Boston Conservatory at Berklee's orchestral conducting program is rooted in the belief that today's conductor must be well versed in a vast range of instrumental repertoire for any ensemble—whether that be an orchestra, conducted chamber group, small ensemble, opera, or musical theater pit orchestra, chorus, or pops orchestra. Under the guidance of esteemed conductor Bruce Hangen, students have the opportunity to observe and participate in the many orchestral and choral rehearsals at the Conservatory. Conducting students also collaborate with talented musicians who are passionate about creating top-quality performances for Boston audiences.
The Conservatory's location in the heart of Boston is an ideal setting for aspiring conductors. Not only is the Conservatory within walking distance of world-renowned organizations, such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, and Boston Lyric Opera, but the school also boasts an ever-growing network of community and local ensembles that have a history of hiring Boston Conservatory-trained conductors and directors.
Students in the orchestral conducting program are serious about pursuing a career in conducting. They are creative thinkers, inspired by the score and determined to explore its many possibilities. Those who are most successful in the program are proficient instrumentalists or vocalists who understand the importance of continuing private lessons on their principal instrument while at the Conservatory. Perhaps most importantly, conductors are leaders, so students in the program must be willing to dedicate themselves to becoming intellectual and artistic role models for the groups that they lead.
The Conservatory's program offers a great deal of podium time for student conductors, which is an integral part of the curriculum. Boston Conservatory Conductors' Orchestra, for example, is an ensemble specifically for conducting students. Each semester, conducting students rehearse with the orchestra and perform for a public audience. Second-year conducting students also have the opportunity to conduct a 20-minute selection with the Boston Conservatory Orchestra, which is the school's largest auditioned ensemble.
Throughout the program, orchestral conducting students receive weekly private conducting lessons with Bruce Hangen, which are devoted to the student's specific needs and technical requirements. To supplement this, all students in the program gather weekly for an orchestral conducting seminar, in which non-technical issues relating to conducting are discussed, such as programming, rehearsal techniques, behavioral techniques, and professional résumé building. At the same time, students receive private lessons on their primary instrument and take courses in advanced music theory and analysis, music history and literature, and electives in score reading, the Alexander Technique, and opera.
Alumni of Boston Conservatory's orchestral conducting program have earned coveted positions with esteemed music ensembles, choruses, and schools all over the country, including:
- Arizona Pro Arte
- Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra
- Berklee College of Music Video Game Orchestra
- Boston Chamber Orchestra
- Costa Rica Youth Symphony
- Des Moines Metro Opera
- Georgia Symphony Orchestra
- Itzhak Perlman Klezmer Tour
- Newburgh Symphony Orchestra
- Park East Synagogue
- Santa Fe Opera
- Orlando Opera
- Utah Symphony Orchestra
- Washington National Opera
- Dartmouth College
- Idyllwild Arts Academy
- Lake Forest Symphony
- Williams College