National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting

The National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting (NMO) is a prestigious two-year master’s programme offered jointly by the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. This programme is presented in cooperation with several professional Dutch orchestras, including the Residentie Orkest, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and the North Netherlands Orchestra.

Students are taught orchestral conducting at a high technical and artistic level. Because of our collaboration with large professional orchestras, this master’s programme forms an outstanding bridge between education and practice, and also allows students the opportunity of developing and expanding their professional networks.
During the two-year programme students conduct large orchestras under the supervision of the ‘conductor on duty,’ usually the principal conductor. To prepare for working with the orchestra, students study the repertoire of the orchestra concerned under supervision of the principal teachers. Masterclasses are also organized by the partner orchestras, such as a two-day masterclass by Marc Albrecht with the NedPhO, or a masterclass by Kenneth Montgomery and the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. The master’s research project consists of research into orchestral repertoire or programming.

Requirements for admission to the NMO are high. Only two students are annually selected to participate in the National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting.

Participating orchestras

  1. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam
  2. Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest and Nederlands Kamerorkest, Amsterdam 
  3. Residentie Orkest, Den Haag
  4. philharmonie zuidnederland, Brabant, Limburg and Zeeland   
  5. Noord Nederlands Orkest, Groningen
  6. Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Hilversum
  7. Phion, Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel
  8. Het Balletorkest, Amsterdam
  9. Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Rotterdam
  10. National Youth Orchestra

The National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting is supported by Het Kersjes Fonds.


The admission procedure for the National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting differs from the other master's degree programmes at the CvA. View the admission requirements below and apply before February 1 via the online application formIf you have any questions, please contact 

Jaike Bakker


  • bachelor’s degree in music
  • a well-developed musical ear
  • knowledge of the basic repertoire for symphony orchestra from 1750 to the present
  • ability to master scores, also by score-playing
  • ability to rehearse with a symphony orchestra, with the use of the proper conducting techniques
  • ability to conduct and inspire a symphony orchestra during concerts
  • a pronounced personal and artistic vision
  • ability to express personal views regarding the composition concert programmes
  • to show potential for development

For the selection process, you must be available on the following dates: 

  • 18 February '23: Online interviews
  • 20 March '23: Theory level test (location: Amsterdam)
  • 21 March '23: Final round with orchestra (location: The Hague)

Auditions for the 2023-2024 academic year 
After a selection, a number of candidates will be invited to the online interviews. A maximum of 5 candidates will be admitted to the ensemble round. A maximum of 4 candidates will be admitted to the orchestral round. 

Candidates are asked to upload the following documents together with their application:

  • Motivation (written)
  • Biography
  • Portfolio
  • Research proposal
  • Video of yourself conducting*
  • Personal introduction video**
  • Copy of diploma(s) granted
  • Copy of passport
  • IELTS or TOEFL language certificate***

After the live audition round, candidates will sit a theory level test (****), after which there will be a final round with orchestra. The repertoire for this is Mozart - Symphony No. 39.

* As part of the application for the National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting we ask you to upload a recent recording of yourself conducting. The recording exists of a minimum of two contrasting pieces, filmed from the players’ view of the conductor. You can upload a maximum of three conducting videos.

** In addition to a recording of yourself conducting, we ask you to upload a selfie-video of maximum 5 minutes in which you introduce yourself and explain why you want to apply for to the National Master in Orchestral Conducting.

*** Students from EU/EEA countries whose proficiency in English is inadequate are obliged to follow a language course. If it turns out during the admission procedure that your command of English is insufficient, you will be required to follow a course and obtain a certificate of proficiency during the first year of the course. When you are from a country outside the EU (with exception of Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, United States of America or South Africa), you must demonstrate that your level of English is sufficient to follow the course. You can demonstrate your command of English with your score on any of the following English language proficiency tests: IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC or Cambridge English (FCE/CAE/CPE). The minimum standard is a score of 6.0 in the IELTS test or level 80 in the TOEFL. Certificates from the Institutional TOEFL test, the TOEFL ITP test or other language proficiency tests will not be accepted.

**** The theory level exam is a test which gives us information about your general knowledge. No one will be rejected after this test. It consists of theoretical and historical knowledge, reading and analytical ability, hearing and vocalization. The test includes score playing on the piano. In addition to this you will get sight-singing exercises, with and without piano accompaniment. Other elements of the test are recognising chords/modulations and recognising scores. 

Candidates who have passed the entrance exam, either enroll with the Royal Conservatoire or the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.