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4 - 22 August, 2024
Vratsa, Bulgaria

Conducting Summer Program

fully-immersive practical conducting experience for musicians interested in developing their conducting skills. Daily podium time, up to 7 hours in total, with professional opera soloists, pianists and the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra, culminating in live concerts in both Vratsa and Pleven, Bulgaria.




19 days in the Balkan Mountains

7 hours of podium time

4 international conducting faculty

4 final concerts in 2 cities

12 conducting participants



HD multi-cam video & audio recorded for your portfolio

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Trees and Mountains



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Joshua Rodriguez (2023)
United States

"This program will improve the conducting of those who accept they have room to grow and keep an open mind."

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Petromila Jakas (2023)

"The best team of people I could imagine to spend the summer with! A fantastic place for each musician to develop conducting skills and expand musical ideas. Thank you all for the incredible life experience!"


Abhulimen Ohiku (2023)

"A truly memorable summer experience!"


Alex Deng (2023)
United States

"I need to do the MFA now!"



Active Participant All-Inclusive Tuition: €6,900

All-Inclusive Tuition:

  • 20 nights of hotel accommodation (including breakfast & WiFi) at the Hemus Spa Hotel

  • 7 hours of podium time with professional opera soloists, pianists and the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra

  • Daily guidance (podium and 1-on-1) from 4 international conducting faculty

  • Participation in one of the 4 final concerts with the Vratsa Symphony Orchestra in Pleven and Vratsa, Bulgaria, video and audio recorded for your portfolio

  • 6 University Credits conferred upon completion

Program Spots Remaining:


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2024 Waiting List or Inactive Participant Enrollment Form

Submission Received Successfully

Other questions about the Conducting Summer Program?

Contact Conor O'Boyle, Admissions Officer of The Conducting Institute:

  • Explanation of Educational Hierarchy
    European Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia is an Instructional Site of Irish American University, oferring a 1) Master of Fine Arts in Music for Motion Pictures and Contemporary Media at the Film Scoring Academy of Europe and 2) MFA in Piano Performance, Recording and Contemporary Career Development at The Piano Academy.
  • What's the difference between an MFA and MA?
    An MFA (Master of Fine Arts), alongside a PhD, is considered to be a terminal degree (especially in the United States) whereas an MA (Master of Arts) is considered to be a stepping stone to doctoral study. A substantial portion of an MFA programme is comprised of applied, practice-based activities and production, whereas an MA will usually give greater weight to traditional academic study and research. Many universities accept an MFA as a qualifier comparable to a PhD for professorship and tenure.
  • There are so many Masters programs in Film Scoring out there these days. Why choose the Film Scoring Academy of Europe?
    Simply put, we offer the most comprehensive recording portfolio opportunities of any of the world's film scoring masters degree programs. Our faculty have an extensive history in education and industry practice. Living expenses in Sofia are a fraction of the cost of other cities such as Valencia, Los Angeles, Boston, London, or New York City.
  • When is the application deadline?
    The Admissions Board will review applications and issue admissions decisions every month. The application portal will close as soon as the MFA programme has reached capacity with accepted and enrolled candidates. There is no application deadline, but composers are advised to submit an application as soon as they are able, in order to avoid the risk of losing an opportunity to be selected for the 2020 MFA class.
  • Does the European Academy of Fine Arts provide financial aid?
    At the moment, the European Academy of Fine Arts does not provide institutional financial aid, but grants four (4) merit-based scholarships of €5,000 to deserving students as determined by the admissions board, two (2) merit-based scholarships of €2,500 to deserving students who participate in the Film Scoring Summer Program and wish to transition into the MFA Programme, and one (1) merit-based scholarship of €2,500 to one of the Top 10 Finalists of the Oticons Faculty International Film Music Competition. In order to be eligible to be considered for a scholarship, you must pay your tuition deposit on or before the advertised date, as listed in the Scholarships section on the MFA page. For United States students, Financial Aid is available! Please inquire at
  • Do I need a Visa to participate in an MFA at the European Academy of Fine Arts?
    Students coming from within the EU will not need a student Visa. They'll simply enter the country and apply for a residence permit after they arrive. Students coming from outside the EU will need a student Visa. Student visas will be coordinated with the Visa department at NATFA.
  • Who are the musicians that play on the recording sessions?
    The European Academy of Fine Arts partners with the European Recording Orchestra (ERO) for all recording sessions. The European Recording Orchestra (ERO) is a contemporary orchestra based in Sofia, Bulgaria specializing in studio recording for film, TV, and other contemporary mediums and styles. Comprised of some of the finest orchestral session musicians from approximately one dozen countries across Eastern Europe, the European Recording Orchestra (ERO) regularly records at Bulgarian National Radio Studio 1, Doli Media Studio, and the Sofia Session Studio.
  • I'm from the USA; how can I apply for Financial Aid through FAFSA?
    Accepted students from the United States will be given individual support on how to apply for financial aid via the FAFSA. If you have an immediate question on this subject, please email us at
  • Do I need to stay in Sofia for Semester 3 (Major Project), or can I go home?"
    Student presence in the coursework Semesters 1 and 2 is required, but not required for Semester 3, which means you can go home (or anywhere!) to complete your Major Project. All submissions for the Major Project can be sent remotely. You do have the option of staying in Sofia for Semester 3, if you wish.
  • Is Sofia a nice place to live?
    Sofia is a beautiful place to live! The cuisine is lovely, it is home to an incredible amount of culture, and its proximity to other countries and wonderful cities throughout Eastern Europe is a major plus. If you are not familiar with the Bulgarian traditions in music, you should definitely do some research! We're proud to call this lovely city our home.
  • What is the Film Scoring Summer Program?
    The Film Scoring Summer Program is a 3.5 week film scoring summer course with 4 recording sessions, 4-star hotel accommodation, and 5 days with Christopher Young, all in the beach town of Varna, Bulgaria. 2 scholarship opportunities are available to alumni of the Film Scoring Summer Program who are accepted onto the MFA programme at the Film Scoring Academy of Europe. More information at the Film Scoring Summer Program website.
  • How do I prove Music Theory Proficiency?
    Simply submit copies of all degrees and/or certifications in music that you have achieved with your application, and detail their level of study in Music Theory. If applicable, attached proof of additional study in Music Theory.
  • If I'm accepted, do I need to apply for the Scholarships?"
    No. All accepted students (who meet the deposit requirements for each scholarship) are automatically considered by the Admissions Board for the scholarships. No extra applications are necessary.
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