Studies in Conducting

Salonen Conducting Fellows

The Colburn School is pleased to announce the addition of the Negaunee Conducting Program to the Colburn Conservatory, led by world-renowned composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Salonen Conducting Fellows will pursue a Diploma with a conducting emphasis. The Fellows will study directly with Salonen and serve as preparatory conductors for the flagship Colburn Orchestra. They will also conduct the Zipper Outreach Orchestra, Colburn’s performing ensemble for its community engagement activities, and the Concerto Forum Showcase, an annual public concert that features soloists from the Conservatory of Music. A maximum of three students will participate in the program in any given year to allow ample podium time and access to Salonen.

Additionally, these Fellows will serve as assistants to Maestro Salonen at the Philharmonia Orchestra, where they will lead the orchestra in both its residency series and designated tour dates. The Fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with other young artists on the Philharmonia’s Emerging Artists program, designed to connect young artists to the wider life of the Philharmonia; work with Philharmonia’s management to develop and produce Salonen’s flagship projects; and serve as assistant conductors to Salonen for his international engagements with the Philharmonia, other orchestras, opera houses, tours, and festivals.

In keeping with the Colburn Conservatory model, students will receive a full scholarship to cover tuition, room, and board.

Application and Pre-Screening Videos Due: December 1, 2019
  • Applicants must submit videos of themselves conducting representative works of their choice from the standard orchestral repertoire (no fewer than three selections).
  • Videos may be from performance or rehearsal.
  • At least one video must be shot from the back of the orchestra, to show the conductor from the front. The applicant must be clearly visible in all videos.
  • The video should represent a variety of musical styles and artistic and technical challenges.
  • Videos should be unedited.
  • Videos must be representative of recent work.

A select number of applicants will be invited to a live audition at the Colburn School on March 2, 2020.

The audition day will include:

  • Theory/aural skill/history assessment: Applicants will participate in tiered testing in the areas of music theory, aural skills, and music history. Applicants are not expected to have levels of expertise in all areas; the assessment will provide an individualized picture of each applicant’s current knowledge and abilities.
  • Conducting audition: Applicants will have the opportunity to conduct the Colburn Orchestra. Repertoire for the conducting round will consist of Stravinsky’s Petrushka (1947 version) and Brahms’ Haydn Variations.
  • Interview with Mr. Salonen: Select applicants will have individual interviews after the conducting audition.

All applicants who are invited to the live audition must have an up-to-date passport and be able to travel to London for the final callback, should they be invited.

A small number of applicants from the Live Audition round at Colburn will be invited for a final callback on March 16, 2020 in London. Finalists will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in rehearsal. Repertoire for the callbacks will consist of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 and Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for String Orchestra. Financial assistance will be provided to these finalists in order to defray some of the travel costs.