The Music Major Ensembles are for students enrolled in the School of Music degree programs. These ensembles include the orchestral program, wind ensemble program, all choral ensembles, and the opera program. To learn more about ensembles that are open to the entire University Community, please visit the University Ensembles/Boston University Bands website at www.bu.edu/bands.
Ensemble Seating Auditions
Auditions for Large Ensembles and Chamber Music are required of each student, every September of his or her residency in the School of Music. Each audition will be seven minutes long. These auditions play a significant role in the determination of placement in and within chamber music, the orchestras, and the wind ensemble. Therefore, every student is urged to prepare these auditions carefully and thoroughly. The faculty will weigh the preparation and performance of the orchestral excerpts as heavily as that of the solo material. Current students can find audition information on the School of Music Bridge. Any questions about auditions should be directed to the Ensembles Manager, Mary Gerbi.
Symphony and Chamber Orchestras
The Boston University School of Music Orchestral Program, which includes the Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra, plays a central role in the education of the School’s instrumentalists who aspire to professions as chamber musicians, orchestral musicians, teachers, or a combination of all three.
Faculty and guest conductors lead the orchestras in more than sixteen concerts each season including the Symphony Orchestra’s two performances in Boston’s Symphony Hall, during which the Symphonic Chorus also appears. The orchestra also presents a Concerto Concert featuring student soloists and a student composition. Readings and recordings of student compositions take place twice each year.
The Symphony Orchestra regularly rehearses MWF, 11:30-1:45.
The Chamber Orchestra regularly rehearses MWF, 11:30-1:45.
Calendars and Seating Assignments
The Wind Ensemble is the premiere music major band in the School of Music. Under the baton of Professor David Martins, the Wind Ensemble is designed to prepare wind, brass, and percussion players for the professional careers in ensemble performance. It also provides future music educators with institute standard teaching concepts and methods related to the study of band repertoire and performance. Prof. Martins demonstrates standard rehearsal techniques and requires an outstanding level of performance.
Wind Ensemble challenges students through both standard repertoire as well as new music written for symphonic bands. The Wind Ensemble seasons includes six performances, including a collaborative performance with the University Wide Band and Jazz Ensembles.
Membership in the Wind Ensemble is determined by auditions held in conjunction with the School of Music in September. Extremely talented non-music majors who have already spent at least one year at Boston University may audition for this group. If interested, please contact the Ensembles Manager.
The Wind Ensemble regularly rehearses TR, 3:40-6:10.
Calendars and Seating Assignments
The Boston University choral program offers opportunities to all members of the University community. There’s a place for all interested singers, and auditions are used to match them with the right ensembles: The Symphonic Chorus, the Boston University Singers, and the Graduate Vocal Ensemble. Membership in the BU choruses is open to students regardless of major or college and all are available for academic credit. Each ensemble has a number of performances each year in a variety of venues both on and off campus. The repertoire varies for each ensemble, pulling from centuries of music for chorus.
The Boston University Symphonic Chorus is our premier choir for the Boston University community. The Symphonic Chorus is an auditioned ensemble open to all university students, faculty, staff, and friends. Most concerts take place in Symphony Hall, the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. BU Symphony Hall concerts are also broadcast live online. Rehearsals are held in the CFA Concert Hall at 855 Commonwealth Avenue on Wednesday evenings, 7–10p. Auditions to determine vocal range are generally held at the first and second rehearsals of each semester. Recent seasons have included Fauré’s Requiem, Stravinsky’s Perséphone, Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Choral.
The Boston University Singers are primarily undergraduate vocal majors from the School of Music, although experienced singers from across the University community are also welcome to audition. The BU Singers perform both in the CFA Concert Hall and BU’s beautiful Marsh Chapel. The repertoire that they study and perform is designed to broaden the historical and musical knowledge of its members in conjunction with participation in Symphonic Chorus.
The Graduate Vocal Ensemble is an auditioned, professional-style chamber chorus comprised of advanced singers. The ensemble aims to perform fine repertoire at the highest level and is led by the CFA’s graduate conducting students.
Opera Institute Resources
OPERA THEATRE (MU 655)
Designed for graduate singers who demonstrate operatic potential and have mastered an intermediate integration of acting, vocal, and movement skills. Coursework includes acting, music and dramatic coaching of scenes and arias, movement classes, diction, scenes participation audition preparation, and master classes. All students enrolled in Opera Theatre will be considered for casting in principal roles when appropriate and in consultation with the student’s applied teacher. All students in Opera Theatre will also participate in the mainstage production ensembles. Other performance opportunities may include scenes programs or one act operas. Admission by audition.
OPERA WORKSHOP (MU 651)
Undergraduate (juniors and seniors) singers are selected who demonstrate operatic potential, have mastered a beginning level of acting and vocal skill, and who need experience, integration, and refinement. Coursework includes acting, music and dramatic coaching, movement, stage and audition techniques and master classes. The class culminates in performance of opera scenes or one act operas. Students may be eligible for secondary roles when appropriate and in consultation with the student’s applied teacher. Students in Opera Workshop will participate in mainstage production ensembles. Admission by audition.
OPERA PROJECT (MU 395)
Designed to provide a basic understanding for undergraduate singers (freshmen and sophomores) of how to prepare and perform appropriate selections from the operatic repertoire, with a dual focus on stagecraft and musical preparation. Class performance projects include recitative, staged operatic arias and opera scenes. Students in the class will be considered for ensemble participation in the mainstage productions. Admission by audition.