Appalachian State University Orchestral Studies

Appalachian State University is home to several orchestral ensembles that provide opportunities for students of all majors to perform orchestral repertoire on string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.

For information regarding any of the orchestras, contact the Director of Orchestral Activities, Dr. Alexandra Dee (deeao@appstate.edu).

Appalachian Symphony Orchestra

The Appalachian Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is the cornerstone orchestral ensemble at the Hayes School of Music and is conducted by Dr. Alexandra Dee. Students in the ensemble give compelling, vital performances of orchestral repertoire of the highest caliber, stretching from the baroque to today's living composers. The ASO has performed at the College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference and the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference. 

Orchestra members are drawn from the entire Appalachian community, including music majors, non-majors, and dedicated community members. 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. Students enrolled in Symphony Orchestra receive one hour of academic credit by registering for MUS 1105. Community members should register through the Community Music School.

Auditions take place the weekend before classes begin each semester and are required for all ASO members. Complete audition information and required materials can be found on the Ensemble Audition page.

Rehearsals occur on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30pm to 5:30pm in Spencer Rehearsal Hall (119) of the Broyhill Music Center.

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.

Like us on Facebook!

Appalachian Community Orchestra

The Appalachian Community Orchestra (ACO) is comprised primarily of non-music majors, community members, and music majors performing on secondary instruments. Conducted by Dr. Alexandra Dee, the ACO offers continued performance opportunities for those who wish to keep music in their lives as a recreational and aesthetic activity. Enrollment is open to all Appalachian students and community members (age 12+) who can read music and have at least 2 years’ experience playing an orchestral instrument (string, woodwind, brass, percussion).

No audition is required. Appalachian students should enroll in MUS 1139 for one academic credit. Community members should register through the Community Music School.

Rehearsals occur on Thursdays from 6:15-7:30pm in Spencer Rehearsal Hall (119) of the Broyhill Music Center. The ACO performs one concert per semester.

Appalachian Opera Orchestra

Drawn from the ASO, the Appalachian Opera Orchestra (AOO) collaborates with the Appalachian Opera Theater on a major production every year. Recent 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
  • The Tender Land, Aaron Copland, 2022
  • Dido and Aeneas, Henry Purcell, 2023
  • A Little Night Music, Stephen Sondheim, 2024

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.