NOTE: We are happy to announce the return of our annual Concerto Competition. Click here for details.
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. Mark Powell, 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.
Rehearsals are held Mondays from 4:50 to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 4:50-7 p.m. in Strong Auditorium.
Auditioning for Orchestras
Auditions for the 2023-24 school year (new members as well as for concertmaster and principals) will take place in-person Tuesday, August 29 and Wednesday, August 30 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST. Please note, percussion auditions will only be on Wednesday, August 30.
Each audition is 10 minutes long. Please select a ten-minute slot online (percussionists, please choose from a time on Wednesday August 30 only).
For for new members, you’ll be asked to perform two (2) pieces of repertoire of your choice, showing a contrast in both musical style and technical ability. There will also be a small sightreading excerpt.
For concertmaster or section principal auditions (whether you are a new or returning player), please download the relevant audition packet found here.