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 Fred Fox School of Music  conductors and the Arizona Symphony Orchestra on Debussy’s Ibéria in February 2016

An opening in the orchestral conducting studio is not anticipated until Fall 2025. Auditions will be held in February or March 2025. No applications will be accepted for 2024. 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.

UArizona 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, Smetana’s The Moldau,  Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, Falla’s Three Dances from The Three-Cornered Hat, Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite (1919), Dvo,rak’s Symphony No. 8 Haydn’s Symphony No. 100, Schubert’ s “Unfinished” Symphony and excerpts from Bizet’s Carmen with vocalists.

Arizona Symphony Orchestra Conducting students have 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 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 Korngold Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto (first movement), Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2, Brahms Violin Concerto (first movement) and Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (first movement) and numerous opera arias.

UA Opera Theater DMA students often serve as the assistant conductor for 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 Le nozze di Figaro, Dido and Aeneas, L’Enfant et les sortilèges, L’elisir d’amore, The MikadoDie Zauberflöte, La traviata, Die Fledermaus and Orpheus in the Underworld.

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. Student video recordings, self critiques and observation notes by Dr. Cockrell frequently reviewed together.  

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 UArizona 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