The Orchestral Conducting Program at the College of Music at Florida State University is designed to provide thorough training and extensive podium time for gifted conductors aspiring to pursue careers with professional, youth, community, and academic orchestras. Under the direction of Dr. Alexander Jiménez, the program is highly selective and tailored to the unique talents and experience of each individual. Students pursuing the M.M. in Orchestral Conducting or the Ph.D. in Music Education serve as assistant conductors of both the renowned University Symphony Orchestra and the University Philharmonia.
Students are trained to handle the multiplicity of responsibilities expected of the modern music director. Orchestral conducting students perform regularly with the FSU orchestras, an experience that guarantees ample podium time and public exposure. They also lead the New Music Ensemble, they create their own performance opportunities using the considerable performing resources of the College of Music, they have opportunities with the FSU Opera, and they often serve as cover conductors for the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras. Students are often assigned to conduct concerti with concerto competition winners and to perform works by visiting composers. In addition to such extensive performance opportunities, conducting students are expected to assist in the day-to-day operations of a large orchestral studies program, including program planning, personnel management, orchestra library management, budgeting, and marketing.
The M.M. in Orchestral Conducting provides a flexible template that offers each student ample opportunity to take from an extensive list of academic courses taught by an exceptional faculty. Additionally, students have the opportunity, and are encouraged, to observe, to interact with, and to seek input from an acclaimed faculty of conductors in the areas of band, chorus, and opera. Candidates of the Ph.D. in Music Education selected as orchestral conducting assistants have all the benefits of the performance curriculum combined with the curriculum of one of the nation's finest music education programs. Job placement rates among doctoral graduates of this program are exceptionally high.
Current students and graduates have been selected to participate in conducting master classes and music festivals throughout North and South America, and in Europe. Graduates may be found in front of professional orchestras, youth orchestras, colleges and universities, and in school orchestras throughout the U.S.
As part of their training, graduate conducting students regularly direct College of Music ensembles, such as the University Philharmonia, seen here in a performance in Opperman Music Hall in February 2017.