University Symphony Orchestra
Course Number: Music 141
The University Symphony is offered every semester, every year. See the class schedule for more information.
Rehearsal: Tuesday & Thursday, 7:30-10:00pm, Hertz Hall
Description and History
Established in 1923, the University Symphony Orchestra is the oldest performing arts ensemble in the University of California system. Throughout its long history, the orchestra has provided students and other members of the campus community with the opportunity to expand their musical talents, while at the same time presenting outstanding musical programs to the campus and wider Bay Area communities. Past conductors have included Modeste Alloo, Albert Elkus, Joaquin Nin-Culmell, Michael Senturia, and Jung Ho-Pak. David Milnes, who is also Music Director for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, has served as the University Symphony Orchestra's Music Director since 1996. Rehearsing and performing works of faculty and graduate student composers has long been a core mission for the orchestra; the Symphony's program regularly feature the world premiere of a major new work by a Berkeley composer. In addition, the orchestra has premiered several works of established composers. The University Symphony Orchestra now performs several evening and noon concerts each semester, supports a chamber orchestra, and continues during the summer months as the UC Berkeley Summer Symphony (link). An annual concerto competition (link) results in concerto performances by the orchestra's leading soloists, and regular coaching for each section are given by a number of Bay Area professional musicians.
University Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund
The University Symphony Orchestra proudly announces the creation of a new endowment fund, which has been established with a generous gift from an anonymous donor. Your contribution to the fund will enable the professional development of our student musicians, many of whom go on to careers in music, as well as allowing the orchestra to expand its ongoing educational programs, including the orchestra's chamber music program, long range planning for touring, and assistance in acquiring new musical instruments. Please help support our continuing educational mission.
The orchestra draws its members from the very best musicians in the campus community. Under the leadership of acclaimed Music Director David Milnes, the orchestra performs 15-18 concerts each year, with programs including symphonic repertoire from Bach through the present. Major symphonic cycles by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Shostakovich, Sibelius and Prokofiev have been offered each season, as well as several world premieres by leading composers. An annual concerto competition highlights the amazing soloistic talent from among the orchestra's ranks, and members of the orchestra are organized into small chamber groups, performing regularly on the Noon Concert Series as well as all around the campus community.
The symphony is open to non-enrolled students and community members, as well as enrolled students, but everyone must audition. Regular attendance at twice weekly rehearsals, and participation in public performances is required. The Symphony performs in Hertz Hall at one noon concert and 4-6 evening concerts per semester, as well as Cal Day each year.
Auditions take place each semester shortly before classes begin. For further information, please contact current Music Director and Conductor, David Milnes, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday & Saturday, February 15 & 16, 8pm, Hertz Hall
Bartòk: Concerto for Orchestra
Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5
Friday & Saturday, March 15 & 16, 8pm, Hertz Hall
Reynold Tharp: Wide sea, changeful heaven
Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8
Wednesday, March 20, 12:15pm, Hertz Hall
Masterpieces of the orchestral repertoire (program to be determined, check online for updates)
Friday & Saturday, May 10 & 11, 8pm, Hertz Hall
With members of the University Chorus, Marika Kuzma, director
Ernest Bloch: Schelomo with Mosa Tsay, cello soloist
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (“Choral”)
For more information, see our events calendar