UNC Symphony Orchestra
IMPORTANT: Due to COVID-19 transmission concerns, as well as university social distancing requirements severely reducing the capacity of our rehearsal room, we will unfortunately not be able to accept any wind/brass/percussion into the orchestra this semester, but will only have a string orchestra, also limited in numbers.
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, Tonu Kalam, 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 Burana, Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Brahms’ German Requiem, 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’ Symphony No. 1, 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, John Corigliano, Steve Reich, Christopher Rouse, John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Theofanidis, Max Richter, Michael Torke, Arvo Pärt, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Peter Lieberson, Michael Gandolfi, 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.
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.
Auditions for the orchestra will be held beginning Monday of the first week of classes. 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 uncchmusic.weebly.com.
All 2020 auditions will be held via Zoom.
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.
Everyone interested in the orchestra, including new and returning players, must attend the first meeting via Zoom (https://unc.zoom.us/j/97515754009) on Wednesday, August 12 at 7:00 pm, even if you have not yet auditioned.
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:
- Wind/brass/percussion players must sign up for an audition time online by following the links posted at uncchmusic.weebly.com.
- String players must sign up for an audition time online by clicking the following link, which will not be activated until early August:
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.
If you have any questions or desire more information about the orchestra program, please email Prof. Kalam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNC Symphony Orchestra – Verdi, Overture to “La forza del destino”