Choral Department



Bernard McDonald

Doctoral Student, Conductor, Pianist, Vocal Coach - Director of Opera Simpson College
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The information on this page has changed as of November 14, 2017.

By December 1st, all applicants applying for the MM and DM programs should submit both the Jacobs School of Music application

( and the pre-screening materials designated at the following link

( ).

To submit your pre-screening materials, follow the instructions on the Jacobs School of Music website (

Audition/Interview Dates For Fall 2018 Matriculation

Thursday, February 1, and Friday, February 2, 2018

All auditions are held on the Bloomington campus. We do not admit students based on video or audio recordings.  Audition invitations will be sent before January 1, 2018, based on pre-screening applications.


1)  A Written Diagnostic Exam

This exam gives us an idea about your musical and analytical skills and your knowledge of the repertoire.  It 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)  A Conducting Technique Demonstration

In this individual session with the choral faculty you’ll 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: "Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of Hosts" from Messiah

DM applicants:  Haydn: "Gleich öffnet sich die Erde Schoss" from Die Schöpfung (The Creation) The soloist will sing in German.

A soloist & a pianist will be provided. 

3)  A Conducting Audition With Chorus

Your audition with an SATB chorus will last 10-12 minutes. Please choose one of the pieces from the repertoire list below and be prepared to rehearse and conduct your selection in the original language. We’ll be looking for advanced musicianship, effective conducting technique, knowledge of the voice, and solid rehearsal techniques. Vocal scores will be provided for the chorus; please bring your own full score. The chorus will be seated SATB from left to right.

4)  An Interview With The Choral Conducting Faculty

The interview is designed to help us get to know you better as a musician.  We’ll ask you 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 the repertoire you conducted (composer, context, analysis, translation, and why you chose the piece).  Most importantly, we’ll want to hear about your background and aspirations, and we’ll answer any questions you have about our program. If time allows we may discuss our observations from your audition.

Also included in your audition day will be a chance to talk over lunch with some of our current grad students.  Of course you’ll be welcome to observe any rehearsals or performances that are happening while you’re on campus.  If you arrive by 2:30 on Wednesday you’ll be able to observe our MM students rehearse the Conductors Chorus (a paid student recital chorus) for their upcoming recital.  Thursday night you may observe the dress rehearsal of Rodelinde, or on Friday we can provide complimentary tickets to opening night.


Please call the Choral Office [(812) 855-0427 with your choice of audition piece by Wednesday, January 17th.  The editions listed below refer to the piano-vocal scores used by the audition chorus. You may use other editions. Copies of the piano-vocal scores will be available at the morning Meet & Greet and you will have time to compare rehearsal letters and measure numbers before your audition.

•    Bach, Cantata Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4, 1st movement (Carus Verlag)

•    Beethoven, Mass in C Major, Op. 86,  “Kyrie” (Breitkopf)

•    Brahms, Ein deutsches Requiem, Movt. I or IV (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,” “Lacrymosa,” or “Hostias” (Bärenreiter)

•    Schütz, Die mit Tränen säen  (Bärenreiter)

•    Stravinsky, Mass (Boosey & Hawkes)

•    Verdi, 'Va, pensiero' from Nabucco (Ricordi)

•    Victoria, O vos omnes (

The audition choir will consist of current conducting graduate students and members of our undergraduate conducting classes, many of whom will be sight reading your repertoire.  We would like to see you to take a portion of your selection and bring it closer to concert readiness, as opposed to putting on a conducting performance.  Rehearse pitches only where necessary; spend time on ensemble, interpretive choices, articulation, performance practice, etc. 

You may be asked to warm-up the ensemble (no more than 5 minutes) on audition day. Please prepare a short warm-up in the event that you are asked to do so.


Your audition for our graduate program is also your audition for a choral assistantship.

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. Information regarding theory assistantship auditions can be found on the Theory Department webpage.