Manhattan Concert Productions Presents:

Graduate Student Conducting Competition Application Guidelines

The graduate student competition opens the fall prior to the biennial ACDA national conference. Information about the next competition will be posted in fall 2020 for the 2021 national conference.

Congratulations to the winner of the 2019 Graduate Student Conducting Competition: Hana Cai, of Indiana University. Her primary conducting instructors are Betsy Burleigh, Dominick DiOrio, and Walter Huff. Other finalists in the competition:

  • John Arnold (Universiyt of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, primary instr. Andrew Megill)
  • Adam Wills Begley (McGill University, primary instr. Jean-Sébastien Vallée)
  • Connor Doran (Eastman School of Music, primary instr. William Weinert)
  • Trevor Kroeger (University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music, primary instr. Earl Rivers & Brett Scott)
  • Xiaosha Lin (Michigan State University, primary instr. David Rayl)
  • Daniel Parsley (University of Cincinnati College - Conseratory of Music, primary instr. Brett Scott)
  • Mark Woodcock (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, primary instr. Andrew Megill)

Downloadable 2019 Guidelines

1. General Overview and Application Checklist

The objectives of the ACDA Student Conducting Awards are three-fold:

  1. To acknowledge and reward outstanding graduate student conductors
  2. To encourage score preparation and advancement of conducting and rehearsal skills
  3. To promote student activity at the ACDA National Conference

These cash prizes are awarded to the winners of the final round of the conducting awards:

First Prize, Graduate Level: $1,000
Second Prize, Graduate Level: $500

In addition, the eight semi-finalists each receive complimentary registration to attend the 2019 National Conference in Kansas City.

The application for the 2019 competition closed on Oct. 31, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. (Central).


- You must have a current ACDA Student Membership and be logged in to access the application. If you have an Active membership, please contact the National Office during regular business hours (Central) for help accessing the application.
- Please follow the directions regarding the portion of the YouTube URL to use in submitting your audition on the application.
- You MUST click on the Proceed button at the bottom of the application to submit your application online.

The deadline for submission of all application components is Oct. 31, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. Central.

Application Checklist
  • I have two selections of contrasting style, one from the 17th-, 18th-, or 19th-century and one from the 20th- or 21st-century. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Musical Parameters.
  • I am conducting a choral ensemble which is prepared on the music, but which I myself have not prepared ahead of time. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Ensemble Preparation.
  • I can see my full self, frontal view, in the video. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Camera Angle.
  • I can clearly hear all of my verbal instructions to the choir. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Camera Angle.
  • The sound of the choir is neither too loud nor too soft to be heard. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Camera Angle.
  • I have clearly announced each selection before rehearsing it. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Camera Angle.
  • My video’s total length is between 10 and 12 minutes, with the time equally divided between both rehearsal selections, and is not edited in any way. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Audition Format and Duration.
  • I have NOT identified myself in the video, nor does my name appear in the video title, nor YouTube channel to which I have uploaded it. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Audition Submission.
  • I have filled out my application, and have checked my YouTube video’s URL for accuracy. See Eligibility Requirements . Please note: Do not paste the entire link - just copy and paste the text & numbers that appear after the final forward slash (after - For example, just paste vJwEQSOBc7E into the application platform.
  • I have set my YouTube video to “public” or “unlisted,” not “private.” See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Audition Submission.
  • I have received verification from two non-student Active ACDA members certifying that I have complied with the written guidelines of the competition. See Audition Preparation Guidelines : Verification.

Once you have completed ALL of the above, your application is complete.

The deadline for submission of completed applications (application materials, verifications, all supporting documentation, and video upload to YouTube) is Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. Central. All application materials become the property of American Choral Directors Association.

Please be certain to review all seven pages associated with this competition in order to gain a full understanding of the process:

2. Eligibility Requirements
3. Audition Preparation Guidelines
4. Audition Review Process
5. Conference Session
6. Scoring
7. Final Round

Disclaimer: No member of the National Student Conducting Competition (NSCC) Committee, nor any judge, teller, or person connected with the selection of semi-finalists or conducting of the semi-final or final rounds shall be involved with any decision involving that person’s student (over the past three years) who has applied or been selected as a participant in the ACDA Graduate Student Conducting Competition. The NSCC Committee is under no obligation to award semi-final, final, or winner status if satisfactory candidates cannot be identified. All decisions made by the judges are final.