THE OXFORD CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (OCO) is a unique ensemble as it combines members of the performance faculty
performing side-by-side with the most advanced students in the Miami University Music Department.
Founded in 1998 by José Luis Novo out of a collaboration between music faculty and select students, the stated goal of the ensemble
is "to provide real-life performance situations for students with the sort of musical interaction with their teachers that cannot
be duplicated in the studio setting." The ensemble thus gives the students the opportunity of working in a professional level
orchestra, having to prepare challenging repertoire with very few concentrated rehearsals, and paying attention to details of style,
accuracy and artistry.
Following Novo, Jaime Morales-Matos led the OCO in 2001. In the fall of 2002, Ricardo Averbach was appointed as conductor of the Miami
University Symphony Orchestra and the OCO, a position that he holds to this day.
The number of musicians varies according to the needs of each particular program. This gives the ensemble the flexibility to perform a
wide range of repertoire from different epochs by composers of all nationalities, ranging from Mozart to Mahler and Artie Shaw.
The Oxford Chamber Orchestra has benefited from collaborations with renowned guest artists. In October 2000, many of the university
ensembles presented a millennium concert of award-winning composer Michael Colgrass's music. In this concert, the Oxford Chamber
Orchestra premiered Colgrass's commissioned work, Ghosts of Pangea. Earlier that year, the Chamber Orchestra accompanied
clarinet virtuoso Richard Stoltzman, who performed the Clarinet Concerto by
Mozart. In 2002, Yoon Lee, conductor of the Salzburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted the
ensemble in its spring semester concert. In the Fall of 2004 Ricardo Averbach conducted an acclaimed joint concert featuring the Oxford
Chamber Orchestra and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra.
Since 2009 the Oxford Chamber Orchestra was modified and started to perform the yearly opera production at Miami during the fall semester,
with the exclusive participation of students. In the spring semester the Oxford Chamber Orchestra continues to function according to its
original conception, combining faculty members playing side-by-side with the most advanced students.
The Oxford Chamber Orchestra is committed to innovative programming, especially works that are interdisciplinary, according to the mission
of the School of Fine Arts.
In 2010 the Oxford Chamber Orchestra won the 2nd place (first runner-up) for the American Prize in the category of university
orchestras. Both the Miami University Symphony Orchestra and the Oxford Chamber Orchestra were among the eight finalists for the prize.
Today, the Oxford Chamber Orchestra is the ensemble of the Opera Program at Miami University, allowing instrumental students to gain experience in this unique artform.