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The Ensemble

The UNC Symphony Orchestra is a 90-member ensemble that rehearses Monday and Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. throughout the academic year and performs two major concerts each semester. Enrollment is open by audition to the entire UNC community—music majors, minors, non-majors, graduate students in all fields, and recent graduates.

The UNCSO was honored to be named the 2012 first-place winner of The American Prize in Orchestral Performance—College/University Division, for the video of its live performance of the Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances.

Led by its Music Director and Conductor, Evan Harger, the orchestra often presents faculty and student musicians as concerto soloists and has regularly collaborated with UNC Opera and choral ensembles, including full productions of Britten’s War Requiem, Orff’s Carmina BuranaMozart’s Così fan tutte, Brahms’ German Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria, and the Verdi Requiem in Murry Sidlin’s Defiant Requiem production. The UNCSO has appeared on a number of occasions in the Carolina Performing Arts series, including a 2015 collaboration with world-renowned violinist Gil Shaham in a memorable performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, a 2017 performance of Philip Glass’ Symphony No. 4 in CPA’s Glass at 80 festival, and a 2020 solo appearance by Metropolitan Opera star mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard.

Major standard orchestral works performed in past years have included Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 and 9, all four Brahms Symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 3 and 5, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Berlioz’ Symphonie fantastique and Harold in Italy, Mussorgsky-Ravel’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations, Respighi’s Pines of Rome, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade, suites from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, and Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Dvořák’s Symphonies Nos. 5, 6, 8 and 9, Shostakovich’s Symphonies Nos. 5, 6 and 9, Sibelius’ Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5, Franck’s Symphony in D minor, Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony, Gershwin’s An American in Paris, and Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration.

The UNCSO has also performed numerous works by significant 20th and 21st century composers, including Barber, Bernstein, Hanson, Schuman, Hovhaness, Hindemith, Britten, Walton, Bloch, Milhaud, Poulenc, Khachaturian, John Adams, William Bolcom, Anna Clyne, John Corigliano, Steve Reich, Christopher Rouse, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Max Richter, Michael Torke, Arvo Pärt, Eduard Tubin, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Peter Lieberson, Maxwell Ramage, Robert Moran, Tomas Svoboda, Hilary Tann, Lowell Liebermann, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, as well as UNC faculty composers Allen Anderson, Roger Hannay, Lynn Glassock, Ingrid Arauco, Billy Stewart, and Stephen Anderson. In addition, the UNCSO has commissioned and premiered new works written for our orchestra by Michael Gandolfi and William Henry Curry.

Many of the orchestra’s recent concert performances are available for viewing on YouTube by searching for “UNC Symphony Orchestra” or going to the Departmental YouTube page.

Audition Information

Auditions for the orchestra will be held beginning Monday of the first week of classes in August. Returning orchestra members must re-audition each year for seating placement.

The string audition will consist of two brief solos of your choice—one slow/melodic, one fast/technical—and a three-octave scale of your choosing.

Wind/brass/percussion audition requirements will be posted online at

NOTE: Students will not be able to register online for orchestra, MUSC 211 SEC 001, until all auditions have been concluded at the end of the first week of classes.

Player Information Form and Audition Signups

Prior to auditioning, all prospective and returning orchestra members must fill out and submit the Player Information Form accessed by clicking the following link:

Fall Auditions

  • Wind/brass/percussion players must sign up for an audition time online by following the links posted at
  • String players must sign up for an audition time online by clicking the following link, which will not be activated until late July:

Spring Auditions

Players interested in joining the orchestra beginning in the spring semester must contact Prof. Kalam directly to arrange an audition time prior to the holiday break in December.

Informational Meeting

All interested new and returning players should attend the first orchestra meeting on TBD at 7:00 pm in Kenan Music Building Room 1201, even if you have not yet auditioned. You do not need to bring your instruments.

If you have any questions or desire more information about the orchestra program, please email Prof. Harger at


UNC Symphony Orchestra – Verdi, Overture to “La forza del destino”