Phase 2: Ballet

Dates: Saturday 18 – Sunday 19 May 2019
Time: all day (likely 10:00 – 18:00) Saturday and Sunday
Venue: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London WC2
Closing date: Thursday 28 March, 9am

Following the success of our first Women Conductors workshop specialising in opera, in partnership with the Royal Opera House and National Opera Studio last September, we are very pleased to be presenting two similar opportunities this summer: one for opera, and one for ballet. The ballet course is detailed on this page and you can click here to visit the page about the opera course. If you are eligible for both, you can apply for both using one application form, or alternatively specify in your application form which course you would like to be considered for.


This intensive two-day course will give women conductors the opportunity to evolve their skills and fluency in the art of ballet conducting. A cohort of 6 participants will have a unique chance to work with one of Britain’s leading ballet conductors and dancers from the Royal Ballet.

The course will address the principles of conducting for dance, compared with opera and symphonic repertoire. Central to this, you will learn about the rehearsal process for dance, what professional dancers need and expect from a conductor and how musicians and dancers collaborate. You will meet members of the music staff of the Royal Ballet, and receive coaching from Paul Murphy, Principal Conductor of Birmingham Royal Ballet. Also present will be Alice Farnham, founder of the RPS Women Conductors programme, and Jonathan Lo who recently conducted New Works, New Music, the Royal Ballet’s acclaimed return to the renovated Linbury Theatre. Working with Royal Ballet repetiteurs, you will have the chance to conduct Royal Ballet dancers in excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and find out more from our experts about the creative process of conducting new work by living composers and choreographers.

Koen Kessels, Music Director of the Royal Ballet will play a central role in reviewing applications and selecting candidates. As demand for places is expected to be high, we are able to grant some free ‘observer’ places to a small number of exceptional candidates not selected to participate. While this will not involve conducting in sessions yourself, you will still have substantial opportunity to learn from the experts involved and draw insight from the activities on the course. You need not be based in the UK but would need to make your own arrangements to get to London and stay for the weekend, including any visa or similar travel documents this may require, at your own expense. As the course will be run in English, you should be fluent in it.


This opportunity is strictly for women who are already working conductors, aspiring to work at the highest level and deepen their practical knowledge of conducting ballet. We are looking for conductors with technical competency who wish to develop their powers of interpretation and expression. We are particularly interested to hear from conductors already working in dance for whom this will be a chance to further your proficiency, but conductors from other disciplines are also welcomed. In your application, you should talk about your experience and interest in conducting dance, and tell us why you feel this experience would be of vital benefit to you now.

Optimally you will already have considerable professional experience conducting, working with musicians of a professional standard. In your application, you are asked to submit both a CV outlining your conducting experience so far and some filmed footage of you conducting. See below for further details.

If you are not at this level of conducting, you may like to consider another of the RPS Women Conductors workshops, detailed here.

If you are unsure whether the course may be right for you or have any concerns about whether you could fully participate, you are warmly welcome to call the RPS for an informal chat on 020 7287 0019.


We are pleased to say that this particular course is free to participate in, thanks to the generous support of Oak Foundation.

Participants and observers will need to arrange their own travel and accommodation as required. Though refreshments will be provided, you should make your own arrangements for lunch: the Royal Opera House is situated close to a range of cafés and shops.


The closing date for applications has now passed.

Places are subject to availability and applications are assessed before places are confirmed.

If you are applying for the ballet and opera courses, and the panel decides to offer you a place, it is their decision which course you will be offered.

We aim to confirm places in mid-April and at that stage will also offer select candidates who are not offered places the chance to come and observe part of the course.

For any questions or queries about the course, please contact us.


Ralph Kirshbaum, International Cello Soloist: For 40 years London has been a base for my concert and teaching activities, I endorse and support with gratitude the indispensable work of the RPS.


In 1980 pianist extraordinaire Stephen Hough won the first RPS Julius Isserlis scholarship, enabling him to study abroad at Julliard.