Assistant Conductor

The great Carlos Kleiber once wrote in a letter about conducting, ‘Opera means Technique, in the broader sense of the word’. 

Toby Purser conducting

Conducting opera is both one of the most rewarding and demanding skills, requiring the widest range of technical ability and musicianship, collaborative leadership, cultural and dramatic insight, and lightening-fast interaction between stage and orchestra. 

While an assistant conductor with the VOA you will:

  • work alongside all the singers, assistant conductors, pianists and me in finding our own dramatic truth for our performances.
  • Explore how to achieve those aims through listening, interaction and gesture, and knowing when to lead and when to accompany. 
  • engage with the vocal faculty, learning approaches for coaching and supporting singers.
  • Be part of conducting rehearsals, so you can feel yourself connecting to both the orchestra and the singers. 
  • Work intensively on conducting recitativo accompagnato with both technical clarity and dramatic conviction. 
  • Develop your skills as an assistant conductor, so you know how to give notes to singers and conductors, and how to devise complex rehearsal schedules. 

Above all, it is a process that will engage every part of your talent, knowledge, personality and skill – and we look forward to supporting you as you develop these in Vienna, and our supportive VOA environment. 


Toby Purser
Musical Director
Vienna Opera Academy

3 Trainee Conductors and 3 pianist repetiteurs will be selected.

In each 3-week session Toby Purser, Head of Conducting at London’s Royal College of Music, is accepting a maximum of THREE advanced conducting and THREE piano students to have the opportunity to join the Vienna Opera Academy. They will be mentored and coached intensively by Mr. Purser and other guest conductors, working with a wide range of singers, and fully immersed in all of the opera repertoire and rehearsals. These places are open to conductors and pianists who already have some experience and training, and who wish to broaden their abilities in operatic repertoire. (Alternatively, we also warmly recommend the VOA for Conductors, a one week course for up to EIGHT participants. For more information, click here.)

The Conducting Program consists of:

  • Minimum 1.5-hour conducting class each morning.
  • Italian and German language coaching
  • Attend vocal coachings and masterclasses.
  • Develop the essential skills of Assistant Conductor, including collaborating on scheduling and casting decisions, and taking notes during rehearsal.
  • Take an active role in ensemble and performance rehearsals every afternoon, and when ready, offered the opportunity to conduct parts of production rehearsal.
  • Conduct part of at least one orchestra rehearsal.
  • At the discretion of the faculty, be offered the possibility to rehearse and conduct an opera scene in concert.

Tuition: €1850 euros
The tuition can be paid in installments



We do not provide housing but we can recommend accommodations that give a discount to artists of the Vienna Opera Academy.

If you need a letter to acquire your visa, we will provide an official letter of acceptance.


3 and 4 weeks program

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3 weeks program

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3 weeks program

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One week masterclass

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