2019 Auditions for Music Ensembles

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Professionally-Led Orchestras

Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra*

AUDITIONS: Please prepare two contrasting pieces on your instrument, for a total of 10-12 minutes of music.; no scales or sight-reading. Auditions held in Paine Hall. Sign up here. More information at the HRO here.

Auditions will take place August 30-September 1 in Paine Hall.

*Eligible for Harvard College credit.

Harvard University Band / Harvard Wind Ensemble / Harvard Jazz Bands

AUDITIONS: Sign up for a 10-minute audition on our website, or call (617) 496-BAND to set up a time that works for you.

Sunday, September 1, 12-5pm, Harvard University Band only
Saturday, September 7, 10am-6pm, Harvard University Band, Harvard Wind Ensemble, and Harvard Jazz Bands
Sunday, September 8, 12-5pm, Harvard University Band, Harvard Wind Ensemble, and Harvard Jazz Bands
Sunday, September 8, 5-6pm, Jazz Rhythm Section only

Harvard University Marching Band: play a major scale and sightread one of our fight songs.
Wind Ensemble: prepare a short piece of your choice. 
Jazz Band: sight read a Big Band chart, play a prepared piece of your choice, and improvise over a recorded blues rhythm section. *NOTE: If you are auditioning for the Jazz Band Rhythm section, please plan to audition between 5-6 pm on Sunday September 9. If you cannot make this time, contact Director of Jazz Ensembles Yosvany Terry at yosvanyterry@fas.harvard.edu.

Any questions? Are you a grad student interested in playing? Contact Director Mark Olson at meolson@fas.

The Harvard Combo Initiative

This is an exciting new program that provides jazz students with opportunities for students to participate in jazz combos.Students interested in participating (must be Harvard undergraduates) will be placed in a combo of other students with similar musical skills. Students may also form their own combo, but they may be a member of only one combo in this program. Each combo will have rehearsals throughout the semester and a performance at the end of the semester. The combos will be formed and coached by Jazz Artist Don Braden '85. All rehearsals, both professionally directed and individually, will take place at Leverett House.

AUDITIONS: Interested students should submit a recording of themselves playing two tunes: 1) any jazz standard (such as Autumn Leaves, Summertime, etc.) and 2) any jazz blues (such as Now's the Time, Sonnymoon For Two, etc.) The recording should include the melody and some improvisation (at any level), and can be acapella, with a live group, or a Play-a-long track of any type. For more information please visit ofa.fas.harvard.edu/jazz-harvard-combo-initiative. For any questions please contact Jensen Ling jzling@fas.harvard.edu or Don Braden don@donbraden.com.

The Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra

Travel back in time with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra – a group dedicated to bringing back to life the vivid rhetoric and dancing rhythms of baroque music. Harvard Baroque is led from within by renowned baroque cellist Phoebe Carrai and violinist Sarah Darling ’02. We rehearse once a week, playing on the instruments and bows from Harvard’s Early Instrument Collection. Harvard Baroque performs two concerts of orchestral music annually, plus evenings of chamber music. No prior experience with early instruments is necessary, only a love of music and a willingness to play well with others while experimenting with new sounds! 

AUDITIONS: Held in Memorial Church on Sunday, September 1 from 3-9pm. For more information, contact harvardbaroque@gmail.com. Plan to come with a baroque work, about 5 minutes in length. Then we will put an early instrument in your hands and play a piece of chamber music with you for the rest of the audition. 

The Harvard Pops Orchestra

AUDITIONS held in the basement of Lowell Lecture Hall.

Tuesday, September 3, 7:30-9pm
Wednesday, September 4, 7:30-9pm
Thursday, September 5, 11:30am-4:30pm
Saturday, September 7, 10 am-2pm

Auditions are a simple ten-minute affair, consisting of a short solo of your choosing, sight reading, and joke telling. (The joke telling won't actually affect admission.) When it's all done, you get a lollipop. Sign up here. Questions: email harvardpops@gmail.com.

Professionally-Led Choruses

The Harvard Choruses*

OPEN REHEARSALS: Come rehearse with any of the three Harvard Choruses, and get a feel for our special brand of music making. All you need is a pencil and a voice.  Wednesday, September 4, 4:30-5:45 pm in Lowell Lecture Hall.

AUDITIONS: Held in the basement of Memorial Church in the Choir Room. No need to prepare anything or sign up in advance. Auditions take about 10 minutes. For more information, please email harvardchoruses@gmail.com or visit the Harvard Choruses’ website.

Tuesday, September 3, to Friday, September 6 from 5-8 PM
Audition schedule and process>

The Harvard University Choir (UChoir)

Hear the Choir 
Fellows Sunday, September 1, 11 am: Memorial Church (as part of Sunday Service).
Compline, Thursday, September 5, 9 pm:  Memorial Church Appleton Chapel. 

OPEN REHEARSAL: Thursday, September 5, 5–6 pm: Memorial Church Choir Room

TEA TIME: Learn more about UChoir Thursday, September 5, 4-5 pm in the Student Oasis of Memorial Church (basement level).

AUDITIONS: Prepare a short piece (a solo work if you have one, but a hymn tune or “Happy Birthday” will do as well) and be prepared to do some range testing and sightreading for the preliminary audition. There's no need to sign up for a time slot, just show up any time during preliminary auditions. Held in the Choir Room of The Memorial Church, across from Canaday F-entry. More information>

Tuesday, September 3, 2-4 pm
Wednesday, September 4, 2-4 pm
Thursday, September 5, 2-4 pm
Saturday, September 7, 2-4 pm

The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College

The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College is the oldest existing Black organization at Harvard College. Formed during a time of high political turmoil, the purpose of the Kuumba Singers is to express Black creativity and spirituality in order to create a safe space for Black students. In existence for 40 years, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, or simply Kuumba, has served the Boston community as well as the national community through songs in genres ranging from Negro spirituals to contemporary gospel. With concerts held during the both the winter and the spring of each year, along with many other performances and a spring tour, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College is committed to celebrating Black culture and providing a sense of unity and safety for its members. Through its music and performance, the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College strives to fulfill its mission of leaving a space better than it was found in the true meaning of kuumba. For more information, please email president@kuumbasingers.org or visit Kuumba's website.

Kuumba rehearses every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm to 10pm in the Penthouse of the Student Organization Center at Hilles (SOCH). We hold regular rehearsals during fall and spring semesters (early September – early December and late January – late April). No audition necessary.

First rehearsal: Tuesday, September 10, 7 pm in the SOCH Penthouse.


*Course Credit

Undergraduates are eligible to receive Harvard College credit in the following performance courses:

Music 10hfr. Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra
Music 14hfr. Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum
Music 15hfr. Harvard Glee Club
Music 16hfr. Radcliffe Choral Society
Music 18fr. Harvard Jazz Band

These courses may be taken repeatedly, but to receive credit the courses must be taken in the Fall and Spring semesters consecutively. A maximum of four semesters (two years) may be counted as credit towards the degree.

Student-Led Orchestras

Mozart Society Orchestra

The Harvard Mozart Society Orchestra (MSO) is a student-run orchestra that prides itself on its close musical community. Founded in 1984 and now under the batons of music directors Benjamin P. Wenzelberg ’21 and Ryan Zhang ’21, MSO fosters a relaxed and friendly environment while still remaining committed to musical quality. Our mission is to create a space for people to continue playing music without putting too much pressure on their busy schedules. We hold auditions both in the fall and spring, and we strongly encourage anyone and everyone of all levels to audition. Rehearsals are Tuesdays at 7 PM in Paine Hall. More info at mozartsocietyorchestra.com.

The Bach Society Orchestra

The Bach Society Orchestra, Harvard's premier undergraduate chamber orchestra, is devoted to the study and performance of works for smaller orchestras, from intimate chamber pieces to mid-sized symphonies, taken from a wide range of historical periods. Each season includes four performances throughout the year, often including student and professional collaborations with guest soloists or Harvard choral groups.

Popularly known as BachSoc, the Bach Society Orchestra is staffed, managed, and conducted entirely by students. Each year, the members of the orchestra select a student, always an undergraduate, to be their conductor for the following year. In turn, at the beginning of the new year the inaugurated conductor reauditions every member of the orchestra, ensuring that the quality of the orchestra remains high. BachSoc's rehearsals and concerts provide a refreshingly egalitarian ethos combined with the highest standards of musical performance


Auditions: Sign up for a time slot here. Auditions are very low-key and only require 5-7 minutes of solo repertoire on your instrument. Contrasting excerpts recommended but not required!


River Charles Ensemble

An ensemble with musicians from a diverse range of backgrounds, RCE is a resident orchestra of Paine Hall in the Harvard Music Department. The RCE is modeled after the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York and aims to perform at a high level by developing leadership and collaboration techniques amongst all musicians in the ensemble.

AUDITIONS: More information on the RCE websitee. Contact rce@hcs.harvard.edu with any questions.

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