The String Faculty of UMD's Music Department has extensive solo, chamber and orchestral experience. These dedicated teachers are committed to helping students reach their fullest potential. Through intensive private study and frequent contact with the faculty, our students develop exceptional individual musicianship and are prepared for successful performing or teaching careers. Our students are given the opportunity to perform in chamber ensembles, master classes, weekly student recitals, musicals, chamber orchestra, symphony orchestra and a variety of other string ensembles. Graduates of our programs have been awarded scholarships and assistantships to attend some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country. Students wishing to audition for the string area should prepare two contrasting selections (or sections from an extended piece) that demonstrate dexterity and expressivity. Three-octave scales of their choice and sight-reading may also be requested. If you are unsure about the suitability of your piece(s), please contact the faculty member for your instrument.
UMD Symphony Orchestra
The UMD Symphony Orchestra performs approximately four to five concerts per year: an Inaugural concert, the Story-Hour Concert, the Sounds of the Season, the Concerto Competition Concert and a Choral Masterwork or Opera Production in collaboration with the Vocal Department. The orchestra is comprised of students, faculty and community players. It is a full-size symphonic orchestra that performs the complete range of symphonic literature, from the standard orchestral masterpiece to operatic and contemporary works. It is open to all students of the university who play an orchestral instrument. Non-music majors and post-secondary high school students are particularly encouraged to audition. The orchestra rehearses two evenings per week. Recent programs have included symphonies and other works by Bach, Mussorgsky, Puccini, Elgar, Sibelius, Delius, Khachaturian, Mozart, Barber, Copland, Shostakovich, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Ravel and Beethoven. The orchestra has also been selected by the Minnesota Music Educators Association to perform at the annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Selected members of the orchestra are selected to perform for the musicals produced by the Theatre Department. The most advanced students are also encouraged to audition for openings in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO), the area's professional orchestra. Students are excused from UMD orchestra rehearsals when rehearsing or performing with the DSSO. String players may also elect to participate in the Chamber Orchestra and other string ensembles. For more information, contact Rudy Perrault.
The Chamber Orchestra consists of the most advanced string players. It is a highly selective group of no more than 20 players. The Chamber Orchestra rehearses twice a week and performs 2 to 3 concerts per year. This string-only ensemble explores the great masterpieces of the chamber orchestra literature. An audition is required for participation. The most advanced students are also encouraged to audition for openings in the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO), the area's professional orchestra. The orchestra is augmented by winds and percussion as needed.
Through collaborations with other national and international institutions, students in the orchestras gain a global perspective. They have been guest directed by prominent international conductors, and have performed alongside students and professionals from Italy, France, Russia, Haiti, China, Korea and Turkey. Our goal is to continue those international ventures in an effort to expose our students to the highest possible standards of excellence. Both orchestras are dedicated to performing the works of great composers, past and present, to a new generation of musicians and audiences. For more information about Chamber Orchestra, contact Brian Buckstead.
Audition for Orchestra
The UMD Chamber and Symphony Orchestras welcome all music major/minors and non-major students who meet the minimum musical aptitude. A single audition for both orchestras is held at the beginning of every semester. A signup sheet will be posted on the orchestra/string bulletin board during the first week of classes. As soon as you arrive on campus, please contact maestro Jean Perrault immediately about the possibility of joining the orchestras. For the audition, prepare two contrasting selections (slow and fast), or sections of the same piece, that demonstrate your musical and technical ability. You may also be asked to play a scale of your choice in as many octaves as your technique permits you to play steadily and in tune. Sight-reading may also be required.