The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu

Orchestral Ensembles

Ensembles are open to all UMass Amherst students, 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.

Placement auditions for the UMass Symphony Orchestra and All-University Orchestra take place during the first week of classes, Jan. 21-24, 2020. For Woodwind, Brass and Percussion auditions, please see the Bands webpage. W/B/P players audition for placement in Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band and UMass Orchestra at one time.

For String players: Auditions are only necessary for new students or those wanting to switch from All-University Orchestra to the Symphony Orchestra. Please contact Prof. Nakahara for scheduling and materials.

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


The annual Competition will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 12-6pm in Bezanson Hall.  The winner(s) will perform on the April 21, 2020 concert. Please click for the Information/Entry Form.

Symphony Orchestra: Rehearsal Schedule: MWF 2:30-4:10, Rm. 44. First rehearsal Mon. 1/27/20
Spring 2020 Concerts: Wed, March 11 and Tues. April 21, 7:30pm, FAC Concert Hall
All-University Orchestra: Rehearsals Wednesdays 5:30-7pm, Rm. 36. First rehearsal Wed. 1/29/20.  Concert: Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:30pm, Bezanson Hall.

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: Spring 2020, To be announced. Concerts on March 11 and April 21.  Rehearsals are M,W,F 2:30-4:10, Rm. 44.

Morihiko Nakahara, Director of Orchestral Activities

Returning players: No audition needed. New players: email Prof. Nakahara ( to set up an audition time during the first week of classes. Audition music: bring two contrasting short pieces of your own choosing.

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.
Spring 2020 concert: Wed., April 8, 7:30pm, Bezanson Hall. Rehearsals are Wednesdays, 5:30-7pm, Rm. 36.


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
Spring 2020: Concert on Wed. March 4, 7:30pm, Bezanson.