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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 held - virtually - on August 24 & 25, 1PM-4PM. You must secure your audition time in advance by signing up onlinehere.

Auditions will consist of a 3-5 minute solo or solo excerpt of the individual's choice. In addition, students should be prepared to play the following major scales in 3 octaves: CM, GM, DM, AM, EM, BM, FM, BbM, EbM, AbM, and the following minor scales (natural, harmonic, and melodic) in 2-3 octaves: a minor, e minor, b minor, f# minor, d minor, g minor, and c minor. Dr. Waddell will select one major and one minor scale for each student to perform at their audition.

Selections from movements of a major concerto or a sonata would be appropriate choices.

For Fall 2020, and possibly Spring 2021, acceptance into URCO does not guarantee live music making. The ability to create live music experiences this semester (possibly academic year) will be dependent on COVID-19 regulations and government mandates.

Rehearsals are held Mondays from 4:50 to 6 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 4:50-7 p.m. in Strong Auditorium. [Note- venue may be altered for Fall 2020]

In lieu of our traditional Concerto Competition, this year the University of Rochester Orchestras will be launching an exciting new program – our {Virtual} Masterclass Series.

  blarp!Selected students will participate in livestreamed coachings with performing musicians from around the country. These masterclasses will take place on select Saturday mornings through the fall and spring semesters. Each 1.5-2 hour masterclass will be Livestreamed and opened to anyone to view.  For more information and to apply, please click here.


Concerto Competition Winner Spring 2015