A vibrant performing ensemble, the University Symphony Orchestra is made up of superior student musicians from throughout the university. The USO presents a minimum of two concerts per semester, covering a wide range of repertoire from Bach through the present day, including the great masterpieces of symphonic literature. Concerts take place in the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center on the University of Arkansas campus. Recent performances have included Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” Mussourgsky’s “Picture’s at an Exhibition,’ Shostakovitch’s Symphony No. 10, and a special performance of Bach and Beethoven at the Fulbright Exchange Anniversary with President Bill Clinton and the German Ambassador. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Mueller, the University Symphony Orchestra continues to thrive as one of the university’s premier ensembles.
In keeping with our commitment to a comprehensive orchestral experience for our music majors, the USO does collaborations with the UA Schola Cantorum and the UA Opera Theater. The annual Concerto-Aria competition is open to all music majors, and the winner is a featured soloist with the USO on one of its spring concerts.
Students do not need to be music majors to participate in orchestra. The USO welcomes students from all disciplines, who play an orchestral instrument, to audition. The USO gives approximately four concerts per year, as well as accompany the opera once per year.
Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal Schedule
- MWF 2:30-3:50
Symphony Orchestra is listed as MUEN 1431, 2431, 3431, 4431, 4631, 5431. Freshmen enroll in the 1000 level, sophomores in the 2000 level, etc.
All students who are registered for orchestra, or who would like to participate in orchestra, must play an audition for seating. If you are a new student, and you auditioned in the spring, please note that this audition is different from the audition that you had for admission and scholarship! Seating auditions will take place immediately before classes start and on the first day of classes.
Auditions will be held each year will be held on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the weekend before classes start. You should sign up for a time on one of these days. Make-up auditions will be scheduled on Monday, and audition results will be posted on Tuesday. The first full orchestra rehearsal will be held on Wednesday.
To sign up for an audition, go to the music building and sign up on the list that is posted on Dr. Mueller’s door, Room 238. Do not email Dr. Mueller asking for an audition time. If you can’t get there in person, have a friend sign you up.
There are four components to the audition.
- A 5-minute selection from the solo repertoire that represents your best playing.
- Two orchestra excerpts . These are available on the Eastern Music Festival website. Go to the website and select TWO contrasting excerpts for your instrument to prepare for the audition. Each instrument listed on the website has a choice of 4 or 5 from which to select. The web address is http://easternmusicfestival.org/study/requirements
You must come by Dr. Mueller’s office (MB 238) in person any time after August 15th to sign up for an audition time. Please do not email Dr. Mueller to request a particular time.
Students who are interesting in joining orchestra in the spring semester only should email Dr. Mueller in November to set up an audition time for spring seating.
Orchestra dress for concerts:
Men: black tuxedo with white shirt and black bow tie, black socks and shoes. No tennis shoes.
Women: long black dress or long black skirt or NICE dressy black pants with black dressy blouse. Sleeves must be ¾ length. No spaghetti straps, strapless, or short sleeves. Black hose/socks and black shoes. No tennis shoes.