Graduate Choral Conducting Program

Graduate Choral Conducting Overview Photo Credit: Janos Sutyak

Graduate Choral Conducting Overview

The Choral Conducting Program of The Bard College Conservatory of Music is a two-year graduate curriculum that culminates in the master of music (M.M.) degree. Led by renowned choral conductor James Bagwell, the program equips its graduates with the broad-based skills and experience necessary to meet the special opportunities and challenges of a conducting or conducting-related career in the 21st century.

The program includes instruction in conducting, in choral repertoire, and, through private voice lessons, instruction in vocal technique. For the students in the program there is also substantial podium time working with Bard choral groups and, several times a semester, with a professional chorus based in New York City—the Concert Chorale of New York. The program also includes a Core Curriculum in conjunction with the graduate orchestral conducting program— classes in diction, foreign languages, ear training, composition, and music history.

Unique to the program is its access to the resources of the New York City music world, and to the Bard Music Festival and other Bard-related musical institutions; all serve to create a rich, stimulating environment of music making on the Bard campus. Applications are welcome from all who wish to place their love of music at the service of those they conduct, the works they perform, and their audiences.

The courses below are taken only by the choral conducting students. Additional Common Curriculum classes are taken together with students from the orchestral conducting program.

Podium Time

Choral conducting students work regularly with three types of choruses; community, collegiate, and professional.  They work with the Bard Symphonic Chorus and the Bard Chamber Singers on Bard’s campus and they travel to New York City to work with the professional Bard Conductors Chorale. Additionally, students have opportunities to conduct on chorus concerts and assist with the Graduate Vocal Arts program mainstage opera.  Opportunities to conduct instrumentalists are also available to choral conducting students. 


Bard College is situated on more than 500 acres along the Hudson River, on the grounds of two historic riverfront estates. Bard’s main campus is 90 miles north of New York City. Its location and faculty connections allows for unique access to the resources of the New York City music world.