Orchestral Conducting at UA

José Luis Goméz, newly appointed Tucson Symphony Orchestra music director, coached UA conductors and the Arizona Symphony Orchestra on Debussy Ibéria

José Luis Gómez, newly appointed Tucson Symphony Orchestra music director, coached UA conductors and the Arizona Symphony Orchestra on Debussy’s Ibéria in February 2016

Two openings in the conducting studio are anticipated for Fall 2018 or Spring 2019, with auditions being held February/March 2018.  Please see Application and Audition Procedures  

See a list of recent or soon-to-be graduates of the UA graduate program in orchestral and opera conducting.

Performance opportunities The breadth and abundance of performance opportunities at the University of Arizona are unparalleled for its MM and DMA students of orchestral conducting.  The studio size is limited to 2-3 students and frequent conducting assignments are made on a rotating basis with various ensembles, assuring a breadth of experience.

UA Philharmonic
The graduate conductors share the conducting and administrative duties of the UA Philharmonic Orchestra. “The Phil” is the School’s university orchestra, a mixture of music majors, minors and non majors. The Philharmonic rehearses four hours each week and presents two concerts each semester. Recent works performed by graduate students include Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture Fantasy, Falla’s Three Dances from The Three-Cornered Hat, Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919), Verdi’sOverture to Nabucco, Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, Schubert’ s “Unfinished” Symphony and excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen. In November the Philharmonic will perform an evening of opera scenes — Handel, Mozart, Weber, Nicolai and Strauss, Jr.

Arizona Symphony Orchestra Conducting students have both reading, workshop and performance opportunities with the School of Music’s top orchestra while serving as assistant conductors.  Recent workshop opportunities have included Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol and Copland’s Appalachian Spring (13-instrument version) and Beethoven Symphony No. 5.  Students accompany student competition winners on the annual President’s Concert each February. Recent performances include Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2, Brahms Violin Concerto (first movement) and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (first movement). 

UA Opera Theater DMA students often serve as the assistant conductor for the two annual UA Opera Theater productions.  They conduct musical and staging rehearsals sometimes culminating in conducting a performance. There are additional opportunities to serve as music director, coach, and conductor of opera scenes programs each semester. Recent student conductor performances include L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, L’elisir d’amore, The MikadoDie Zauberflöte, La traviata, and Die Fledermaus.

More There are other possibilities to conduct on or off campus, such as choral, contemporary and ad hoc ensembles.

Advanced conducting training

Private Lessons Regular one-on-one lessons cover a variety of aspects related to conducting:  technique, analysis, rehearsal techniques, etc. Frequent analysis of student video recordings is encouraged.

Seminar Students and Dr. Cockrell meet regularly for sessions addressing a variety of pertinent subjects: score analysis, study and memorization skills, instrumentation, personal and time management, performance practice, programming, public speaking and leadership skills, etc.

Recording The Fred Fox School of Music boasts having the Jeff Haskell Recording Studio and a superb audio engineer, Wiley Ross. Students will have opportunities to study all aspects of audio production from microphone placement and recording through mastering and final production of a CD.

Supplementary studies The full resources of the he University of Arizona are available to conducting students.  They will be encouraged to strengthen their knowledge of the operatic languages of Italian, German and French.

See orchestra.music.arizona.edu for detailed information about the UA Orchestras.

Thomas Cockrell

Director of Orchestral Activities

Nelson Riddle Endowed Chair in Music
Fred Fox School of Music, The University of Arizona
P.O. Box 210004
Tucson, AZ  85721-0004