The Hartt School

Music Conducting

Hartt’s Music Conducting program gives you the unique opportunity to gain conducting experience in a variety of genres including vocal, opera, music theatre, and all aspects of instrumental conducting. 

About the Major

At Hartt, highly qualified graduate students can pursue advanced study in our unique conducting or instrumental conducting program.  These programs are designed for students who are interested in, and demonstrate the potential to succeed in a professional conducting career from university employment to professional conducting appointments.

In addition to spending intensive time in your individual discipline (orchestra, wind band, choir), every student will also conduct and perform with other disciplines.  Hartt’s conducting program is truly unique, and we believe that it responds to the need for young conductors to be educated in a variety of conducting experiences.


Studying choral conducting at Hartt offers you rigorous training that includes private conducting lessons, languages and diction, voice study, musicianship, score reading and preparation, performance practice, and an array of academic studies to prepare choral directors for conducting and teaching careers in the community, school, and university settings. Students work closely with Hartt choral ensembles and both degree programs have required choral performances as part of the curriculum.


Instrumental Conducting at The Hartt School is a unique program that strives to prepare you for the many varied and diverse opportunities that await the young conductor. You will work with faculty members including Edward Cumming (Director of Orchestral Activities), who has decades of years of experience as performers and teachers all over the world. In addition to weekly private lessons, score analysis and seminar, each conducting student will have the opportunity to pursue further studies with our vocal faculty.

The conducting program normally consists of two masters students and two doctoral students, each of whom has the opportunity to rehearse and perform with the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Contemporary Ensemble and (depending on the candidate’s interest) Music Theatre and Opera.

Our Faculty

Edward Cumming

Primrose Fuller Associate Professor of Orchestral Activities, Instrumental Studies

Edward Cumming is Associate Professor of Orchestral Activities at The Hartt School.  Before joining Hartt faculty, Cumming was Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.  Previously, he was Resident Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Resident Conductor of the Florida Orchestra, and a guest conductor abroad.  As an educator, Cumming has taught at colleges all over the country.  In May 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College.

Kalena Bovell

MM'14, GPD'15,

Kalena Bovell was recently appointed Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for the 2019-2020 season.  She will conduct a large portion of Pops and Education Concerts. Learn more about Kalena.

Flying 3,000 miles across the country to study conducting with Professor Cumming was the best decision I ever made because in him I found a mentor, a colleague and ultimately a friend. The education, support system and guidance that I received from my colleagues was incredible and has definitely attributed to the successes I have continued to see since graduating. No pun intended but The Hartt School will forever hold a special place in my heart.