orchestra conductor
What does it cost?

Check out our cost calculator or visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.

How long will it take?

Minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate coursework must be completed in 4 semesters (2 years)

Where can I take classes?
Atlanta Campus

Application Deadlines View Admissions Requirements

  • Fall – February 1

Master of Music, Concentration in Orchestral Conducting, M.Mu.

Graduate Director 
Dr. Lara Saville Dahl
[email protected]

The Orchestral Conducting program at Georgia State University has a multifaceted approach, focusing on three primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to develop and enhance students’ conducting skills. Secondly, the program seeks to broaden students’ musical and administrative knowledge in the context of orchestrating ensembles. Lastly, it prepares students for advanced studies in conducting at the doctoral level.

As part of this comprehensive program, students serve as assistant conductors for the esteemed Georgia Philharmonic, providing them with valuable practical experience. Moreover, they have the opportunity to attend rehearsals of renowned ensembles such as the Atlanta Symphony and Atlanta Opera. The Georgia State Orchestral Conducting concentration is designed to nurture active orchestral conductors, fostering their potential as professional conductors.

Program Highlights

Vibrant Downtown Music Scene

Students have access to collaborations with local music ensembles like the Atlanta Music Project, renowned venues and ensembles like the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Opera and performances in theaters, schools and churches. Additionally, the School of Music faculty’s regular involvement in major conferences and professional performances opens doors for students to network and establish connections within the city’s diverse and thriving music community.

Conducting students in class

Conducting students in class

Guest Artists and Ensembles

The School of Music hosts renowned educators and professional musicians who offer concerts, workshops and masterclasses for students. We also have three resident ensembles: Bent Frequency, Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra of Atlanta and Ensemble ATL.

College to Career

With ample performance opportunities, rigorous training and mentorship from distinguished faculty, students gain invaluable experience and artistic refinement. The program’s strong emphasis on practical experience, including graduate assistantships and podium time with choral ensembles, prepares graduates for job placements with a track record of 100% job placement over the past decade.

Career Outlook

Earning a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from GSU can lead to various rewarding career opportunities within the field of music, particularly in orchestral music education and performance. Some potential career paths include:

  • Orchestral Director and Music Educator: Lead and conduct orchestras in schools, colleges, universities and community organizations while also teaching orchestral music and instrumental techniques at various educational levels, from K-12 to college.
  • Church Music Director and Professional Orchestral Conductor: Oversee and lead music programs in churches and religious institutions, directing orchestras and congregational instrumental performances. Additionally, conduct professional-level orchestras, chamber ensembles or instrumental groups.

Teacher with orchestra

Program Details

Please note: You must apply to both the Georgia State Graduate School and the School of Music.

Required University Application Materials:

  • Transcript(s): Upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. The institution logo and your name must be present on the copies. Official transcripts will be required upon acceptance into the program.
  • Official TOEFL/IELT Scores (international applicants only): Institutional code 5251 should be used for reporting TOEFL scores.
  • Personal/Goal Statement: Please provide a statement of your educational and career goals (be as specific as possible).
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae: Upload within the online Slate application.
  • Writing Sample: Provide a scholarly/research paper on a subject in the field of music of a level of intellectual and critical engagement appropriate to graduate-level work.
  • Letters of recommendation: 2 letters of recommendation are required. Applicants must enter the names and contact information of the 2 recommenders within the application. An electronic recommendation request will be sent to recommenders, and recommendation letters must be submitted via this request. It is strongly advised that letters of recommendation are completed before the application deadline and are written within the last year. Recommendations submitted after this date are not guaranteed to be reviewed.
  • GPA: Students considered for admission into the graduate program generally have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Get started on the Graduate School Application.

School of Music Application Materials: Complete the “Start an Application” fields to view your specific application and audition requirements for the School of Music

Use the HOW TO APPLY link below when you are ready to apply to the Music School.

For all MM concentrations:
Applicants must have a Bachelor of Music degree. The graduate committee will consider applicants without a Bachelor of Music degree on a case-by-case basis. All graduate applicants will be considered for a graduate assistantship (except for Low-Residency Conducting MM applicants) based on their audition, their application materials and their academic transcripts.

For all AC concentrations:
Applicants must have a Master of Music degree. The graduate committee will consider applicants without a Master of Music degree on a case-by-case basis.

The Master’s in Orchestral Conducting concentration at Georgia State University offers an immersive and comprehensive curriculum for aspiring orchestral conductors. Students in this program engage in a range of courses that cover areas such as conducting technique, score analysis, rehearsal strategies, repertoire, and orchestral leadership. Through hands-on podium experience and collaborations with talented musicians, students refine their skills in leading and interpreting orchestral works.

The curriculum includes conducting masterclasses, ensemble rehearsals, and performances with various orchestras, providing valuable opportunities for practical application and growth. Students receive personalized guidance and mentorship from experienced faculty who are accomplished conductors themselves.

The program fosters a deep understanding of musical interpretation, communication and collaboration, preparing graduates for successful careers as orchestral conductors.

For detailed requirements, see the course catalog.

At Georgia State, we understand that students come to our institution from a range of financial backgrounds. We value the investment our students make in their education, and we aim to provide access to scholarships and aid opportunities that can support students through their academic journey.

Learn more about tuition rates or use Georgia State’s cost calculator to determine the investment required for your course of study.

Fees: There is an applied music fee of $350 per semester for a one-hour (8000 level) lesson and $200 per semester for a half-hour (6000 level) lesson. Additional lab fees for certain courses may apply.

The Georgia State School of Music provides unparalleled opportunities to study and work among an inspiring community of musicians in one of America’s most vibrant urban centers. Students receive exceptional training, are provided with meaningful opportunities and begin serious careers no matter what type of music drives their passion. The goals and outcomes from a graduate degree include:

  • Ensuring comprehensive exposure to an array of perspectives as represented by the various faculty approaches to music performance, music history, music theory and teaching styles.
  • Honoring the continuing traditions of music making and pedagogy while exploring new forms and contemporary issues within the various musical fields.
  • Developing pedagogical skills and strategies through teaching assistantships for undergraduate-level courses.
  • Preparing students for a professional career in music through rigorous performance preparation, exposure to important repertoire and attention to practical business aspects of various musical careers.


Graduate Director
Dr. Lara Saville Dahl
[email protected]

Administrative Specialist, Graduate
[email protected]

School of Music
75 Poplar St, 5th floor
Atlanta, GA 30303

College of the Arts Logo35 Broad St., 4th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30303