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.

Curriculum overview 2019-2020

Code   Year 1Year 2
KC-M-Principal study    
DI-IOD Principal subject 25 25
  Placements with professional orchestras and masterclasses 10 10
DI-RP Repertoire and programming 3 3
  Working with an opera director 2 2
KC-M-IProfessional integration    
CDO CDO / Free space 5 5
TRIP Introductory course 'Research in the Arts' 1  
EL Master electives 10 5
  * Advanced Rhythm    
  * Analysis and Performance    
  * Historically Informed Performance Practice    
  * Score Playing    
RD Musician's research and development (coaching, circle, individual research and presentation) 4 10


The admission procedure for the National Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting differs from the other master's degree programmes at the CvA.

  • 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

Auditions for the 2022-2023 academic year 
After selection, a number of candidates will be invited to the online interviews. About six candidates will be admitted to the ensemble round. A maximum of four 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***

* As part of the application for the National Master 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 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 is found that your command of English is insufficient during the admission procedure, you will be required to follow a course and obtain a certificate of proficiency during the first year of the course. Candidates from a country outside the EU (with exception of Canada, Australia, New-Zealand, United States of America or South Africa), must demonstrate that their level of English is sufficient to follow the course. This can be done by showing 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.

Tuesday 1 March 2022
Closing date for application
Please apply via the online application form

Monday 21 March 2022
Announcement of the candidates to be invited to online interviews

Monday 4 April 2022
Online interviews
location: online

April/May 2022: exact date t.b.d.
Theory level exam****
location: online

Monday 23 May 2022
first round with ensemble
repertoire: P. Hindemith – Kammermusik no. 1, Op. 24
location: The Hague, the Netherlands

Tuesday 24 May 2022
final round with orchestra
repertoire: S. Rachmaninov - Symphony no. 2 (two movements of your choice)
location: Groningen, the Netherlands

* 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. Also recognising chords/modulations and recognising scores. 

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions or other contingencies that couldn't be anticipated, the National Master in Orchestral Conducting reserves the right to at all times make schedule changes as well as to adjust the repertoire.

If you have any questions, please contact Jaike Bakker.

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