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MMus/MA Conducting

Introduction

Our conducting programmes provide you with the comprehensive and integrated training required of a professional conductor. You will concentrate on the technique and craft of conducting through diverse practical experience with the Royal Conservatoire orchestras, our opera department, and various classical and contemporary ensembles.

Our extensive professional links offer unmatched opportunities to work in observation and collaboration with the country’s major orchestras, such as the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the BBC SSO and the RSNO. In fact, the RSNO generously give the conducting cohort a whole day to experience professional demands – a day that the students unreservedly appreciate.

Through individual lessons, in-house opportunities and aural classes you’ll develop perception, listening skills, and self-awareness to become a responsive leader in rehearsal and performance.

In addition to the MMus/MA programme, the Royal Conservatoire also offers a highly prestigious two-year Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship, and a Joint Principal Study route for Undergraduate conductors.

Introduction

Our conducting programmes provide you with the comprehensive and integrated training required of a professional conductor. You will concentrate on the technique and craft of conducting through diverse practical experience with the Royal Conservatoire orchestras, our opera department, and various classical and contemporary ensembles.

Our extensive professional links offer unmatched opportunities to work in observation and collaboration with the country’s major orchestras, such as the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, the BBC SSO and the RSNO. In fact, the RSNO generously give the conducting cohort a whole day to experience professional demands – a day that the students unreservedly appreciate.

Through individual lessons, in-house opportunities and aural classes you’ll develop perception, listening skills, and self-awareness to become a responsive leader in rehearsal and performance.

In addition to the MMus/MA programme, the Royal Conservatoire also offers a highly prestigious two-year Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship, and a Joint Principal Study route for Undergraduate conductors.

Programme Outline

The MMus/MA programme is made up of four modules. The Principal Study will enable you to develop technical and expressive mastery as a conductor. Ensuring you meet the demands of a conducting career, you’ll develop a firm but flexible and responsive conducting style that demonstrates musical individuality and technical assurance. Over the course of your studies you will move towards greater independence and self-reliance and will develop an ability to identify problems and solve them through preparation and rehearsal.

Supporting Studies will provide a range of experiences and classes to support your Principal Study and develop a mature musical personality. This will include one-to-one coaching, performance classes, study of orchestral scores and instruments, sectional coaching, large scale production rehearsals, and full orchestral rehearsals. You’ll also observe and work with conductors in Conservatoire and professional rehearsals and performances.

The programme is completed by the Approaches to Critical Artistry module, in which you carry out a practice-based research project, and up to two Elective modules in each year of study.

The structure of the one-year MA programme is similar, including Principal Study, Supporting Studies, Approaches to Critical Artistry and the option to take one or two Electives. This programme is completed by the Negotiated Study module, offering the opportunity to pursue an significant period of independent study in an area of your own choosing.

Full details of the structure of both the MMus and MA degrees are in the MMus-MA Guide for Applicants 2015-16, which can be found at http://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/.

Staff and masterclasses

Garry Walker

Artistic Director of Conducting

Garry Walker was Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra from 2003 – 2007, Principal Conductor of Paragon Ensemble and now closely associated with the Red Note Ensemble, Scotland’s première contemporary ensemble. In his role as Artistic Director he leads the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s conducting programme, as well as mentoring the Leverhulme Conducting Fellows and teaching on both the MMus/MA and BMus Joint Principal Study programmes. Continue reading…

Donald Runnicles

RCS International Fellow in Conducting

Maestro Runnicles is Conductor Emeritus of the BBC SSO, General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival (Wyoming, USA), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Dr Alasdair Mitchell

Lecturer in Conducting

Dr Mitchell graduated as a gold medallist from Edinburgh University, studied cello at the RAM and conducting at the Conservatorio in Rome.

Masterclasses

Recent masterclasses and conducting consultants include David Danzmayr, Nicholas Cleobury, Christopher Adey, Christopher Seaman, Jean-Claude Picard, James Lowe, Christian Kluxen and Martyn Brabbins. Future classes are planned with Jessica Cottis and Baldur Brönnimann.

How to apply

Applications for the Conducting programme should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £24 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

Before applying we recommend that you read the Guide for Applicants which provides information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process. Please download the Guide to Applicants – MMus/MA here.

Late applications may be considered, find out more on our Apply for Music page.

Entry requirements

  • Normally a good Honours (at least 2.2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme

Entrance to the Conservatoire is based on talent, potential and ability, therefore consideration will be given to relevant experience which is deemed to compensate for any traditional education. We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk.

English Language

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Other equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk for more information.

  • IELTS – 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component

Audition Requirements

Audition requirements are given in the MMus-MA Guide for Applicants 2015-16, which can be found at http://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2017-18

  • MMus Conducting (2 years) UK/EU Students – £8,094
  • MMus Conducting (2 years) International (non-EU) – £15,513
  • MA Conducting (1 year) UK/EU Students – £10,983
  • MA Conducting (1 year) International (non-EU) – £18,648

Scottish/EU students

New Scottish and EU domiciled students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. All eligible students will be able to apply directly to Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a non-means tested loan of up to £3,400. See the following website for further details of the PSAS scheme:

http://www.saas.gov.uk/full_time/pg/index.htm

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan up to £4,500 towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.

Scholarships

Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available here

Sources of external funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit here.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship

Our two-year Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship programme is for young conductors on the verge of a career. The programme is fully funded by the Leverhulme Trust, administrated by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the new music ensemble, Red Note, and includes a £15,000 a year bursary to the succesful candidate.

The Conducting Fellows will work extensively with the Conservatoire’s Artistic Director of Conducting, Garry Walker and with all the orchestras and ensembles within the Conservatoire, including the Opera and Modern Ballet departments.

The position will provide a unique blend of training within the context of a supportive Conservatoire environment and extensive professional links, both with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra – where Fellows will act as assistant to their Chief Conductor Thomas Dausgaard – and other principal Scottish performing arts organisations such as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

The aim of the programme is to provide a final bridge between a young conductor’s postgraduate study and their eventual access to the profession itself.

Previous Conducting fellows are now already active in the profession:

Jessica Cottis (2010-12) Guest conductor BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Philharmonic Orchestra and many others
Fergus McLeod (2012-14) Charles Mackerras Fellow at English National Opera
Ciaran McAuley (2013-14) Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra
Holly Mathieson (2014-15) Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Applications for the Leverhulme Fellowship in Conducting for 2017-19 are now closed. Applications for 2018-20 will open in Summer of 2017, with a provisional deadline of 1 Novemmber 2017. The initial application is by means of two contrasting videos, preferably including both performance and rehearsal time, accompanied by a CV. Auditions for shortlisted candidates are likely to be held in February 2018.

The Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship is open to applicants of any age and nationality.

Please feel free to contact Dr J Simon van der Walt, Conducting Co-ordinator, if you have any further enquiries about the Fellowship (js.vanderwalt@rcs.ac.uk).