About the ISU Orchestra Program


ISU Chamber Orchestra

Rehearsals: TBD

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, 
Music Hall Room 140, Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall

The Iowa State University Symphony Orchestra is a premiere ensemble of the Department of Music and Theatre, presenting approximately seven concerts annually at venues including the internationally acclaimed Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall, Stephens Auditorium, and Fisher Theater. These programs survey symphonic, opera, and choral-orchestra repertory, in collaboration with the Theatre and Choral divisions.

The ensemble is drawn entirely from the student body of Iowa State, and proudly includes representation from across the colleges of the University. The approximately 80 players that make up its membership include engineers, biologists, meteorologists, design majors, in addition to a robust number of music majors. Former members of the University Symphony Orchestra are now performers and teachers in the finest orchestras and schools across the country.

The University Symphony Orchestra provides students with the opportunity to explore diverse orchestral repertory within a supportive and adventurous learning community. Admission to the ensemble is by audition, and open to students enrolled at Iowa State University regardless of major or year in school. The orchestra boasts an annual concerto competition, young people’s concerts and holiday/pops evenings in addition to standard symphonic concerts.

The Iowa State campus has hosted some of the world’s greatest musical artists including 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 through concerts by leading artists of the world continues today thanks to 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.