Conducting Scholarships

Applications are now open for the CUMS Conducting Competition 2021. Applications are welcomed from all those who would like the opportunity to conduct Cambridge University Sinfonia (CUS) and Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO) in the following academic year.

The CUMS Conducting Scholar will have the opportunity of conducting the Cambridge University Sinfonia (CUS) and also be offered the chance to assist some of the guest conductors of the Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO). Additionally, we have the Assistant Student Conductor position. This assistant will have the privilege of conducting Cambridge University Wind Orchestra (CUWO) and they also prepare for and assist guest conductors for the Cambridge University Orchestra (CUO). CUMS contributes towards conducting lessons for both positions and also provides scores for their concerts.

Applicants must be in statu pupillari at Cambridge University at the time of the auditioning. Because of the missed opportunities in the past academic year, we will welcome applications from students graduating this year providing that you will be in Cambridge for the entirety of the academic year.

There will be two rounds to the competition: the first round will be submitting a video and the second round will be an aural test and live audition, conducting the Cambridge University Orchestra. Sian Edwards, Head of Conducting, Royal Academy of Music, has set the repertoire for the competition.


The first round needs to be submitted online. You will need to record a video of yourself conducting Dvorak Symphony No 8 First Movt, from the beginning up to bar 66, and Mozart Don Giovanni Overture up to the Molto Allegro. These should be conducted in silence (please do not conduct along to a recording – you may sing or hum sections if it helps you). This will need to be uploaded as an unlisted video onto YouTube, and this link should be sent to Katharine Ambrose ( along with your CV and a covering letter. 

Finalists will have an aural test on the morning of the final round. They will then have 20 minutes to rehearse sections of two set pieces with the Cambridge University Orchestra as the final round. Please be prepared to discuss programming ideas for a standard-size student symphony orchestra. 

The piece for the final round of the competition will be the Don Giovanni Overture complete (it doesn’t matter which ending you use) 2222 2200 timp + 43332 strings and Brahms Symphony No.3 second movement, without the trombones (2222 2000) from the beginning up to letter D, bar 63. 

The final round will be on Thursday 24 June 2021.

Deadline for applications is Friday 18 June 2021 at 5pm. Any questions should be directed to Katharine at

Previous CUMS Conducting Scholars

2020-21   Tess Jackson
2019-20   Tess Jackson
2018-19   Toby Hession
2017-18    Naomi Woo
2016-17    John Tothill
2015-16    Joel Sandelson
2014-15    Joel Sandelson
2013-14    Ben Glassberg
2012-13    William Cole
2011-12    Harry Ogg
2010-11    Harry Ogg