Program overview

Westminster Choir College’s master’s program in Choral Conducting trains conductors to be creative, thoughtful and technically proficient musicians. Acquire a strong foundation in conducting technique and knowledge of choral literature, and have unparalleled opportunities to perform and to conduct choirs renowned for their musical excellence. 

Graduate Choral Conducting Handbook (PDF)

What to expect

Each student rehearses and performs a short recital with Master Singers (a class choir composed of graduate choral conducting and sacred music students) several times a year under faculty supervision.


  • Each student serves as graduate assistant to one of Westminster’s choirs, and conducts a full graduate recital with that ensemble, in repertoire agreed upon with the faculty conductor of the ensemble.
  • Many candidates in the Master of Music in Choral Conducting choose graduate voice pedagogy courses with internationally known voice pedagogues to enhance their vocal knowledge in working with their ensembles.
  • Singing with leading orchestras and conductors as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir offers unparalleled opportunities to experience performing at the highest professional level.
James Joyce, faculty, leads a choral conducting classroom

Program requirements

This program consists of a comprehensive, core curriculum of research, literature, conducting, pedagogy, and ensemble rehearsal technique.

A legacy of choral excellence

Our alumni lead some of the finest choral programs in schools, churches, communities and campuses across the country. You’ll find our graduates working as innovative leaders with some of the world’s most prestigious choral ensembles and academic programs.

Our alumni:

  • Donald Nally, 4-time Grammy Winner and Conductor of The Crossing
  • Andrew Megill, DCA at The University of Illinois, Champaign, Urbana
  • Heather Buchanan, DCA Montclair State University
  • Christopher Jackson, The Bethlehem Bach Choir
  • Charles Brown, Concordia University
  • Giselle Wyers, University of Washington
  • Rachel Feldman, Connecticut College
  • Xiangtang Hong, Berea College
  • Trey Davis, Louisiana State University
  • Matthew Mehaffey, The University of Minnesota and Conductor of The Mendelsohn Choir of Pittsburgh
  • Elizabeth Braden: Chorus Master and Conductor: The Philadelphia Opera Company
  • Paul Head, DCA, The University of Delaware
  • Jeff Vanderlee, The University of Arizona
  • John Frederick Hudson: Freelance Conductor, Author and Composer-London, England
  • Gregory Brown, Composer/Conductor
  • Stephanie Council, DCA, Simpson College

Donald Nally '87

"Westminster changed both the quality and direction of my life. The community; the level of the faculty and choirs; the gifts and determination of my fellow students, many of whom have become lifelong friends and collaborators: these all provided lessons that shaped my way of thinking about music and about living. There is no adequate measure of the gratitude that I hold for Westminster then and now."

Donald Nally '87, Conductor, The Crossing
2-time Grammy Award winner - Best Choral Performance
Director of Choral Organizations
John W. Beattie Chair of Music
Northwestern University

Donald Nally headshot Copyright: PAUL SIROCHMAN


Ruben Valenzuela

Guest Artists and Residencies

Regular Guest Artists in Residence are a vital part of the graduate program and offer exposure to the major choral conductors of our time. Each year they provide unique experiences and exposure to Westminster’s conducting majors.


Choral Conducting (M.M.)

Tom Shelton

Associate Professor, Department Chair

Department of Choral Studies, Music Education and Sacred Music

Westminster House

tshelton [at]

609-921-7100 x8274

Academic Focus: Sacred Music

Fine Arts building


Dr. James Jordan

Professor; Director, Westminster Conducting Institute

jjordan [at]
Gill Chapel interior