The course in orchestral conducting is a 2-year master programme, and is open to students who have completed a first-cycle (bachelors) in any discipline of classical and contemporary music, and who also pass the entrance examination.
The course allows students to focus on their main discipline of orchestral conducting and the specific skills required for this, but also allows students to gain a fully comprehensive training, including the theoretical and practical skills necessary for an orchestra conductor, with the aim of enabling students to approach the vast orchestral repertoire (symphonic and opera) in an in-depth manner.
The orchestral conducting course thus includes the in-depth analysis of orchestral scores, paying attention to the stylistic detail which students need to understand before conducting a piece, alongside fostering an awareness of the importance of clear communication with the musicians with whom the future conductor will be collaborating.
Students work to learn and develop conducting gestures appropriate for their individual musical approach, and this process happens both within the class (often with the help of pianists), in a semi-collective course where all students are able to watch the individual lesson of the other students, as well as in sessions of orchestral training, (with the Conservatoire orchestra) where each student learns practical skills for working with an orchestra.
One priority of the course is to foster a close connection with the Conservatoire orchestra (students frequently work as assistant on in-house productions) working on programmes ranging from big symphony works to opera (we have frequent collaborations with the singing classes, opera classes and with the Opéra de Wallonie..). There are also performances of students' original projects, based on contemporary repertoire, (Berio, Ligeti, Reich, Adams, Takemitsu, Zhang, Lysight..)
Each year, around December, a concert is organised for which all students of the conducting class prepare a programme and conduct it as part of the concert series within the Conservatoire.
The exams for Master 1 take place with the orchestra of students of the Conservatoire while the Master 2 exam is taken with a professional orchestra (currently the Royal Philharmonic orchestra of Liège).