The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Orchestral Ensembles

Ensembles are open to all UMass Amherst students (not just Music majors), subject to auditions held at the beginning of each semester.

All ensembles appear in concert on campus several times a year. Ensembles have also been selected to represent UMass Amherst at conventions and festivals that have included Symphony Hall in Springfield, MA; the Washington, D.C. home of the Marine Band; and the Capitol Building in Boston.

Spring 2023: For this semester, the strings placement audition requirement will be the same for both orchestras -- two short pieces in contrasting style lasting no more than 4 minutes total.

Who should audition? Strings: Only new members, lapsed former members (from Fall 2021 or earlier), and those wishing to move up from AUO to UMASO need to audition. Email Prof. Nakahara directly to set up an audition time sometime during the first week of classes.

For Woodwind, Brass and Percussion auditions, please see the Bands webpage. W/B/P players should audition for placement in Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, or Symphony Band.

Professor Morihiko Nakahara, is Director of Orchestral Activities. Please contact him with any questions about the UMass Orchestras.


Competition: Mon. Dec. 12, 2022 10am-6pm; Concert: Wed. April 12, 2023, 7:30pm
2022/23 Concerto Competition winners: Brian Carr, saxophone; Luca Kevorkian, violin & Zhen Tu, piano

Symphony Orchestra (MUSIC 565-01): Rehearsal Schedule: MWF 2:30-4:10, Rm. 44.
Spring 2023 Concerts: Sun. Feb. 12, 3pm, Bowker (UMass Opera); Mon. March 6 @ 7:30pm, Bowker (with Jazz Ensemble I); Wed. April 12 @ 7:30, Tillis Hall; Sat. April 22 @ 7:30, Tillis Hall (Bach Mass in B Minor)

All-University Orchestra (MUSIC 593J-01): Rehearsal Schedule: Wed 5:30-7 p.m. Concert: Wed. Nov. 30, 6pm, Bezanson

General ensemble descriptions:

Morihiko Nakahara, Director of Orchestral Activities

Features the most advanced instrumentalists at the University. Admission is through competitive audition in the Fall or Spring. The Orchestra presents four annual concerts. Repertoire emphasizes canonic works for orchestra from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Students are required to practice in preparation for sectionals, rehearsals and performances. Members are annually featured at Multibands and occasionally at special events such as our recent Boston Symphony Hall performance for the University's 150th Anniversary celebration.
Concert Repertoire: Fall 2022, See above. Rehearsals are M,W,F 2:30-4:10, Rm. 44.

Morihiko Nakahara, Director of Orchestral Activities

Fall 2022: Wed. 5:30-7pm, starting Sept. 7.

This ensemble, presenting two concerts annually, provides all University members an opportunity to perform in a non-competitive atmosphere, and achieve success according to one's individual goals.
Fall 2022 concert: Wed. Nov. 30, 6pm


Elizabeth Chang, faculty coordinator & coach

Opus One is the primary string chamber ensemble at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As there is no conductor, we demonstrate the potential of a collaborative approach to music making.

In addition to two main concerts every season of select chamber works for string ensembles, Opus One is actively involved in various community efforts in the greater Massachusetts area, including our annual String Day event for musicians of all ages in the Pioneer Valley.

Click to listen to and watch Opus One on YouTube.  Facebook page
Fall 2022: Wed. Nov. 16, 2022, 7:30pm, Bezanson