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EMF's intensive conducting Institute offers professional development through an accelerated learning process in a technically challenging and positive environment. EMF accepts up to 9 Conducting Scholars (age 18 or older) to work with master conductors and the Festival's student and faculty ensembles.

Each Conducting Scholar receives a minimum of 45 minutes podium time every week culminating in two to three public performances during the five-week Festival with both young artist and faculty ensembles. In addition to working with the three resident orchestras, participants conduct weekly string and wind repertoire sessions and work with instrumental faculty in student sectionals.

A core component of the program is individualized instruction from EMF's three conducting faculty through a series of private lessons, group sessions and seminars. Topics include: score study and preparation, analysis, repertoire and seminars with Festival Orchestra faculty covering specific instrument needs and considerations.

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During the Festival, Conducting Scholars have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of musical repertoire by attending over 35 diverse performances by the Festival faculty, young artists and guests.

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All scholars are permitted (and expected) to video record all of their rehearsals and performances for educational purposes and for critique by the EMF conducting faculty. Participants must provide their own equipment and ensure that they have video playback capability for use in their private lessons.

Conducting Faculty
Gerard Schwarz Bio
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Gerard Schwarz
Music Director

Internationally recognized for his moving performances, innovative programming and extensive catalog of recordings, American conductor Gerard Schwarz serves as Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, an ensemble of top musicians from America's leading orchestras featured in a new television series airing throughout the United States on public television. Schwarz also serves as the Jack Benaroya Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony, where he was Music Director for 26 years.

Grant Cooper Bio
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Grant Cooper
Resident Conductor

Grant Cooper served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra from 2001 to 2017 and now holds the title of Conductor Emeritus. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Bach and Beyond Festival and was, for ten years, Resident Conductor of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.  For several summers, he led the Anchorage Festival of Music in Alaska. As a conductor, Mr. Cooper is noted for his affinity for the music of virtually every era and, as a composer, he is especially passionate about creating works to introduce young audiences to the orchestra.

José-Luis Novo Bio
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José-Luis Novo
Resident Conductor

One of Spain's most promising conductors, José-Luis Novo is currently music director and conductor of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (MD) and the Binghamton Philharmonic (NY). Prior to these appointments, Mr. Novo served as assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under the direction of both music director emeritus Jesús López-Cobos and former music director Paavo Järvi, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra under the late Erich Kunzel. He has been with Eastern Music Festival since 1999.

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Room & Board
Fees (health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key And Security)

Attendance is required for the full five-week program (June 26 - July 31, 2021).

A $750 non-refundable reservation deposit (applied toward tuition) will be due 2 weeks after acceptance notification is received to reserve a place at EMF. The remaining balance is due May 14, 2021.

Housing / Meals
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Conducting Scholars who choose to live off campus will be responsible for their own housing and meals.

How to Apply
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  1. Complete the Conducting Scholar Application. All applicants must complete the Conducting Scholar Application (available online at The deadline for receipt of completed applications and video recordings is February 21, 2021.
  2. Upload your Audition Materials. All applicants must submit a Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae, a brief description of your experiences as an ensemble member, a short biography (250 words or less), several video samples of their conducting (no more than 30 minutes), and the name and contact information of three references. Video samples would ideally include rehearsals, concerts or readings and must be uploaded through our Acceptd portal. The fee for submitting your application and audition via Acceptd will be $35 prior to January 1, 2021, and $75 thereafter. Call (336) 333-7450 x 227 for additional details.