The University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra is the premiere ensemble in the School of Music Orchestra Division. Comprised of nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate students, the orchestra has a long and distinguished history of excellence under the leadership of Donald Schleicher, and previously by Bernard Goodman and Paul Vermel. The ensembles’ repertoire spans over five centuries of music including the standard symphonic literature, seldom-heard rarities, and cutting edge contemporary works. The University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra performs eight concerts each year, including collaborations with various choral ensembles, soloists, and the School of Music Opera Program. Recent performances have included the collegiate-premiere of pieces by Steven Stucky, Anna Clyne, Joan Tower, and Andrew Norman. The orchestra has represented the University of Illinois and the School of Music at several state and national conventions, A Tribute to Jerry Hadley, and most recently gave a performance in Chicago’s Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center in 2006. In addition, each spring the orchestra hosts a concerto competition as well as a composition competition for students in the School of Music. Graduates of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra have gone on to become distinguished music educators at every level and currently hold positions in several of the countries’ leading symphony orchestras.
The University of Illinois School of Music’s Orchestra Division provides exceptional training for the student who wishes to pursue an orchestral career. Music majors and non-music majors have opportunities to audition for the three orchestras on campus, where a varied diet of standard and contemporary symphonic, operatic, and chamber orchestral repertoire is experienced. As a bonus, the orchestras perform in a world-class concert hall located in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on campus. In addition, degrees are offered at the graduate level, resulting in a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting. In all aspects of the orchestral education, our conductors aspire to provide the student with the most professional experience and to inspire leadership from within.