Colorado State University offers an outstanding program in graduate conducting, with instrumental and choral specializations; undergraduate conducting courses are also available. CSU provides a nationally-renowned conducting faculty, superb facilities designed for conducting instruction, and high quality ensembles for laboratory experiences.

Study With

Wes Kenney

Professor of Music; Conducting; Director of Orchestras

(970) 491-6912

James Kim

Assistant Professor of Music; Director of Choral Activities

(970) 491-6515

Rebecca Phillips

Professor of Music; Conducting; Director of Bands

(970) 491-1584

Kevin Poelking

Instructor of Music; Interim Assistant Director of Bands; Interim Assistant Director of Athletic Bands

Degree Programs

Undergraduate Conducting

Students take a rigorous academic program in theory, composition, history, orchestration, and secondary instruments which prepares them for the level of musicianship required of the modern conductor. Additionally, students perform in high quality ensembles, such as choir, wind ensemble, symphonic band, orchestra, and jazz bands, which are directed by some of the finest conductors in the nation. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of conducting in a beginning conducting class in the fall of their junior year. In the spring of the junior year, students take an advanced conducting class focusing in either instrumental or vocal conducting. Students receive hands-on conducting experience with the wind ensemble, symphonic band, choirs, and in their student-teaching (music education).

Graduate Conducting

CSU offers a Master of Music, Choral Conducting Specialization and Master of Music, Instrumental Conducting Specialization. Graduate students take rigorous academic coursework, participate in weekly lessons with their principal teachers, and receive opportunities to conduct the school's major ensembles. Advanced conducting courses are taught by James Kim (choral), Wes Kenney (orchestral), and Rebecca Phillips (band). Opportunities exist for graduate conductors to conduct repertoire from symphonic, operatic, and theatrical repertoire. In addition, the curriculum includes developing a score preparation system, Laban method of movement, and rehearsal techniques. The school is well-located to take advantage of a multitude of musical enrichment opportunities in the region. Graduate students in conducting are eligible for several teaching assistantships, which provide an opportunity for direct supervision of choral and instrumental ensembles in the department, as well as the chance to assist in the direction of all the major ensembles at CSU, including the choirs, bands, orchestras, opera, jazz bands, marching band, and pep bands.

A personal audition is required for admission into the band, orchestra, or choral graduate conducting program.


Distance Graduate Degree with Summer Residency

The Master of Music, Music Education—Conducting Specialization is an exciting and unique degree designed for music educators, enabling students to earn a master’s degree while continuing to work full-time. With the exception of a two-week summer seminar held on the CSU campus, all course work can be completed online or using your own school orchestra, choir, or band as your conducting laboratory.


Conducting Events

Conducting News

Denver Young Artist Orchestra pictured conducted by Wes Kenney

Kenney and the DYAO named 2020 American Prize Winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award


Wes Kenney, director of orchestras at CSU, is also the music director of the Denver Young Artist Orchestra (pictured)—the premier youth orchestra in Colorado. Kenney and the DYAO were named the 2020 American Prize Winner of the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in the youth/school ensemble division. The ensemble was also awarded 2nd Place in Orchestra Performance […]

Promotional Photo of University Center for the Arts External Spring

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance COVID-19 Policies


All information and health protocols provided are based on information and CDC, local government, and CSU guidelines available at the time of posting. This website will be updated frequently to account for changes in CDC, local government, and CSU guidelines and protocols.  Read the complete list of School of Music, Theatre, and Dance COVID-19 policies […]