Welcome to CU Orchestras!


Welcome to orchestras at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!

CU Boulder orchestras

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

CU Boulder orchestras are further committed to the regular and sustained performance of works by underrepresented composers including women and people of color. Recent performances include works by Joseph Bologne, Lili Boulanger, Anna Clyne, Roshanne Etezady, Fanny Mendelssohn, Jessie Montgomery, Derrick Spiva, Jr. and George Walker. During the 2021-’22 season, works by BIPOC composers were featured on each program including Clarice Assad, Joseph Bologne, Kevin Day, Philip Herbert, Florence Price, Carlos Simon and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. 

The CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra has appeared with such artists as cellist Johannes Moser, pianist Jeremy Denk, jazz pianist and Academy Award winning composer Dave Grusin. Additionally, the orchestra has also appeared with pop artist Natalie Merchant and their live recording with the Indigo Girls was released in 2018. The 2023-’24 season will feature special collaborations with indigenous musicians from Pueblo, Colorado, and with 10-time Grammy award-winning band, Asleep at the Wheel. The orchestra also welcome back the principal musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra for its biennial residency on the CU Boulder campus. Solo appearances with the CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra are awarded to students as a result of college’s annual Honors Competition. 

CU Boulder Campus Orchestra

The CU Boulder Campus Orchestra comprises primarily non-music majors who deliver one concert performance each semester. The ensemble performs a wide-ranging repertoire from Baroque through contemporary periods in both string and full-orchestra settings; rehearsals are Wednesday evenings, 7-9 p.m., in rooms E160 and S134 in our Imig Music Building. There is no formal audition required for admission into this ensemble. Questions? Contact Jacob Kaminski at jacob.kaminski@colorado.edu.

Mission statement on diversity, equity + inclusion

The mission of 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, not least people who have historically been and continue to be 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). CU Boulder 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.


Auditions for the fall 2023 semester are open to all CU Boulder students. 

Audition signups

Audition materials

Please note the following information regarding string audition materials:

All string musicians are responsible for 1) the excerpts below and 2) a short solo work or etude you feel best demonstrates your ability. Audition excerpts are available for download at the following links (along with the list of excerpts from each work):


Repertoire tentatively planned for the CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra this season includes:​

  • Rachmaninoff–Symphonic Dances
  • Brahms–Symphony No. 1
  • Amy Beach–Gaelic Symphony
  • Augusta Holmes–La Nuit et l’amour
  • Bartok–Concerto for Orchestra
  • Liszt–Totentanz
  • Richard Strauss–Brentano Lieder, Op. 68 
  • Special collaborations with Song of Pueblo, indigenous musicians from Pueblo, Colorado
  • Asleep at the Wheel, 10-time Grammy award-winning band​

CU Boulder orchestras spring ’24 rehearsal + performance dates

CU Boulder Philharmonia Orchestra
Feb. 11–Dress rehearsal, 7-10 p.m., Grusin Music Hall
Feb. 12–Concert, 7:30 p.m., Grusin Music Hall

CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra
Feb. 14–Dress rehearsal, 7-10 p.m., Macky Auditorium
Feb. 15–Concert, 7:30 p.m., Macky Auditorium

CU Boulder Chamber Orchestra
March 13–Dress rehearsal, 7-10 p.m., Grusin Music Hall
March 14–Concert, 7:30 p.m., Grusin Music Hall

CU Boulder Opera Orchestra
March 10-17–Production week (evening rehearsals on March 10, 12, 13 with performances on the weekend)

CU Boulder Philharmonia Orchestra
April 24–Dress rehearsal, 7-10 p.m., Grusin Music Hall
April 25–Concert, 7:30 p.m., Grusin Music Hall

CU Boulder Symphony Orchestra
April 29–Dress rehearsal, 7-10 p.m., Macky Auditorium
April 30–Concert, 7:30 p.m., Macky Auditorium