Choral Department



Bernard McDonald

Doctoral Student, Conductor, Pianist, Vocal Coach - Director of Opera Simpson College
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Audition/Interview Dates 2016 (For Fall 2016 Matriculation)

Thursday & Friday, February 4 & 5, 2016
(for all choral conducting applicants)

All auditions are held on the Bloomington campus. Please make your travel plans after you receive official confirmation of your audition/interview date and time.

If you are unable to attend the official audition dates sponsored by the Office of Music Admissions and the Choral Department, but still wish to have an audition in person, it may be possible to arrange an ad hoc audition. To schedule an ad hoc audition, you must contact the chair of the Choral Department; please note that faculty members are not obligated to grant ad hoc auditions.

Master of Music in Choral Conducting (M.M.)
Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting (D.M.)

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, analytical 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 the composer/era of a variety of choral scores. (NOTE: This examination is not in lieu of the graduate entrance examinations.)

2.) During the individual conducting session with the choral conducting faculty, the applicant will conduct "Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter" from Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb (from rehearsal 2 to rehearsal 9, Boosey & Hawkes edition). The applicant will also conduct one of the following recitatives:

MM applicants: Handel: Recitative: "Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts" from Messiah.

DM applicants: Haydn: Recitative: "Gleich öffnet sich die Erde Schoss" ("Straight opening her fertile womb") from Die Schöpfung (The Creation) - in German.

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

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. The applicant will be expected to show advanced musicianship, knowledge of the voice, effective conducting technique, 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, ("And the glory of the Lord" or "Surely He hath borne our griefs")
  • Haydn, Mass in D Minor "Lord Nelson" ed. Robbins Landon (Schott)
  • Hindemith, Six chansons (Schott) "Un cygne"
  • Mozart, Requiem, K. 626, completed by Süssmayr (excluding Dies Irae) (Bärenreiter)
  • Schütz, Die mit Tränen säen (Bärenreiter)
  • Stravinsky, Mass (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/or analysis. The applicant may also be asked to give an analysis of and/or sing parts of the audition repertoire.

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.

Current IU Jacobs School of Music Student Auditions

Students who are currently completing a degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music may use their final recital or recital hearing as their audition, provided they notify their teacher in advance. If you are applying for a graduate degree, your audition must take place prior to April 1, 2016. Your department must provide an audition rating and submit an official score on an Audition Report Form to the Office of Music Admissions.