Applications for the Conducting Competition 2023–2024 are now open and will close at 12 noon on Monday 22 January 2024.

The winner of the competition becomes the University’s Conducting Scholar for the following academic year, and has the opportunity to assist leading professional conductors working with the Cambridge University Orchestra. One or more Assistant Conductors may also be appointed to work with the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra and the Cambridge University Wind Orchestra. The Conducting Scholar and Assistant Conductors may be considered for a place on the CamRAM scheme to receive one-to-one conducting lessons with Professor Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music.


To apply, you will need to fill in this form which will ask you to provide a CV and a link to your conducting video.

Applicants must be studying for a degree at the University of Cambridge both at the time of the competition and in the academic year 2024-25.

Competition Format

The competition consists of two rounds.

Round 1 requires candidates to submit a video to be reviewed by Sian Edwards, Head of Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, who will select 5 finalists to go through to the next round.

  • You can record your video on your phone.
  • You are free to do as many “takes” as you like before submitting your final version.
  • Please conduct as though you have an orchestra in front of you, facing the camera, in as much detail and with as much expression and nuance as possible.
  • You must conduct in silence: a bit of singing or humming is fine, but no conducting to a recording.
  • Should you be selected for the final round, you should be prepared to explain to the panel why you made certain choices and decisions about the way you conducted the music.
  • The extracts selected for Round 1 are: Dvorak Symphony No.8, first movement: beginning to bar 66 and Mozart Overture to Don Giovanni: beginning to Molto Allegro

These are widely available in both digital and physical format. Your college library, the University Library, nkoda (accessed via your University login) and imslp are all good places to start.

The Final will be held on Monday 5 February 2024, 19:30-22:20, in West Road Concert Hall.

  • Finalists will take an aural test earlier in the day on the date of the Final.
  • You will have 20 minutes to rehearse sections from pre-selected pieces with an orchestra.
  • The set pieces will be announced later.
  • You may also be asked to discuss programming ideas for a standard-size student symphony orchestra and wind orchestra.
  • The final will be judged by a panel of experts, chaired by Sian Edwards.

We look forward to receiving your applications.

If you have any questions, please email George Wise ( or

Application form

Previous Conducting Scholars

Previous Conducting Scholars include some of the most prominent professional conductors performing today – Nicholas Collon, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner and Robin Ticciati to name but a few.

Our more recent Conducting Scholars have been as follows:
2022-23 Max Todes
2021-22 Jess Hoskins
2020-21 Tess Jackson
2019-20 Tess Jackson
2018-19 Toby Hession
2017-18 Naomi Woo
2016-17 John Tothill
2015-16 Joel Sandelson
2014-15 Joel Sandelson
2013-14 Ben Glassberg
2012-13 William Cole
2011-12 Harry Ogg
2010-11 Harry Ogg