Graduate Programs in Orchestral Conducting


Master's and Doctoral Programs in Orchestral Conducting

MM and DMA students in Orchestral Conducting work 5-6 hours per week with Maestro David Itkin, focusing intensely on score study, baton technique, rehearsal technique, programming, musical interpretation and style, opera and concerto conducting, and public speaking.  Graduate students also study in Symphonic Literature courses designed specifically for conductors.  Students regularly work with live ensemble during conducting classes and often conduct readings and concerts with the UNT Symphony Orchestra and the UNT Concert Orchestra. The advanced orchestral conducting class works with a 36-piece chamber orchestra for 20 sessions each semester.  These sessions with live orchestra take place during regular class sessions and are in addition to already scheduled concerts and readings with the two UNT College of Music Orchestras.

Begin your UNT application here:


David Itkin, UNT Director of Orchestral Studies

Professor David Itkin came to the University of North Texas College of Music in 2008, following a 17-year tenure as Music Director and Conductor of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, where he is now Conductor Laureate.  He is currently also the Music Director and Conductor of the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he has held since 2005.  Maestro Itkin has also served as Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Lake Forest Symphony (Chicago), the Birmingham Opera Theatre, McCall Summerfest, and the Lucius Woods Music Festival in Wisconsin.  Maestro Itkin has appeared as guest conductor with more than 40 orchestras around the world, including the San Diego Symphony, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Ft. Worth Symphony, the Colorado Philharmonic, the Slovenska Filharmonia, the New Hampshire Symphony, the Ho Chi Minh City Symphony, the Illinois Symphony, the Delaware Symphony, and the Shanghai Broadcast Orchestra.  He is the author of Conducting Concerti: a Technical and Interpretive Guide.


Admission requirements

After completing all portions of the application process, including video excerpts, highly qualified applicants will be invited to the live audition and testing process.  Admission to the College of Music requires providing the following materials before the first Monday in December.

  • Completed College of Music application
  • Résumé providing complete information concerning your musical experience and training
  • Repertoire list of works studied and conducted
  • Video recording showing your conducting abilities
  • Statement of career objectives
  • Three letters of recommendation

Contact the Director of Orchestral Studies ( for more information.


Degree requirements


Master of Music degree

  • 12 credit hours of instrumental conducting courses and final recital
  • 6 credit hours of instrumental literature courses
  • 6 credit hours of music history and music theory courses
  • 9 credit hours in a related field
  • 3 credit hours in music research course

Doctor of Musical Arts degree

  • 12 credit hours of instrumental conducting courses
  • 6 credit hours of instrumental literature courses
  • 12 credit hours in a related field
  • 6 credit hours of music history courses
  • 6 credit hours of music theory courses
  • 6 credit hours of electives
  • 12 credit hours of dissertation



Selected applicants will be invited to UNT for the live examination, interview, and audition process.  These applicants take an examination that covers orchestral repertoire, instrumental techniques, musical terminology, transposition, ear training, sight-singing, and other relevant topics.  Following the examination and interview, selected applicants will be asked to continue to the process by conducting the UNT Symphony Orchestra in the selected repertoire. 



Sunday, February 25, 2024 (preliminary conducting round, interview, piano skills, and sight-singing). 

Monday, February 26, 2024 (written exam and final conducting round).