orchestra performance
Welcome to CU Orchestras!

Welcome to CU Orchestras! We offer a range of repertoire for all levels of musicians at the University of Colorado Boulder. Below, read more about our ensemble offerings.


CU Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra

The University Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra perform a wide variety of symphonic repertoire. The past two years have included standard works by Berlioz, R. Strauss, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Copland, Beethoven, Ravel, Bernstein, Barber, Brahms, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Sibelius, Debussy, Prokofiev, Mozart and Haydn as well as world premieres by Carter Pann and the US premiere of a work by Finnish composer Juhani Nuorvala.

The CU Orchestras are committed to the regular and sustained performance of works by underrepresented composers, including women and people of color. Recent performances include works by Anna Clyne, Roshanne Etezady, Fanny Mendelssohn and Lily Boulenger. Going forward, we are committed to the regular performance of works by BIPOC composers including the performance of a work on each program of the 2021-22 season.

The Symphony Orchestra has appeared with such artists as cellist Johannes Moser, pianist Jeremy Denk, jazz pianist and Academy Award-winning composer Dave Grusin. In addition, the orchestra has also recently appeared with pop artist Natalie Merchant and their live recording with the Indigo Girls was released in 2018. The orchestra enjoys a regular collaboration with the principal musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra during a biennial residency on the CU Boulder campus. Solo appearances with the orchestra are awarded to students as a result of the annual Honors Competition.

Campus Orchestra

The Campus Orchestra is an ensemble comprised primarily of non-music majors which delivers one concert performance each semester. The ensemble performs a wide-ranging repertoire from baroque through contemporary periods in both string and full-orchestra settings and rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 8:50 p.m.-10 p.m. in rooms E-160 and S-134 in Imig Music Building. There is no formal audition required for admission into this ensemble. String instrument musicians of any major interested in participating should register for the course and attend the first meeting of the ensemble, Wednesday, Aug. 26, at 8:50 p.m. in room S-134 in the College of Music. Given COVID-19 restrictions, more information about the first meeting will be posted as the date nears. In order to aid with placement within the ensemble, or to be considered for a leadership position, a short audition may be requested. More information about this will be presented at the first meeting. Any questions should be directed to: campusorchestra@colorado.edu.

University of Colorado Boulder Orchestras Mission Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The mission of the University of Colorado Boulder Orchestras commits its members to a shared belief that our collective work as musicians should be guided by an unwavering affirmation of diversity; a staunch desire to foster for all people, without exception, a sense that they belong; and the knowledge that social justice never exists if it does not exist for all people, especially those who are and have historically been marginalized, frequently by violent means. We recognize and embrace the notion that the inherently collaborative nature of our art is important to the development of empathy and inclusion. However, throughout its long history, our art has not adequately included women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color). The CU Orchestras are committed to amplifying the voices of, and creating an encouraging environment for, musicians, composers and scholars of these historically marginalized groups and for every person who seeks to collaborate genuinely and to grow artistically.

CU Orchestras 2020-21 Performance Dates

Fall 2020

No public performances will be presented in Fall 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Repertoire projects will occur throughout the semester with periodic “performances” video recorded during regular class meetings. It is unclear at this time in what form the opera “performance” will happen. It is possible an evening recording session will be held. That schedule should be available at the beginning of the term.

Spring 2021

Symphony Orchestra
Monday, February 8 - Dress Rehearsal, 7-10p, Macky
Tuesday, February 9 - Performance, 7:30p, Macky

Philharmonia Orchestra
Sunday, February 7 - Dress Rehearsal, 7:30-10p, Grusin
Wednesday, February 10 - Performance, 7:30p, Grusin

Opera Orchestra
March 7-14 - Production Week (evening rehearsals on March 7, 9, 10 with performances on the weekend, March 12-14)

Chamber Orchestra
Thursday, March 11 - Performance, 7:30p, Grusin

Philharmonia Orchestra
Monday, April 19 - Dress Rehearsal, 7:30-10p, Grusin
Thursday, April 22 - Performance, 7:30p, Grusin

Symphony Orchestra
Monday, April 26 - Dress Rehearsal, 7:00-10p, Macky
Tuesday, April 27 - Performance, 7:30p, Macky


Gary Lewis
Director of Orchestras

Joel Schut
Assistant Director of Orchestras

Mike Tetreault
Ensembles Percussion Instructor and Coordinator