The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is situated within one of the most culturally diverse metropolitan areas in the United States. Honolulu is home to several major performing ensembles, including the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Music Hawaiʻi, affording our students unique opportunities to work with members of these professional organizations (and distinguished visiting guest artists) in applied studies, masterclasses and coachings throughout the academic year.


Students at UHM have the unique opportunity to work within an inspiring and vibrant musical community that celebrates both the East and the West. The Music Department offers a wide range of performing groups, including many Asian/Pacific ensembles such as gagaku, gamelan, Chinese instrumental, koto, and Hawaiian music in addition to our large performing ensembles: The University of Hawaiʻi Wind Ensemble, Orchestra and Choruses.


Performance Opportunities


M. Mus Conducting: Performance students regularly lead major student ensembles in rehearsal and performance, including the UH Choirs (Chamber Singers; Concert Choir; University Chorus), the Symphony Orchestra, and the UH Bands (Wind Ensemble; Symphonic Band; Concert Band; Athletic Bands). Students may also have the opportunity to conduct chamber ensembles, and ad-hoc ensembles of their devising.

Conducting track students in the Choral concentration will receive expansive conducting opportunities. Throughout their time at the University of Hawaiʻi, students will conduct a professional vocal ensemble, collegiate chamber and symphonic choirs, and community-based ensembles. In addition to scholarship of the western canon, graduate choral conductors also receive training in the study and performance practice of choral repertoire unique to Hawaiʻi, Polynesia, and Asia.


Conducting track students in the Orchestral concentration will receive a hands on experience in rehearsal technique with the University of Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra (UHSO) through podium time during rehearsals; students will also perform a variety of repertoire with this ensemble in a variety of settings including in concert halls throughout O‘ahu and in the UHSO’s popular pops programs.

Conducting track students in the Wind Band concentration will gain experience in all facets of a Division-I collegiate band program, including both artistic and administrative/managerial responsibilities with our athletic bands (including marching and pep bands) and concert bands (including podium time with all concert bands).


Conducting Faculty


Jeffrey Boeckman conducts the Wind Ensemble, teaches courses in conducting and wind literature, and oversees the entire UH Bands program. In the first years under his direction, the UH Bands have embarked on an ambitious agenda of programming, commissioning, touring, and professional development, including collaborations with guest artists, the UH Conductors Workshop, and a composer residency program, all with the goal of developing the UH Bands into a band program of a national and international profile. He regularly serves as guest conductor and clinician throughout the US and internationally.

Joseph Stepec is the director of the University of Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra (UHSO). In this capacity he has given concerts with the orchestra at the Blaisdell Concert Hall and the Kennedy Theatre on the campus of UH Mānoa. He has also regularly been featured as a conductor with the Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Hawaiʻi and the newly formed Hawaiʻi Chamber Music Festival. He began Hawaiʻi’s All-State String Orchestra program in 2016 and is regularly featured as a clinician locally and nationally.

Application/Admission Procedures

A complete overview of the application and admissions procedures for graduate study at UH can be found here.

Applicants to any UH master’s degree program must have:

  • an undergraduate degree with a major in music or a bachelor’s degree and evidence of an equivalent musical background
  • three confidential (not more than two years old) letters of recommendation.
  • for non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL score of 500 minimum for performance or 540 for other concentrations and 600 for teaching assistants (see TOEFL description above)
  • A GRE General Test score is welcomed but not required.

Additional requirements specific to the M.Mus conducting program are as follows:

M. Mus. in Performance: Conducting

  • Applicants are expected to have at least one year of relevant conducting / teaching / professional experience.
  • Applicants must submit an unedited video of a recent ensemble rehearsal (15- 20 minutes in length). Upon initial review, a limited number of applicants will be invited to the UH campus for an interview and audition. (Alternate interview/audition procedures can be arranged for prospective students unable to travel to Hawaii.) Videos must be received by the UH admissions deadline of January 15th. Applications for graduate assistantships are due by February 1st.

Prospective and returning M. Mus Conducting students are encouraged to apply for all UH Music Department scholarships, achievement scholarships, and graduate assistantship opportunities.