The Conducting Department was established in 1956. For a long time, it is the only conducting department in all music conservatories in China. It aims at cultivating outstanding conductors and strong leadership for music troupes and other performance troupes. Its influence and academic achievements has ranked high in advanced international conducting teaching institutes.
The department has two teaching groups-conducting group and piano duet accompanying group-to serve undergraduate and graduate programs. The required courses offered by conducting group include orchestral conducting, choral conducting, Chinese traditional instrumental conducting, score reading, and instrumental playing technique, etc. Piano duet accompanying group is mainly in charge of double-piano symphony playing for the conducting teaching and tutorial. At the same time, the group offers symphony playing course with double-piano and graduate program for the students in double-piano playing major.
The faculty of conducting group has enormous potentiality. It includes the most outstanding conductors and educators in China, such as Huang Feili (the first Chair of conducting department), Li Delun, Zheng Xiaoying (former Chair), Xu Xin (former Chair), Han Zhongjie, Chen Yixin, Shen Wujun, Li Huade, Yao Guanrong, Wu Lingfen, etc. Prof. Yu Feng, the renowned conductor and artistic director of China National Opera House, has become the present Chair of the department and music director of China Youth Symphony Orchestra since 1996. Other faculty members include well-known choral conductor, Professor Yang Hongnian (the Chief of Children & Young Women Chorus of China National Symphony Orchestra and Vice Chair of International Children Performing Art Association), Vice Chair of the department, Associate Professor Wang Fujian (the music director of Shanghai Chinese Orchestra), Associate Professor Yang Li (former music director of Tianjin Symphony Orchestra), Shen Hao (Secretary of the Party branch in conducting department ), Chen Lin (the second place winner in Poland International Conducting Competition, former assistant conductor of Seiji Ozawa, Assistant Professor of University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music), Xia Xiaotang (conductor of China Philharmonic Orchestra and China Youth Symphony Orchestra, the first place winner in China Conducting Competition), Li Xincao (the principle conductor of China Symphony Orchestra), Yang Yang (the first place winner in Greece International Conducting Competition). In addition, the conducting department invites international conducting maestros, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Barenboim, Charles Dutoit, Hans-Dieter Baum, Mark Gibson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, etc, to give master classes and lectures every year. The faculty team of conducting department has 13 members that include 3 professors, 3 associate professors, 4 lecturers, and 4 teaching assistants.
Through the teaching practice over five decades, the department gradually found the special teaching system with Chinese features based on combing the strong points of conducting teaching pedagogy in former Soviet, European and American schools with the practice experiences of Chinese conducting teaching pedagogy. The students of conducting department are required to study the classical compositions of different periods and styles from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century. Besides, the required curriculum also include all the theoretical courses, such as score reading, instrumentation, choral theory, advanced sight-singing and ear-training, piano, music histories and "four composition theoretical courses"-harmony, counterpoint, form and orchestration.
Through the comprehensive study, the students would not only master conducting techniques with profound theoretical and cultural accomplishments, but also have strong quality and organizing ability to be a leader of a performing group. In resent ten years, leading by the Chair of conducting department, Professor Yu Feng, the department found "Modern Conducting Teaching Pedagogy" with Chinese features and cultivated quite a number of distinguished conductors who have great influences at home and abroad. Among them, nine conductors achieved first and second places for 12 times in different international competitions; and four achieved gold and silver prizes in the competitions in China. The pedagogy achieved second prize of Outstanding Teaching Achievement Award of National Higher Education in 2005.
In 2004, the conducting department established China Conducting Association (the first president was Professor Xu Xin, the present president is Professor Yu Feng), found academic journal Conductor and China Conducting Association website. The association attracted many outstanding conductors to participate and provided more extensive platform for the teaching and practice of conducting. All these achievements strengthened the conducting department's leading place in Chinese conducting circle.