Conducting Competition

Each year, the Cambridge University Musical Society, now in partnership with the Centre for Music Performance, hosts a Conducting Competition for excellent University conductors.

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 as well as opportunities to conduct the student-run Cambridge University Symphony 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 receive a place on the CamRAM scheme and regular one-to-one conducting lessons with Prof Sian Edwards at the Royal Academy of Music.

We are pleased to announce that following the 2022-23 competition, the CMP have awarded two Assistant Conductorships for the 2023-24 season, to Ed Gertler (Clare College) and Daphne Delfas (Clare College).


Applications for the Conducting Competition 2024 will open in January 2024.

The winner of the Conducting Competition will be the 2024-25 Conducting Scholar.

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.

The competition consists of two rounds.

Round 1 requires candidates to submit a video to be reviewed by a professional conductor 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. 
  • There will be specific extracts for Round 1. These will be announced closer to applications opening.

The Final will be held in February 2024.

  • 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 will 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.  

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