Orchestras: Making Magic, Changing Lives, Forging Opportunity

Appalachian State University Orchestral Studies

The Appalachian Symphony Orchestra performs symphony repertoire and lyrical repertoire as the Appalachian Opera Orchestra.

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Appalachian Symphony Orchestra

The Appalachian Symphony Orchestra is the cornerstone orchestral ensemble at the Hayes School of Music and is led by our mission statement: Making Magic, Changing Lives, Forging Opportunity. Students in the ensemble give compelling, vital performances of repertoire that stretches from the baroque to today's living composers. We believe in the fundamental principle that making music is a social, essentially human endeavor. Our performances and rehearsal process are notable for combining generosity of spirit and irrepressible enthusiasm with intellectual curiosity, contemplation and global awareness.

Orchestra members are drawn from the entire Appalachian community, including music majors, non-majors and dedicated community members. The goal of our work is to keep music a vital part of the lives of every member of the orchestra into perpetuity. We do this by giving our members the inspiration and tools to continue playing after their time at Appalachian in whatever venue they choose. The orchestra also serves as an opportunity for interested students to gain skills in entrepreneurship, project management, marketing and administration through the ASO Orchestra Council, which takes the lead on all of the ASO's large projects. Deeply aware of the responsibility to share the beauty and joy of music with our community, the ASO regularly engages in runout concerts across the state, performing side-by-side concerts with high school students and providing coaching and inspiration to new generations of musicians. Please contact us if you would like to discuss a collaboration between the ASO and your organization.

The ASO rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30pm to 5:30pm in Spencer Rehearsal Hall (119) of the Broyhill Music Center. Students enrolled in Symphony Orchestra receive one hour of academic credit by registering for MUS 1105. Non-majors and community members who wish to perform with the ASO must agree to participate in all ASO activities, including off-campus tours, scholarship benefit concerts and other ASO events, as required.

Appalachian Opera Orchestra

The Appalachian Opera Orchestra (AOO) collaborates with the Appalachian Opera Theater on a major production during the fall semester every year. Our productions include: 

  • Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, 2017
  • Sweeney Todd, Stephen Sondheim, 2018
  • The Old Maid and the Thief, Gian Carlo Menotti, 2018
  • Trouble in Tahiti, Leonard Bernstein, 2018
  • Die Fledermaus, Johann Strauss II, 2019

John Williams, 11/24/19

Scythian, 2/25/18

Scythian, 2/25/18

French Touch, 10/01/17

Danzon, 11/18/16

Graduate Studies in Orchestral Conducting

The Master of Music degree in Performance provides a comprehensive education in music as an expression of artistic talent with a thorough knowledge of pedagogy and applied literature. The degree offers the student performer the opportunity to develop high levels of musicianship and instill a lifelong desire to participate creatively as a dedicated artist, performer, scholar, and teacher.

Please visit our MM Performance page for more information about the program and audition process.

Frequently Asked Questions: ASO Auditions

1. When are auditions?

Auditions are held during or shortly before the first week of class for the semester.

2. Where are auditions?
All auditions will be blind.

String auditions will be held in the string faculty studios. 

All wind instruments and percussion auditions will be held in 119, 214, Rosen Concert Hall, and the Recital Hall. 

3. What do I play?
For specific audition repertoire contact the following teachers:

Please visit the audition page for more information.

4. How do I sign up?
Please contact the specific applied professor of your instrument for specific audition time and sign-up sheet.

5. Who is required to audition?
Everyone wanting to be in ASO must audition. 

6. How seriously should I take these auditions?

Music Majors who do not audition cannot take part in ASO. 

For string players, the quality of your audition will decide on your sitting in the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra. 

For all wind and percussion players, the quality of your audition will decide on which ensemble you end up playing in and your sitting in each ensemble. 

7. Who can participate?

All App State students regardless of major and members of the Boone community may participate in the ASO. The ASO has a very demanding schedule and non-majors and community members who wish to perform with the ASO must agree to participate in all ASO activities including the following:

  • off-campus tours 
  • scholarship benefit concerts
  • other ASO events, as required

 Please consider this when you fill out the ensemble preference portion of your ensemble information sheet. Missing dress rehearsals or performances will result in immediate failure or dismissal from the ASO.

9. Any tips for a successful audition?

Glad you asked!

A. Before you start learning the music listen to a recording, with the full score, if possible. imslp.org has full scores in the public domain available for all of the works on the list. If you come in playing the music at a tempo wildly at variance with the composer's markings or without a sense of the composer's distinctive style the committee will know that you haven't done this very important piece of homework. You may want to actually play along with several recordings to get an even better sense of where you are in your preparation.

B. Start learning your excerpts as early as you can. There are usually at least four weeks of time in between the announcement of audition repertoire and the audition itself, plenty of time to learn the list.

C. Use a metronome throughout your preparation process. One of the most important aspects of a successful audition is rhythm.

D. Don't play with the intent of simply avoiding mistakes. We want to get a sense of who you are as a musician, and playing it safe will not reveal your inherent ability to us.

E. Arrive early to the BMC on audition day and to the actual audition room at least 10 minutes before your audition. This will give you a chance to warm up slowly and thoughtfully and help keep auditions running on time.

F. Auditions are blind, meaning that the committee will be behind a screen. You are not allowed to talk and if you have a question, please ask the monitor as softly as possible and they will ask the question for you. Please make sure to not wear shoes that would identify your gender. If the committee asks you to replay some places, please do not answer. 

Recent Performances