DMA Choral Conducting programs?
  • Greetings all!
    I am finishing my 1st year in a choral conducting masters program and am beginning my search for a DMA program and decided to pose a question to the group about any DMA choral programs that they know of and could recommend (or warn me to avoid!) Ideally, I would like to find a program that, while not exclusively concentrating on 'early music', would place an emphasis on chant, polyphony, early baroque etc. while still dealing with later repertoire. I am finding that most programs tend to be geared more towards the romantic era and ignores or only briefly touches earlier music.
    Any recommendation? I would greatly appreciate hearing from all with any information and especially from those who might be currently in a DMA choral program (or the director of such a program,) regardless of its musical era focus.

    Many thanks in advance!
    Christopher McCloskey
  • The Colloquium this year offers classes in conducting, and the intensive covers chironomy.
  • I finished a master’s at Cincinnati-CCM about a year and a half ago. I would say that the program there does not emphasize 19th-c music, and there is lots of money there to entice motivated students.

    Chant and polyphony....dunno. There is one musicologist there, Edward Nowacki, who concentrates on this repertoire, but the school as a whole does not.

    Actually, I should backtrack and say that, while the choral department at CCM doesn’t seem to emphasize 19th-c music so much, the conservatory in general does. Opera and voice are very big there, as are orchestral studies.

    A fabulous place overall, but if you really want the chant/polyphony concentration, I’m not sure there is much there to foster growth in that direction. By happenstance, my time in Cincinnati was when I began learning about chant, but this was mostly independent of my degree.
  • Westminster is always an obvious choice. Please keep in mind that reputation of a school is your best friend when looking for work. You can always get the training you want in some other situation (CMAA for example), but nothing replaces having Westminster, Indiana, North Texas (and probably some places I'm missing) on your sheepskin. I found that out the hard way.

    BTW North Texas has an early music degree program with some stellar players. You can't miss there. Indiana has lots of opportunities for Ren singing too.

    Others include McGill and Oberlin.

  • Blaise
    Posts: 438
    Well, I came across the DMA program at the Catholic University of America. According to its website, it offers a DMA program in Sacred Music. I don't know about general choral conducting. It also has an Institute of Sacred Music.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,193
    Dr. Leo Nestor is on the faculty and head of the sacred music program at CUA. I'd guess that a DMA in Sacred Music there might be the way to go.
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,096
    Boston is the mecca for early music (Baroque and before). The question is do you want to get conducting skills or sing the music you want to do. Indiana, SMU, UM Kansas City, Emory, Northwestern, Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles (I think Paul Salamonovich is still there), Arizona, Westminster, Eastman, Fla. State are just that I know about either through friends or experience with.

    In general, I would say, get good skills at a school. Then go to the colloquium for the Catholic angle.

    Kevin (alumni of one of the schools named)
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,096
    P.S. Get some theological training at a Catholic school also.

  • Be careful which one, though! Georgetown might not be your best bet!
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    There is the Rimini International Choral Workshop, too. It occurs 30 August - 6 September, which precludes any participation by Americans who attend or work in universities. It would be nice to get the Rimini folks together with CMAA during some other time of the year.
  • A colleague shopped for Choral Conducting DMA programs in the greater Washington, D.C. area recently. He considered Catholic University, but despite the draw of Dr. Nestor (for whom I have a lot of respect), he found the cost prohibitive and the proffered assistance meager. He settled on the University of Maryland, which has a long tradition of solid choral music (under Paul Traver, in the old days). Plus, UMD bent over backward to make it financially appealing to him. Obviously, no theology there, but in any case, I'd still be wary of the theology department at CUA, even after all these post-Curran years (if my 17-year-old Master of Liturgical Music experience there is anything to go by).
  • Dittos to the cost factor of CUA, and love Leo too. Maestro Salamunovich hasn't been at LAM for over a decade; that would be Dr. Mary Breden, who is also close to retirement. However, USC Thorton's faculty is nearly immaculate with Dr. Mike Scheibe coming on board this year as lead.
    I would think that outside of the requisite coursework, your personal objectives regarding the dissertation objective and emphasis will be satisfied at most front line colleges.
    Some programs seem to have frequent turnover of department heads of choral music; I won't mention those. But I would research the issue of continuity of leadership. Also, when a Mike Scheibe leaves Univ. of Miami (FL) you can count on his/her replacement being of equal or younger potential- ie. his successor will be Dr. Josh Haberman, a young genius if I've ever seen one.
    Consult ACDA folk. In addition to Westminster, Cincy, Eastman, CUA, et al, don't forget there a tons of great programs in Southern schools such as Miss, Duke, NC, Midwestern Schools such as Luther (Iowa), St. Olaf, Concordia, MN., and in Western schools such as U Colorado (Boulder) USC, Stanford, Arizona (Tucson) Oregon (Bach Festival) and U Wash.