Specialisation Course for Orchestra Professor

Inactive for the 2016/17 academic year

Learning objectives

The two-year specialisation course for “Orchestra Professor” intends to train professionals with an extensive and in-depth education with respect to the vast repertoire, both symphonic and operatic, that an orchestra generally engages in for symphonic or theatre seasons. It promotes a comprehensive and organic training, which is produced through the acquisition of important technical-instrumental skills, and in the specific approach that an orchestra professor takes to the musical page. They must know the repertoire extensively, for their own part, but also in knowledge of the general objective. They must possess skills in musical language and form. They must understand the different expressions of styles. They must possess the sense of musically producing an orchestral ensemble.
They must not lack the ability to orient themselves, to dialogue in their relationship with the orchestra management. Furthermore, they must possess a sense of working practices in an orchestra: knowledge of the duties, as well as the rights of the worker; awareness of organisational terms, administrative structures, recruitment methods, contractual terms. The course is therefore intended to produce a complete training for the full declination of the profession. The first insights are those of a musical and artistic nature: playing together in an orchestral ensemble, which requires targeted training, so as to grasp the sense of coordination of one’s own musical contribution, in the broader complex ensemble represented by an orchestra; possessing the broader repertoire, for one’s own instrumental part; the knowledge of the solo places, for the instrument, where they intervene in the orchestral discourse, so as to be prepared and ready; the assumption of an excellent reading ability, even at sight; the ability to perform different roles, as foreseen in the organisation, even hierarchical, of an orchestra; possessing clear terms of the performing and interpretative traditions. The ultimate goal is to possess a full vision of one’s own work, in historical comparison, and with respect to different traditions that persist in orchestral work today. Praxis and orientations, for performance and interpretation, must become familiar, even before they are cultivated in the terms of full work in an orchestra. Providing the student with full knowledge of the professionalism they are aiming for, already in the preparation and study phase, means equipping them with a firm knowledge that will help them in the competition phase to get the job. All this is achievable for a study that is conducted in a relationship with experienced professionals. But much is achieved in the concrete relationship that can be realised, live, within an orchestra.

Description of professional profile, opportunities and outlets

The orchestra professor’s is a specific profession that is rooted in a solid musical and instrumental background, but then further developed in its own particular terms. The orchestra professor is an excellent instrumentalist, endowed with a solid technique, capable of orientation in musical styles. In addition, he has particular knowledge of the terms of the profession, which translates into instrumental practices, useful in producing a cohesive orchestral ensemble. The orchestral musician knows how to produce their own work, in such a way that they participate in the creation of a full musical organism, which is well connected, at the level of the instrumental families, and how they participate in the production of the orchestral whole. They know how, with a quick choice, to produce the best intonation chord, how to find the right balance, how to respond to the conductor’s gestures. They also know how to be in the orchestra, behaving in a way that ensures maximum productivity. They work in coordination, but also with a certain discipline. They participate in achieving the artistic goal, knowing that the orchestra is a complex organism, which lives by delicate mechanisms, which are also in their own hands.
The collaboration between the Conservatoire and the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento is of great value.

All students on the specialisation course will have the opportunity to work in consistent internships within the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento. That is, they will work concretely in the orchestra, in contact with the orchestra’s professional structures. In this way, they will be able to assimilate important, decisive skills in the field of artistic-musical order, performance and instrumental practices, musical culture, and attitude towards working in an orchestra, in the relationship between orchestra musicians, and in general with all the professional figures involved in music production in such a context. The specialisation course therefore aims to train professionals who are active in orchestras, whether symphonies, operas, or engaged in other repertoires, and who are fully capable, in terms of technical, musical and stylistic mastery, of orchestral languages, practices and behaviours that govern an orchestra. The professional profile at which the course is aimed can therefore be summarised as follows:

  • Orchestral professorship, in professional orchestras, dealing with symphonic, operatic or other repertoires.

Access Requirements

Minimum entry requirement: First level academic diploma from a Conservatoire (or Istituto Musicale Pareggiato), of any instrument: traditional diploma (in conjunction with high school diploma), or experimental three-year higher diploma. An academic qualification, of the same level, obtained abroad at an institution of higher musical education will be considered for similar value.

The following qualifications are preferential: a second-level academic diploma, Experimental Higher Secondary Diploma, from a Conservatoire (or comparable musical institute). Or an equivalent qualification obtained abroad.
In any case, a prior audition will be held to determine those admitted to the course and, consequently, those enrolled.
A balanced distribution of enrolments with respect to orchestral ensemble needs will be taken into account. The planning of the enrolment numbers will also be handled in this respect.
Scholarships may be provided to support student enrolment and attendance.


The Specialisation Course is aimed at those who intend to bring their professional training in the instrumental domain to the highest level of perfection; to update and complete their academic studies; and to study, at a high level of specialisation, orchestral repertoires, scripts and instrumental languages as they are defined in symphonic works, operatic theatre productions and other musical genres. At the end of the specialisation course, they will have achieved full competence, which can be usefully integrated into professional orchestras immediately. The contribution that will be offered, for this purpose, during the training phase of the course, by the assimilation into a professional orchestra, such as the Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento, for fully professional productions, and the production of the official season, will be decisive.


Enrolment numbers: minimum 8 enrolled; maximum 20 enrolled.
Total training hours, over the two years, 3060. Of these, 990 are in frontal lessons and for internship and guided workshop activities, with related musical production activities. The internship periods will be conducted at the partner organisation Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento. In fact, the Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento actively collaborates with the course, providing training above all in the terms of the internship, which consists of guided rehearsals, which the student will conduct, fully immersed in the professional context, in contact with the musicians of the orchestra. The rehearsals will result in concrete moments of musical production. In addition, some of the teachings in the course programme will be conducted in laboratory terms, also within the framework of the orchestra’s activities. These lessons, with a very practical slant, are themed around identified and circumscribed topics (cf. in the syllabus, the Area of methodologies and techniques).
The Conservatoire also intervenes in the area of methodological and technical teaching, for the acquisition of techniques related to sight-reading and the performance of contemporary repertoires. An important focus area is the study and deepening of repertoire for orchestra, in the symphonic, opera, musical theatre and other genres (Repertoire Skills Area). Particular attention will be paid to 20th century and contemporary repertoires. In order to produce an articulate and in-depth competence, capable of producing a cultural awareness of repertoires and musical languages, it is important that the Conservatoire will provide cultural and analytical in-depth studies on repertoires (Competence Area on specific musical languages). In addition, an important formative basis is provided by the lessons in the Area of more general musical skills and experience. The Legal Area will enable students to gain important insights in the field of performing arts law and legislation, as well as labour law and contracts that affect or may affect musicians and orchestra professors.

The ‘Bonporti’ Conservatoire of Music in Trento and the ‘Haydn’ Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento actively and directly collaborate on the didactics carried within the specialisation course. Together they define the work project, which will concern each student, under the guidance of a lecturer, and which will be presented as the final examination.

Individual study hours (measured at approximately 2000) must also be taken into account. In addition to the final examination, intermediate examinations may also be included.