About the ISU Orchestra Program


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ISU Chamber Orchestra

Rehearsals: Monday 7:00-9:00 pm

The Iowa State Chamber Orchestra is Iowa State's most select orchestral ensemble and is made up of some of the best instrumental musicians on Iowa State campus. Membership is drawn from the ISU Symphony, and students must be enrolled in ISU Symphony in order to participate in the ISU Chamber Orchestra. Admission to Iowa State Chamber Orchestra is by audition, and is open to students enrolled at Iowa State University regardless of major or year in school.


The ISU Chamber Orchestra focuses on advanced Baroque, Classical, and Contemporary repertoire written for chamber orchestras. The Iowa State University Chamber Orchestra presents approximately two concerts on the ISU campus each year in the internationally acclaimed Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall. Additionally, the ISU Chamber Orchestra gives repeat performances at schools across the state of Iowa. Every three years, this ensemble serves as the pit orchestra for ISU Opera productions.


ISU Symphony Orchestra

Rehearsals: Tuesday and Thursday 4:10-6:00 pm

The Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra presents approximately seven concerts on the ISU campus each year in the internationally acclaimed Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall and the C. Y. Stephens Auditorium.

The personnel of the approximately 80 piece full orchestra, which is an all-student ensemble, are chosen from the entire ISU student body. The majority of the musicians are music majors and scholarship recipients. Former members of the University Symphony Orchestra are now performers and teachers in the finest orchestras and schools across the country.

The ISU Symphony Orchestra provides students the opportunity to perform the greatest orchestral repertoire in a positive environment while constantly striving for the highest standards of excellence in performance. Admission to Iowa State Symphony Orchestra is by audition, and is open to students enrolled at Iowa State University regardless of major or year in school. Every year, outstanding student soloists, chosen through a rigorous competition on campus, are presented in the Concert of Soloists each March.

The Iowa State campus has been host to some of the world’s greatest musical artists including such names as Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Fritz Kreisler, Pablo Casals, Mischa Elmann, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, and Maud Powell as well as world-renowned symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and London Symphony Orchestras.

The tradition of enhancing the life of the university community with concerts by leading artists of the world continues today through the efforts of the ISU Performing Arts Council, Ames International Orchestra Festival, Alvin Edgar Fund for the Performing Arts, and the special attractions sponsored by the Iowa State Center.


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Have questions? Contact:

Dr. Jacob Harrison
Director of Orchestral Activities
jgharris@iastate.edu | 515.294.3978

109 Music Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011