New Jersey Symphony Colton Conducting Fellowship 2023–24

The New Jersey Symphony is holding auditions for its inaugural Colton Conducting Fellowship that is slated to begin in the 2023–24 season. The Colton Conducting Fellowship is an excellence-based program designed to support early-career orchestral conductors representing populations that have historically been underrepresented on the podium. The selected fellow will work under the Music Director, serving as cover conductor on Classical programs and conducting select programs as assigned.

Department: Artistic
Status: One-year appointment with option for renewal. Fellow works alongside the Symphony’s 29-week season.
Reports to: Vice President of Artistic Planning; Music Director
Salary: $46,700/year


The New Jersey Symphony will redefine what it means to be a nationally leading, relevant orchestra in the 21st century. Through adventurous performances, hands-on educational experiences, and robust community programming, we encourage everyone to enjoy the power and creativity of orchestral music in all its forms. Across genres and venues, for audiences of all walks of life, we strive to bring music that’s meaningful that's meaningful, relevant, and uplifting. 

As we celebrate our centennial this season, we are renewing our deeply rooted commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by championing new, and often local, artists; engaging audiences for whom the inspiring depth and breadth of classical music will be new; and incorporating the broadest possible representation in all aspects of our organization—all to better reflect and serve our vibrant communities. 

Our expansive educational offerings—including our youth orchestras, master classes, and virtual learning opportunities—will build the next generation of listeners and musicians and help students grow, both musically and personally. And we will continue to seek new ways to connect with all New Jerseyans, through programs that resonate with a variety of cultural and musical backgrounds, as well as digital innovations that make our orchestra accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. 

We’re your New Jersey Symphony, and we’ll be here for you.


The 2023-24 New Jersey Symphony Colton Conducting Fellowship is an excellence-based program designed to support early-career orchestral conductors representing populations that have been historically underrepresented on the podium. This initiative continues the NJ Symphony’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as an expansion of the existing Colton Fellowship for orchestral musicians.

The Colton Conducting Fellow reports to the Vice President of Artistic Planning and the Music Director. Primary duties include rehearsing and conducting select performances as assigned, serving as cover conductor for rehearsals and performances, and acting as a representative of the New Jersey Symphony during other duties as assigned at designated concert and non-concert events. All primary duties are as assigned by the Music Director and Vice President of Artistic Planning.

The Colton Conducting Fellow will receive mentorship from Music Director Xian Zhang, the orchestra’s Artistic Advisory Committee, and artistic staff.


  • Serve as cover conductor for a minimum of 11 weeks of Classical subscription concerts plus other concert programs as assigned. This includes personal preparation of all scores and preparedness to step in to replace the scheduled conductor on short notice, as well as conducting off-stage ensembles as required by repertory, serving as score reader for supertitles or other production needs, and listening to rehearsals and performances and consulting with the conductor on balance and other artistic issues.
  • Work with Vice President of Artistic Planning and other NJ Symphony artistic and education staff members as needed to develop programs including Education, Family, Pops, and Community concerts. Rehearse and conduct these programs as assigned, including delivering memorized text. The ability to write and deliver comments clearly and effectively from the stage for various concert formats is essential.
  • Attend various concert and non-concert events representing the New Jersey Symphony. Participate as directed in planning meetings, media events, fundraising activities, speaking engagements, educational and community engagement opportunities, development meetings and activities, administrative meetings and other activities as determined and identified by the NJ Symphony.


  • Bachelor’s degree in conducting or related music field 
  • Experience conducting a professional orchestra
  • Broad knowledge of orchestral repertoire and programming
  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with musicians, staff, and a wide range of audience members
  • Year-round residency in the NYC metro area required (relocation stipend is available)


The salary for this position is $46,700. The New Jersey Symphony offers a generous benefits package, including health, dental, and vision insurance options. The Fellowship also includes an allowance for professional development, travel and preparation for national conductor auditions, as well as for the purchase of scores, clothing, and other equipment needed to sustain a full-time career as a conductor.

The New Jersey Symphony celebrates the cultural vibrancy of our communities and builds meaningful relationships that elevate and strengthen them. We seek to create a culture of inclusion and a work environment that values hard work, professionalism and creativity. We are committed to diversity and equal opportunity in our recruitment and hiring. Qualified candidates of all backgrounds are welcome to apply for open positions.


Applicants should send the following materials to by May 26, 2023:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter explaining their interest in the position and what they hope to gain from the fellowship
  • 3 links to conducting video samples (no more than 5 minutes each)

Auditions are to be held on July 27, 2023 in Newark, NJ. Invitations will be sent to qualified candidates.

The New Jersey Symphony is an equal opportunity employer. No phone calls please.