Conducting Scholars

EMF’s intensive Conducting Institute offers professional development through an accelerated learning process in a technically challenging and positive environment. EMF accepts up to nine Conducting Scholars [age 18 or older] to work with master conductors and the Festival’s student and faculty ensembles.

Each conducting Scholar receives an average of 45 minutes of podium time per week, culminating in two or three public performances during the five-week Festival with both Young Artist and Faculty Artist ensembles. In addition to working with the three resident orchestras, participants conduct weekly string and wind repertoire sessions and work with instrumental faculty in student sectionals.

A core component of the program is individualized instruction from EMF’s three conducting faculty through a series of private lessons, group sessions, and seminars. Topics include score study and preparation, analysis, repertoire, and seminars with Festival Orchestra faculty covering specific instrument needs and considerations.


Audition Requirements


  • Several recent samples of your conducting demonstrating a variety of repertoire (no more than 30 minutes total)

  • Samples would ideally include a mix of both rehearsal and performance and should be a front view of the conductor at a reasonable distance


  • Cover Letter of Interest
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A brief description of your experiences as an ensemble member
  • Short biography (250 words or less)

What To Expect


During the Festival, Conducting Scholars have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of musical repertoire by attending over 35 diverse performances by the Festival faculty, young artists and guests.


All scholars are permitted (and expected) to video record all of their rehearsals and performances for educational purposes and for critique by the EMF conducting faculty. Participants must provide their own equipment and ensure that they have video playback capability for use in their private lessons.

Credit: Jacob Warren for Eastern Music Festival.

Guest Artists

Eastern Music Festival features the world’s most sought-after artists and teachers, who work with students and perform as part of our acclaimed concert series. Past guest artists include musical legends like Midori, Gil Shaham, Joshua Bell, Heidi Castleman, Stefan Jackiw, Cynthia Phelps, Robert Vernon, Lynn Harrell, Edgar Meyer, Sir James Galway, the Canadian Brass, Evelyn Glennie, as well as alumni like Branford and Wynton Marsalis.


Eastern Music Festival offers optional classroom instruction in several areas related to the performance and business of music that completes our rigorous program. Our classes and seminars give students an opportunity to converse with faculty about issues that every musician encounters throughout a professional career. Open dialogue and honest advice enhance students’ experiential learning.


Seminars are faculty-led sessions offered throughout the festival. These informal discussions allow students to learn from faculty experience and to exchange ideas about important issues of the profession. Topics have included: Mock Auditions, Leading a String Section, Chamber Ensemble Rehearsal Techniques, Injury Prevention, The 21st Century Musician, Practicing Tips, Conducting, Life as a Musician, Tai Chi, Yoga and Body Moveable.

Alexander Technique

A certified Alexander Technique instructor offers weekly classes for students, helping enhance instrumental performance by improving freedom of movement, balance, flexibility, and coordination. The fee for this course is $185, which includes three group sessions and four 30-minute private lessons. Students may schedule private Alexander Technique lessons outside of the class for $60 per hour. These private lessons are available to all students, whether or not they are enrolled in the class.

How To Apply

The NEW deadline for receipt of completed applications and the audition recording is March 5, 2021 .


2021 Tuition, Room & Board, and Fees

Eastern Music Festival
$ 5,786
Five-Week Program
  • Tuition - $2,895
  • Room & Board - $2,516
  • Fees (Health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key, & Security) - $375

Attendance is required for the full five-week program (June 26 – July 31).

Decisions regarding admission and financial assistance will be made in April, and each applicant will be notified of acceptance by email.

Within two weeks of acceptance, all students are required to pay a non-refundable $750 reservation deposit (applicable to tuition), plus complete all other information requested in the acceptance and reservation packet. Scholarship awards are forfeited if appropriate forms and reservation fees are not returned within two weeks of acceptance.

Participants may be billed for documented damage/loss of Eastern Music Festival or Guilford College property. This includes lost music, ID cards, keys or destruction of property.

Tuition includes five one-hour private lessons.

The optional fee for Alexander Technique (course) is $185, or $60/hour for private lessons.

The balance of all tuition and fees is due and payable by May 15, 2021. All payments may be made by cash, personal check, money order, MasterCard, VISA, Discover or American Express. There are no refunds after this date (except in the case of medical necessity), and any refunds prior to it are calculated minus the nonrefundable application fee and reservation deposit.

No deductions or refunds will be made for late arrival, early departure, or disciplinary separation from the Festival.


Financial assistance for study at EMF is available, with consideration given only after the application and audition process is completed by the applicant. Merit scholarships are available based on audition results. Work-study scholarships are available based on financial need. Awards range from $100 to the full cost of tuition. All students, regardless of their financial award, must pay the $375 in fees [Health, Activity, Cleaning, ID Card, Key, Security].

Applicants who want to be considered for financial aid must submit a completed Application for Financial Assistance along with their Application for Admission and application fee. A copy of the most recent Federal Tax Form 1040 of the applicant’s parent [or of the applicant, if independent] must be submitted if the applicant is applying for a need-based scholarship. The 1040 tax forms are not necessary if the applicant is only applying for a merit scholarship. Information provided on these forms will be kept confidential and destroyed once the financial assistance process has been completed.

PLEASE NOTE: Incomplete Financial Aid applications cannot be processed.

Each year, Eastern Music Festival provides talented young musicians the financial assistance they need to further their artistic development. While resources are limited, in 2019, 82% of our students received some level of scholarship assistance.

All students are encouraged to apply to EMF, regardless of personal or family financial need; however, EMF recommends that students seek other possible sources of funding in their own community first. Suggested sources of summer study scholarships include: local youth orchestras and community music programs, area foundations which support the arts, and civic organizations which fund educational and student leadership programs.

NOTE: Applications for financial assistance are reviewed each year, for that year only. Returning students requesting financial assistance must submit a new Application for Financial Assistance and the Tax Form 1040 each year they apply.

Merit scholarships are awarded based on the applicant’s audition and their demonstrated level of artistic ability, in relation to the overall applicant pool. These awards are an acknowledgement of merit on the part of the applicant, and for the most part are limited in size.

Campus Life

Guilford College

Guilford College has been EMF’s summer home for 57 years. Founded in 1837, Guilford College is known for its peaceful, tree-lined campus and its historic buildings. The campus is situated on the western edge of Greensboro, North Carolina, a city of 280,000 that is located 75 miles west of Raleigh-Durham, 90 miles northeast of Charlotte and halfway between Atlanta and Washington, DC.

Performance Venues

Guilford College’s Dana Auditorium, completed in 1961 and known for its excellent acoustics, is the primary performance hall for EMF concerts.

Located in Guilford College’s Founders Hall, Sternberger Auditorium serves as a rehearsal space for orchestra as well as the performance facility for piano recitals, master classes and Young Artists chamber music recitals.

Tew Recital Hall at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s College for Visual and Performing Arts serves as home for some of EMF’s chamber music performances and recitals. EMF also performs at other venues throughout North Carolina’s Triad region and beyond.

Credit: Kelly Swindell for Eastern Music Festival


EMF students and counselors live in Guilford College residence halls, while faculty and some guest artists are housed in nearby campus apartments. Students are grouped by gender, and residence halls are separated by age. Meals are served in the college dining hall; laundry facilities are located in each residence hall, and all Guilford College facilities are air-conditioned. Summer staff members include a nurse, dean of students and counselors. The EMF Education Office, Dean of Students Office and Operations Offices are located on campus during the Festival.

Restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are located within a quarter-mile of campus. Students may use the college’s library and recreational facilities. Amenities include a weight room, racquetball, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts.



Recreational and social activities are planned on a regular basis, both on and off campus. Popular on-site activities include Ultimate Frisbee, tennis, video games, foosball, pool and dances. Off-site activities such as movies and bowling are voluntary and may cost extra. Students are occasionally invited to receptions or functions with patrons and scholarship donors. Transportation is available for off-campus activities.


Credit: Julie Averette for Eastern Music Festival

“The Festival’s gorgeous surroundings and overall environment provide the perfect setting for young artists to develop and learn.”

Contact Admissions

Melissa M. Edwards, D.M.A.
Director of Education and Admissions

Phone: 336-333-7450, x227
Fax: 336-333-7454


Course offerings, faculty, visiting artists, fees, and other information are subject to change without notice. Eastern Music Festival is actively committed to a diverse student body and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, gender, or physical disability in the administration of its educational policies and programs.