New Jersey Symphony Colton Conducting Fellowship 2024–25

The New Jersey Symphony is holding auditions for the 2024–25 Colton Conducting Fellowship. This 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: $48,100/year


The New Jersey Symphony will redefine what it means to be a nationally leading, relevant orchestra in the 21st century.

As we embark upon our next 100 years, 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.


The 2024–25 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 $48,100. 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.


Apply at the link below by June 3, 2024. The following are required within the application form:

  • A one-page resume with your contact info
  • 3 professional references
  • A short answer (3 sentences) to each of the following questions:
    • Please provide one example of how you have engaged diverse communities through music.
    • Please describe someone whom you consider to be one of your most important mentors and role models and how you have applied what you have learned from them in both your personal and professional lives.
    • How would you use your time as the New Jersey Symphony Colton Conducting Fellow to promote creative excellence through diversity, equity and inclusion?
    • How do you see this program supporting your long-term career goals?
  • 3 links to conducting video samples (no more than 5 minutes each)

Submit your Application

Auditions are to be held on July 25, 2024 in Newark, NJ. Invitations will be sent to qualified candidates. Please contact Erin Lunsford Norton, Vice President of Artistic Planning, at with any questions.

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.

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