Appalachian State University Orchestral Studies

The Appalachian Symphony Orchestra Program includes the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra and the Appalachian Opera Orchestra. Dr. Mélisse Brunet (brunetm@appstate.edu) is the conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities.

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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 spring semester every year.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When are auditions?
Next string auditions will be heldin August 2018

2. Where are auditions?
String auditions will be held in the string faculty studios

3. What do I play?
For specific audition repertoire, contact Dr. Nancy Bargerstock (violin); Dr. Eric Koontz (viola); Dr. Ellie Wee (cello); Mr. Adam Booker (double bass).

4. How do I sign up?
Please contact the specific string professor of your instrument (violin, viola, cello or double bass) for specific audition time and sign-up sheet.

5. Who's required to audition?
All string majors must audition, and all will form part of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra with Maestra Brunet.

6. How seriously should I take these auditions?
A poor performance at your audition may have a negative impact on your final grade. Music Majors who do not audition will immediately receive a large deduction from their final grade unless there is some extenuating circumstance that needs to be taken into consideration.

7. Do I have to dress up?
As the ASO and college in general are pre-professional experiences, you should dress comfortably yet professionally.

8. Who can participate?
All ASU 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 off-campus tours, scholarship benefit concerts and 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. I have suggested recordings on the audition page, but any recording by a major professional orchestra will be a great resource. 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 on 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. The first thing that most audition committees listen for 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 10 minutes before your audition. This will give you a chance to warm up slowly and thoughtfully and help keep auditions running on time.



To listen to performances by our orchestras, follow the links below: