Conducting Institute

Now in its 14th year, the acclaimed Westminster Conducting Institute is one of the leading programs for the training of conductor's in the world. In one extended week of intensive study, participants are able to experience in one location eight of the world's most renowned conductors who share their artistry and experience with participants. Coupled with its new sister program, The Choral Music Institute at Oxford, conductors at all levels of expertise can sharpen their pedagogical and conducting skills under the tutelage of the world's greatest teachers.  Led by James Jordan, this remarkable and diverse faculty bring their vast expertise that have led the choral profession both in America and Europe for the past four decades.  

Techniques taught in the Institute are applicable to all ages and performance level choirs. The Institute also introduces conductors to new choral literature brought to the Institute by each of the conducting faculty.

June 28 - July 4, 2015

Faculty: James Jordan, Director; Marilyn Shenenberger, Coordinator and Principal Accompianist; Distinquished choral faculty: Charles Bruffy, Bruce Chamberlain, Vance George, Gary Graden, Sabine Hortsmann, and Simon Carrington.

Conducting Institute faculty 2014

Each faculty member selects 2-3 works to present to the Institute.  A major work is examined and studied by all participants.  All literature will be available through the Westminster Music and Books for order for study before the Institute. Piano/Vocal Scores of the Durufle Requiem will be available from the Westminster Performance Collection.

The Choral Accompanying Staff of the Institute

Led by author/accompanist and Dalcroze specialist Marilyn Shenenberger, each small conducting class taught by the Institute faculty has an accompanist that has collaborated with one or more of Westminster's renowned choirs.  This year's staff includes Jonathan Palmer Lakeland, Jason Vodicka, William Sawyer, Marilyn Shenenberger, and Corey Everly.

Accompanying Staff

Daily Schedule:

  • Each day begins with a group vocal technique warm-up and lecture by Sabine Horstman. Professor Horstman was a student of the legendary Frauke Haasemann. Students attending the Institute gain valuable pedagogical insights and materials for use with their choirs in these sessions.  Professor Horstamn has been with the Westminster Conducting Institute for ALL of its 13 year history. Participants during the week will learn in detail the techniques and philosophy in her acclaimed book and DVD, Choral Vocal Technique (GIA)
  • Daily conducting classes in small groups with the Institute faculty. (Note:  Participants may request to study with a specific member of the faculty-Placement dependent upon the approval of the Institute Director on the first evening of the course.  Participant requests honored whenever possible
  • Masterclass Lecture on Breath by Laura Brooks Rice
  • Harmonic Rhythm Etudes Drill and Practice with Marilyn Shenenberger
  • Masterclasses in Practical rehearsing by Simon Carrington focusing on Liszt: Ave Maria
  • Classes in Suzuki Movement by Sean McCarther
  • Study of Plainchant and its uses as a Music Literacy Teaching Tool for Choirs at All Levels by James Jordan 
  • An Understanding of how a knowledge of plainchant informs all choral performance, no matter the work.  Issues of phrasing , breath, and ensemble singing will be discussed in detail
  • Daily movement Laban-based sessions relating to choral literature being studied
  • Ear-Training Sessions for Conductors that aid with Score study with Stefan Young for conductors at all levels
  • Evening lectures on score analysis, other topics by the Institute faculty
  • Lectures on Intonation and Tuning by Gary Graden
  • New Choral Literature from Sweden presented by Gary Graden
  • Lecture on Diction and rehearsal techniques by Charles Bruffy
  • Reading of important and obscure major works of Schubert and Mendelssohn by Vance George

Please note: This course includes evening hours! A complete schedule will be sent to participants.  Participants should organize their travel plans accordingly.

  • Daily class schedule (Monday - Friday) is 8:30am - 8:30pm
  • First day of Institute: Sunday class is 3:30pm - 9pm
  • Saturday class is 8:30am - 1pm

In addition to the above, each participant is assigned (based upon experience) to a daily conducting class with the Institute faculty. Students are asked to conduct a portion of work on the first evening of the Institute in order to be placed in the appropriate section. This year, the selection is sine paenitentia by Cortlandt Matthews and can be downloaded here.  Students also conduct in master class situations where they are critiqued by choral faculty other than their class teacher.  Participants must bring a scandisk of sufficient size to record both their conducting classes and the final masterclasses. Participants can take the Institute for credit or noncredit. Conductors who register for credit are entitled to a longer critiqued masterclass. Non-credit participants conduct for masterclasses for a shorter amount of time for written comments only. For non-credit persons, masterclass conducting is optional.  Credit participants must conduct in the Institute masterclasses and complete a written project during the Institute.

$795 non-credit/$1680 with 3 graduate credits

Major work from the 2014 Program - Maurice Durufle - Requiem (2015 list will be updated shortly)

Final List

  • Mealor: Love's as Warm as Tears
  • Victoria: Sanctus from Requiem of 1605
  • Lavoy: As I walked the Silent Earth
  • Liszt: Ave Maria (New Performance Edition by Simon Carrington)
  • Brahms: May Night
  • Gjielo: O Magnum Mysterium
  • McGlynn: Pie Jesu
  • Mark Hayes: In this Moment
  • Dede Duson: Man's Spirit
  • Misinknis: O Sacrum Convivium
  • Handel: Let Their celestial Concerts All Unite
  • Saint Saens: Ave Verum Corpus
  • Runestad: I Will Lift Mine Eyes
  • Mendelssohn: For He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over Thee
  • Waldenby: Corona Vitae (GIA)
  • Brahms: Geistliches Lied (GIA G-6480)

Westminster Office of Continuing Education