Conducting Apprenticeship Program



Choral Canada is pleased to present the National Youth Choir of Canada Conducting Apprenticeship Program.

This program is made possible through the generous support The Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation.

The successful applicant for the 2016 National Youth Choir Apprentice Conductor position is KATHLEEN ALLAN.

Click HERE to see the Press Release

Kathleen Allan headshot

A native of St. John’s, NL, conductor, composer and soprano Kathleen Allan is rapidly becoming internationally respected for compelling performances and engaging compositions. She has recently been appointed as the Director of Choral Studies and Associate Conductor of Orchestras at the Vancouver Academy of Music. She is the assistant conductor of the Vancouver Bach Choir, and has held conducting positions with St. Michael’s Choir School, the Yale Glee Club, the Vancouver Bach Children’s Chorus, and in 2013, was the Conducting Fellow of the Canadian Chamber Choir. She is the founding co-artistic director of Arkora, a new chamber music collective dedicated to interdisciplinary performance. Her compositions have been commissioned and performed by ensembles throughout North America, Europe, and in Argentina, where her work was featured at the World Symposium on Choral Music.

Also in high demand as a soprano soloist and professional choral singer, she has appeared as a soloist with the National Broadcast Orchestra of Canada and Berkshire Choral Festival Choir, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Bach Choir. In addition to freelancing regularly in Canada and the United States, she is a member of the Vancouver Chamber Choir and has sung with the Vienna-based Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Skylark Vocal Ensemble in Atlanta, and the Yale Schola Cantorum. A passionate interpreter of new music, she has premiered over two dozen works for the voice.

Upcoming engagements include conducting Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in Japan, music-directing the Citadel Theatre’s presentation of Alice Through the Looking Glass in Edmonton, and premieres of new commissions by ensembles throughout North America. She holds a degree in composition from the University of British Columbia and a master’s degree in choral conducting from Yale University.

About the program

Initiated in 1998, the NYC/CNJ Conducting Apprenticeship Program offers a young conductor the opportunity to work with Canada’s finest youth choir. The successful applicant will spend two weeks with the NYC/CNJ during rehearsals, performances and touring. Throughout the time period, the apprentice will have opportunities to study with one of Canada’s finest choral conductors, to observe rehearsals, to discuss choral techniques and to have some conducting opportunities in performance with the NYC/CNJ. Please note that all NYC/CNJ rehearsals will be conducted in English only; however bilingualism (English/French) is an asset. 

2016 program

Michael Zaugg picture

Michael Zaugg

The 2016 National Youth Choir program will be in Alberta, May 7 – 23, 2016, under the direction of Michael Zaugg

The successful applicant

  • must be a Canadian citizen (or permanent resident)
  • must not be older than 35 years as of the concluding date of the program
  • must be a member of Choral Canada
  • He or she will demonstrate a keen desire to learn more about choral conducting at an advanced level.
  • At the discretion of the NYC conductor, the candidate may elect to sing in the NYC

An independent selection committee will choose the successful applicant. Candidates must submit: 

  • a letter of application (1-2 pages) explaining her/his desire to enter the apprenticeship program, what s/he would like to gain from the opportunity, how s/he intends to use this experience, and why s/he should be chosen;
  • a detailed résumé outlining her/his choral conducting education and experience;
  • a list of the repertoire conducted over the past 2-3 years;
  • video footage showing 10-15 minutes of the candidate in rehearsal and 5-10 minutes of the candidate in performance (both with a choir the candidate works with on a regular basis);
  • two letters of recommendation from established conductors who know the candidate’s work well.
  • see “Application Instructions” for full details

DEADLINE for submissions: CLOSED

Thanks to the generous support of The Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation, there is no tuition for this program. The successful applicant will be responsible for transportation to and from NYC/CNJ but local transportation, accommodation, and meals will be provided for the duration of the program. 

Click here for: Application Instructions

***NEW: $4,000 Prize!***

The successful applicant will also receive a prize of $4,000 from the Sir Ernest MacMillan Memorial Foundation.

The Foundation provides significant career development opportunities to young Canadian musicians and music scholars in their advanced education, and in so doing commemorates a great Canadian and his unique career.

Sir Ernest MacMillan
For more information, please contact Choral Canada: 
Email: [email protected]g
Phone: 647.606.2467

Please note: The decision of the jury is final. During the review of applications, the jury may, at its discretion, withhold the offer of the Program and prize if none of the applicants meet the set criteria. 

ALUMNI – NYC Apprentice Conductor

2014 – Irene Apanovitch
2012 – Dr. Joel Tranquilla
2010 – Heather Fraser
2008 – Dr. Jean-Sébastien Vallée
2006 – Dr. Caron Daley
2004 – Dr. Timothy Shantz
2002 – Kevin D. Skelton
2000 – Dr. L. Brett Scott
1998 – Dr. Julia Davids