Conducting – Audition Requirements

The RNCM is at the forefront of educating conductors internationally, and graduates of our programmes are regularly seen conducting in the world’s major concert halls and opera houses.

Audition requirements for postgraduate study are outlined below, but if you require further information, please email admissions@rncm.ac.uk or call 0161 907 5465.

Undergraduate

While we don’t offer conducting as a Principal Study option within our undergraduate programmes, there are a range of electives available within the Bachelor of Music with Honours degree, and many opportunities for instrumentalists and composers to develop an interest in conducting alongside their studies.

Postgraduate (MMus)

The audition consists of a preliminary video selection round followed by two days of live auditions. Please note: Due to restrictions associated with COVID-19 and the ongoing effect this will have into the Autumn Term, live audition dates for September 2021 entry will be announced later in the year. 

First round:
All candidates should supply approximately 20 minutes of footage of their conducting. Ideally, this should be a fairly equal mixture of rehearsal and performance. The camera should be positioned so that the candidate’s face and upper body is clearly visible, i.e. the camera should be positioned in or behind the orchestra/ensemble, and ideally some of the musicians should also be visible. The recording should be submitted via Acceptd by 31 October. If you wish to be considered for the choral specialism, please make this clear in the material you submit to Acceptd.

Second round:
Selected candidates will be invited for an audition and interview in person.
Candidates will be required to conduct a small ensemble (wind or string) in a rehearsal situation for 10 minutes.
These auditions will be followed by an interview with a panel led by Clark Rundell and Mark Heron.

Third round:
A number of the candidates will be invited to rehearse a soloist and chamber ensemble in a standard concerto. For choral conducting applicants this round will be with a chamber choir. This round will take place either on the first or second day of the auditions.

Final round:
Some candidates will be invited to stay for the final round in the evening of the second day, which will be with orchestra.

Repertoire for second, third and final rounds

The repertoire for the second, third and final rounds will be notified to you in advance and applicants are expected to bring their own music. As an example, the following pieces have been used in previous years:

  • Three movements of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale: Marche du Soldat, Pastorale and Marche Royale
  • Schumann Concerto for Cello, movement 1
  • Beethoven Symphony Number 1, movements 1 and 2

Choral Specialism

We actively seek applicants with a specialism and interest in choral conducting, and will generally offer one place each year on this stream. Please make sure you application material indicates your interest in this. The audition process outline above may be slightly different for this.

Auditions by Recording

Attendance at the live auditions is very much recommended but international students who are unable to attend in person can send a recording via Acceptd for our consideration. In this case, you will need to record a 20-minute rehearsal and a 20-minute performance each consisting of two contrasting pieces. This footage should not be edited and should clearly show your face and upper body. Some of the musicians should also be visible.