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Chamber Orchestra


URCO Panorama

The University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra's (URCO) 40 student musicians present four free concerts each year in the University of Rochester's Henry Alvah Strong Auditorium on the River Campus. Led by Dr. Rachel Waddell, the orchestra also performs in satellite locations throughout the Rochester community and tours both in the United States and internationally.

During the spring of 1996, the all-student orchestra toured the island of Jamaica, performing and working with the Jamaica Orchestra for Youth and the Alpha Boys Band as well as giving a gala performance in Kingston's Ward Theatre. During July of 1997, the Chamber Orchestra toured the island of Grand Cayman, B.W.I. In Georgetown, they performed concerts and served as the core orchestra and teaching mentors for the first International Festival for Music Education. One of the performances from the festival was broadcast by Cayman Television. The Orchestra returned to Grand Cayman again in the summer of 1998. In May 1999, the Orchestra toured Italy. Pictures from the Chamber Orchestra's return trip to Grand Cayman in June 2000 are on the website. URCO toured in Montreal, Canada in May 2002, Cleveland, Ohio in May 2004, and Buffalo in 2006. In the winter of 2008, URCO traveled to Santiago, Chile to collaborate with youth orchestras in South America.

Performing music from the Baroque to the contemporary, the Chamber Orchestra showcases the versatility of the University's students. Membership is open to qualified University of Rochester students. To be considered for membership in URCO, a brief audition is required. Auditions take about 5-7 minutes and will be on on a day and time, to be determined, on or before the start of classes.  Check back periodically for updates. You must secure your audition time in advance by signing up onlinehere. Please prepare about three minutes of a solo which best displays your musicality and level of technical accomplishment. Selections from movements of a major concerto or a sonata would be appropriate choices. Sight-reading from the standard orchestra repertoire will be supplied as well. Audition results will either be e-mailed to you or be posted on the music department ensembles bulletin board within a day after auditions are completed. We look forward to hearing you!

Rehearsals are held Mondays from 4:50 to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 4:50-7 p.m. in Strong Auditorium.

River Campus Concerto Competition

[Please note that the 2020/2021 Competition has been canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions]

Students have the opportunity to compete to be a guest soloist in a public concerto performance with either the University of Rochester Symphony Orchestra or Chamber Orchestra.

Auditions for the annual River Campus Concerto Competition will take place in the Fall on a day and time to be determined. Any full or part-time UR River Campus student working toward a degree may audition (please see the application for details).

The winner will perform with the Symphony or Chamber Orchestra in a concert during the spring semester.

Concerto Competition Winner Spring 2015

The completed application must be emailed to Dr. Rachel Waddell, Director of Orchestral Activities Email is You can also see a PDF version of the Concerto Competition application.