Sokanu rates Conductors with a D employability rating, meaning this career should provide weak employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 26,400 Conductors. That number is based on 2,600 additional Conductors, and the retirement of 23,800 existing Conductors.
Demand for Conductors
Aspiring conductors may look to Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel for their inspiration. They should not, however, look upon his career path as common or traditional. Dudamel skipped college because he became an international sensation at a young age. He is most certainly the exception to the rule, which generally requires that professional conductors have at least a master’s degree, if not a doctorate in conducting. Most conductors will further increase their employability if they specialize in one of three standard programs: wind ensemble conducting, orchestral conducting, or choral conducting.
While positions with major and renowned symphony and philharmonic orchestras are at the pinnacle of the conductor world, there are other roads to success in the field. Local orchestras, military and marching bands, college choirs, and chamber music ensembles each present opportunities for conductors to hone their skills and advance their careers. Competition in all of these arenas, as in every musical field, is expected to be at a higher level than overall demand.
Supply of Conductors
The Conductor industry is concentrated in New York, California, and Texas.