Date of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

School

Music

Committee Chair

Dr. Jay Dean

Committee Chair School

Music

Committee Member 2

Dr. Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 2 School

Music

Committee Member 3

Dr. Gregory Fuller

Committee Member 3 School

Music

Committee Member 4

Dr. Christopher Goertzen

Committee Member 4 School

Music

Committee Member 5

Dr. Michael A. Miles

Committee Member 5 School

Music

Abstract

Students pursuing graduate degrees in conducting often have aspirations of being high school or college choir or band directors. Others want to lead orchestra programs in educational or professional settings. Sadly, many colleges and universities do not have systems in place that provide avenues for those choosing this career path. The curriculum should go beyond teaching the rudiments of baton technique. Students should receive instruction and practical experience, applying what they have learned. Lab bands and choirs are a helpful tool, but I believe opera programs provide an ideal and essential venue where conductors can not only improve and hone their skills, but also learn what awaits them after graduation. Opera is arguably the most difficult of all musical genres to conduct according to many prominent professional conductors. Conducting a college opera program would require advanced conducting students to learn how to communicate with singers, accompanists, and instrumentalists in a setting where everyone is learning together. Working with peers as well as mentors will enhance the educational experience and improve students’ interpersonal communication, leadership, and relationship skills which are essential to success as a professional conductor. Musically, it requires and understanding of instrumentation, transpositions, and a working knowledge of how music theory impacts performance.

While working on my doctorate, I conducted operas, orchestra concerts, educational outreach performances, and musical theatre shows. The practical experience I received, along with feedback and encouragement from mentors and peers helped me to be a better conductor, teacher, and colleague. While rehearsing Die Fledermaus, I realized that the operetta contained attainable yet challenging passages that were pedagogically suited for advanced conducting students. Sadly, Johann Strauss II is often ignored in music history and theory classes, yet many singers encounter his arias during their college career. College singers and conducting students will find Die Fledermaus provides appropriate yet challenging musical material for collaboration. This dissertation includes helpful biographical and historical information about the composer and provides resources for further study. The chapter on specific conducting issues serves as a guide for advanced students who wish to undertake this work.

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