NEC's orchestral conducting program was reorganized and reenergized in 2009-10 under the direction of NEC's Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras, Hugh Wolff.
A highly selective, two-year, graduate-level curriculum that offers the Master of Music degree, the Orchestral Conducting major is designed to develop the artistic, leadership, and aural skills needed to prepare the most talented young conductors for a professional orchestra career.
“We have so much contact with Mr. Wolff—almost five to six hours a week. It’s almost constant contact and it’s really great to just talk about music.”
—Joshua Weilerstein, ’11 M.M.
Course work in score reading, instrumentation, orchestration, and performance practice, along with private studio and seminars, reinforces the student's understanding of the conductor's art and craft.
Tapping into the vast orchestral resources of the Conservatory, conductors are encouraged to develop and pursue opportunities to rehearse and perform with symphony orchestras, including a dedicated Laboratory Orchestra.
“This has been one of the most healthy learning environments, particularly in music, that I’ve had. I’m five times the conductor I was a year ago.”
—Aram Demirjian ’11 M.M.
This hands-on experience allows them to refine the technique needed to convey their musical ideas. Through mini apprenticeships with partner organizations like the Boston Pops and the Handel + Haydn Society, student conductors become well versed in all the styles and genres they may encounter in the professional world. They emerge competent to lead everything from Baroque oratorios to the classical canon to accompaniments for pop singers.
Admission to the program is based on screening of videotape/DVD submissions, followed by possible invitation to Boston for a live audition with orchestra, interview, and entrance examination.
“Mr. Wolff is supportive, as respectful of his students as he is of his colleagues, and unbounding in his generosity with his time and effort.”