MUSO honored with Outstanding Fine Arts/Performance Organization and Outstanding Multi-cultural Organization for the 2012-2013 Year MUSO at Carnegie Hall in 2012 MUSO Canoe Trip 2011 MUSO performs Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in 2006 MUSO Cello Section 2011
Conductor Averbach

Joining the Ensemble


THE MIAMI UNIVERSITY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (MUSO) is comprised mostly of music majors, but it also includes minors and non-majors. Most of the non-majors in the orchestra are string players. It is possible for a non-major wind/brass/percussion player to join the orchestra, but the person will be competing with music performance majors who are taking classes on a regular basis, including graduate students. Auditions, however, do take into account the level of proficiency of the student, and if a non-major performs better than a major, he/she will be selected. We also have some extra opportunities for non-majors when we play pieces that require a larger number of players, and this happens often.

Miami does not have an orchestra of non-music majors, therefore this is your only chance to be in an orchestra. Non-majors like to be in a group where they can keep up with their playing skills. The group is friendly and we do a lot of fun things outside of rehearsals (from bowling to parties, going to concerts of the Cincinnati Symphony, etc.) The level of the orchestra is high and non-music majors are expected to rise to the standards of the music majors.

Some freshmen tend to be particularly cautious about joining the orchestra. They don't know what to expect in terms of the academics in the new college environment and are afraid to over-commit. Therefore, they think they should wait during the first year, with the hope of auditioning later. This is a reasonable thought. The problem is that usually what happens is that these freshmen stop playing their instruments. They never audition for the orchestra and end up deeply regretting later that they stopped playing their instruments while in college. The orchestra experience in college is one of the most memorable ones for the rest of your lives.

If you are interested in performing in our group, it is crucial that you have space in your schedule for our regular rehearsals. At Miami, orchestra is considered a class for one credit that meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2:50PM-4:10PM. Some non-majors usually ask what happens if they have a class conflict with one of the rehearsal days, or if they have a partial conflict with the rehearsals (for example, if they have another class that starts at 3:30PM). The answer to that is simple: whoever has any kind of conflict should not participate in the orchestra that semester.


We have orchestra auditions both for the fall and spring semester. Every semester, everybody auditions again. Auditions for the fall semester happen during the first four days of classes. There is a different process for strings, winds/brass and percussion.


Audition material for strings. Audition material is posted in the Department of Music website during the summer (for Fall auditions) and winter term (for Spring auditions). Students are asked to video record their auditions and send them to the conductor (via YouTube, Google Drive, or email).

Audition material for woodwinds and brass. Auditions for the Fall semester happen during the first week of classes. Audition excerpts are posted in the Department of Music website and students sign up for audition slots over the Internet. Students audition simultaneously for the orchestra and wind ensemble and address their preferences during the audition. They are asked to perform scales in addition to the excerpts. Auditions for the Spring semester happen at the end of the Fall semester. Besides scales, students are asked to play pieces or excerpts of their choice, preferably contrasting.

Percussion players. Contact Professor Michael LaMattina at

Students sometimes want to know how difficult it is to get into the orchestra. If a string player had the technical proficiency to perform the symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms and Tchaikovsky, he/she has the level to perform in the orchestra. For the remaining instruments, the same is valid, however auditions are competitive and only the best players are able to join the orchestra. While we can have a variable number of strings, we usually have space for 3 of each woodwind instruments, 4 horns, 3 trumpets and trombones and 1 tuba. When we play bigger pieces - which happens often - other players can join and this is always very exciting for everybody.


The Oxford Chamber Orchestra evolved to a new ensemble that performs in the opera program every year.

Ricardo Averbach,
Director of Orchestral Studies