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.

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: October 1, 2015

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: 
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. 

2014 National Youth Choir Apprentice Conductor, Irene Apanovitch

nyc-2014-headshotA graduate of the University of Alberta with a Master of Music in choral conducting, Irene was the recipient of the 2012 National Award for Outstanding Thesis/Dissertation, issued by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities (now Choral Canada). Trained as a pianist initially, Irene also holds a Bachelor in Music Education from the University of Toronto. Irene’s passion for conducting was fostered by many outstanding teachers, including Debra Cairns (Canada), Leonard Ratzlaff (Canada), Agnes Grossmann (Austria), Simon Carrington (UK), Doreen Rao (USA), and Ivars Taurins (Canada). 

A native of Minsk, Belarus, Irene currently lives in Edmonton, where she enjoys contributing to Alberta’s vibrant choral scene. Irene established a new chamber choir for young adults—Accord Ensemble and is the assistant conductor with the award-winning I Coristi Chamber Choir. A dedicated arts administrator, Irene is the founder and co-chair of the ChoraStudent Chapter, and currently holds the Program Coordinator position with the Alberta Choral Federation.