Choral Conducting

Conducting audition requirements

Master of Music (M.M.), Doctor of Music (D.M.)

Non-native English speakers must submit their TOEFL by December 1, 2020. Your prescreen will not be reviewed until English Proficiency has been met.

The following information is for the 2020-2021 school year. In response to the ongoing global health crisis, we are currently reviewing our audition procedures for the 2021-2022 school year to meet state and university guidelines related to COVID-19. Please check back for updates!

  • Video recording, including:
    • A rehearsal: approximately 10 minutes, with camera positioned from the choir's perspective
    • A performance: 15 minutes maximum of at least two contrasting works
  • Résumé/Curriculum Vitae, including:
    • Musical training and education
    • Jobs (include non-musical positions if they have been significant)
  • Repertoire list, including:
    • Works conducted in performance, including date and group
    • Works prepared, including when and for whom
      • (you prepared the chorus for another conductor)
    • Works assisted, including when and for whom
      • (you conducted sectionals but weren’t fully responsible for chorus)
    • Works studied
  • Statement of Purpose
    • Describe your entry into the field of choral conducting, significant milestones or motivations, and your aspirations in the field. No longer than one page preferred.
  • D.M. applicants only: A writing sample (either a course paper or program notes) which demonstrates fluency and aptitude in written English.

Choral conducting auditions TBA

Audition invitations will be sent before January 1, 2021, based on prescreen applications. All auditions are held on the Bloomington campus. We do not admit students based on video or audio recordings.

Auditions will include:

1)  A Conducting Technique Demonstration

In this individual session with the choral faculty you will be asked to conduct "Let Nimrod, the mighty Hunter" from Benjamin Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb (Rehearsal 2 to Rehearsal 9).


MM applicants: Handel: Messiah, No. 5, "Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts"

DM applicants: Haydn: Die Schöpfung (The Creation) No. 21, "Gleich öffnet sich die Erde Schoss," starting directly on the accompagnato recitative. The soloist will sing in German.

A soloist and pianist will be provided.

2)  A Conducting Audition

Your audition with an SATB chamber chorus (c. 30 voices) will last 10—12 minutes. Please choose one of the pieces from the repertoire list below. We would like to see you rehearse, taking a portion of your repertoire selection and bringing it closer to concert readiness, as opposed presenting a "conducting performance." The chorus will be seated SATB from left to right (from the conductor’s perspective) and sing in the original language.  Vocal scores will be provided for the chorus in the editions indicated below; please conduct from a full score if you are conducting a choral/orchestral work.​  

3)  An Interview with the Choral Conducting Faculty

In the interview we will want to hear about your background and aspirations, and we’ll answer questions you have about our program.  We will also use this time to learn about facets of your musicianship beyond conducting.  You will be asked to sight sing, play a brief piano reduction from a well-known choral work, and perhaps sing parts of your audition repertoire.  We may also ask questions about this repertoire (composer, context, analysis, translation, and why you chose the piece).  

4)  A Written Diagnostic Exam

This exam gives us more information about your musical skills and your knowledge of the repertoire.  It will include a short dictation of a four-part Bach chorale and score identification (era and likely composer) of a variety of choral scores.

Audition Day Schedule & Additional Events

The Audition Day schedule runs from 8:30 to 4:30, but to get a full picture of our program we suggest you plan on visiting at least a portion of an opera rehearsal, usually scheduled 4:00–6:00.  Also included in your day will be lunch (on us!) with several of our current grad students. Depending on the day of the week, you will observe faculty-led rehearsals, a Conductors Chorus rehearsal (the paid recital chorus), and/or an IU Opera/Ballet Theater performance. (Complimentary tickets will be provided.) Check Events & Performances to see Jacobs School events.

Audition repertoire

Please call the Choral Office (812-855-0427) with your choice of audition piece by January 15.

Choose one of the following:

  • Bach - Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4, Movt. 1 (Carus Verlag)
  • Brahms - Ein deutsches Requiem, Movt. I (Peters)
  • Handel - Messiah, "And the glory of the Lord" or "Surely He hath borne our griefs" (Novello)
  • Hindemith - Six chansons, "Un cygne" (Schott)
  • Mozart - Requiem, K. 626, Süssmayr completion, “Introit,” “Kyrie,” “Hostias,” or “Quam olim Abrahae”  (Bärenreiter)
  • Schütz - Die mit Tränen säen (Call Choral Office for PDF)
  • Verdi - “Va, pensiero” from Nabucco
  • Victoria – O vos omnes (Call Choral Office for PDF)

You may conduct from a different edition than those listed; the chorus’s scores will be available to you and you will have time before your audition to mark rehearsal letters and measure numbers in your score if needed. If you wish to audition with the Schütz or Victoria, please contact the Choral Office to receive a PDF of the scores—publications vary widely in key and modern meters.

Your audition for our graduate program is also your audition for an assistantship. These include tuition remission, health insurance, and a stipend. Please see information under Graduate Scholarships for details. 

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