January 6, 2009

NEC Announces Two Advanced Graduate Programs

Artist Diploma in Opera to be Offered in Partnership with Opera Boston

Orchestral Conducting Master’s Program to be Directed by Hugh Wolff

New England Conservatory has announced the creation of two advanced graduate programs designed to train elite young musicians in opera performance and orchestral conducting. Both will be offered beginning in the 2009-10 school year.

Opera Boston apprentices 2008-09Opera Boston apprentices 2008-09The Artist Diploma in Opera is a two-year program that will confer NEC’s most prestigious diploma on selected singers. It will be offered in partnership with Opera Boston and will build on the NEC/Opera Boston Fellows program that debuted this year. Administered jointly at NEC by the Opera Studies and Voice Departments and by General Director Carole Charnow of Opera Boston, the program will admit one or two singers each year, who will receive full tuition scholarship assistance and a modest stipend. Those chosen will receive studio voice lessons, coaching, and electives. The students will also enjoy the following performing opportunities as part of their program: at least one principal role with orchestra in an NEC production each year, option for outreach performances with Opera Boston, singing in chorus of Opera Boston productions, and potentially covering a lead role and/or performing a secondary role in an Opera Boston production. “We have been very pleased with the first pilot year of our Fellows Program and I am looking forward to developing this program, which brings Opera Boston together with NEC, an institution with a rich tradition of opera education and performance,” Charnow commented.

The Artist Diploma program is designed for singers who may already have embarked on performing careers or on the brink of such careers.

Hugh Wolff at NECHugh Wolff at NECUnder the leadership of Hugh Wolff, Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras, the Orchestral Conducting Program is designed to develop the artistic, leadership, and aural skills of aspiring conductors. Offered on the graduate level, it will culminate in a Master of Music degree and will complement the existing wind ensemble and choral conducting programs. While NEC has not offered an orchestral conducting degree for the past several years, the school has produced noted conductors through its entire existence, including Leonard Bernstein, Kenneth Schermerhorn ’50 DP, Herbert Blomstedt ‘52, Sarah Caldwell ’46, John Oliver ’67, Eiji Oue ’81 A.D, Mei-Ann Chen ’95, ’98 M.M., ’98 M.M, James Gaffigan ’01, and Jayce Ogren ’03 M.M.

According to Wolff, the conducting program “will give aspiring young conductors significant time in front of a live orchestra (including once a week sessions with a lab orchestra) as well as a thorough grounding in the essentials of score analysis and preparation, style and repertoire, and career guidance.” In addition, Wolff “will be working to forge bonds with other professional ensembles in the Boston area, where an incomparably rich musical environment offers tremendous opportunities."

For further information, check the NEC Website here or here.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 750 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 100-year old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of “From the Top,” a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory