City, New York:
Doubleday, 1959); English edition as The Conductor: His Artistry and
Craftsmanship (London: G. Bell & Sons, 1961).
Larry G. Curtis and David L. Kuehn: A Guide to Successful Instrumental
Conducting (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1992); ISBN 978-0697126948.
Michel Faul: Louis Jullien: Musique, spectacle et folie au XIXe
siècle (Biarritz: Atlantica, 2006); ISBN 9782351650387.
Elliott W. Galkin: A History of Orchestral
Conducting in Theory and
Practice (New York: Pendragon Press, 1988); ISBN 978-0918728470.
Norman Lebrecht: The
Maestro Myth: Great Conductors in Pursuit of
Power (2nd revised and updated edition, New York: Citadel Press,
Conducting Technique for Beginners and Professionals
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); ISBN 978-0193858305.
Ilya Musin: The Technique of
дирижирования) (Moscow: Muzyka Publishing House, 1967).
Ennio Nicotra: Introduction to the Orchestral
Conducting Technique in
Accordance with the Orchestral
Conducting School of Ilya Musin, book
and DVD in English, German, Italian, Spanish (Milan: Edizioni Curci,
Frederik Prausnitz: Score and Podium (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983);
Max Rudolf: The Grammar of
Conducting (New York: Macmillan, 2nd ed.
1981); ISBN 978-0028722207.
Palmer, Fiona M. (17 March 2017). Conductors in Britain, 1870–1914:
Wielding the Baton at the Height of Empire. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.
p. 320. ISBN 9781783271450.
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Demonstration of conducting: Jean Sibelius' tone poem En saga
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