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The University of Warwick Symphony Orchestra (UWSO) provides students with the opportunity to perform large-scale orchestral works in each of its 3 end-of-term concerts. Despite not offering a music degree, the University plays host to a large number of keen musicians - Symphony Orchestra brings these musicians together, enabling them to collaborate and to form long-lasting friendships!
As a student-run society, UWSO benefits greatly from the support offered by the University of Warwick Music Centre (MC). We are currently conducted by the MC's Assistant Director, Lucy Griffiths. Members also receive support in rehearsals from other professionals including the University's String Quartet in Residence (The Coull Quartet). Additionally, discounted tuition is available for Symphony members at the Music Centre, as well as spare instruments (which can be borrowed for rehearsals) and instrument storage.
Our weekly rehearsals are held on Tuesdays from 7:00pm–9:30pm in either the Helen Martin Studio or the Butterworth Hall (both located in the Warwick Arts Centre). This is followed by a trip to the SU's Dirty Duck!
2018-19 saw us play Mahler’s 2nd Symphony (see image below), John Ireland’s Piano Concerto, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition amongst other repetoire. This term (Autumn 2019) we will be staging the colossal Shostakovich 10!
Socials and Events
Symphony Orchestra holds a number or regular socials besides its weekly post-rehearsal trip to the pub. These include trips to local Nightclubs such as Kasbah, Neon, and the Copper Rooms (complete with circling), as well as pub quizzes, curries, board game evenings, trips to see the CBSO in Birmingham, and an annual BBQ and Ball.
Members are also provided with opportunities to get involved in Chamber Music. These opportunities include a Chamber Orchestra (scheduled to take place in term 2), masterclasses held with professional musicians and casual chamber music 'parties' hosted by the Coull.
Symphony Orchestra tours annually, rotating between an international and a domestic tour each year. Previous destinations have included Belfast, Prague, Cambridge, Slovenia, and even India. This year's tour, set to take place in March 2020, is to Rijeka in Croatia! The image below shows some of our members on our 2018 tour with the University of Warwick Chorus to Prague!
At the beginning of the academic year, we invite all musicians to join us in our first two rehearsals in preparation for our Free Concert in Week 2. This year (2019), these take place on Tuesday 1st October and Tuesday 8nd October with the Free Concert being held at 19:00 on the 9th October in the Butterworth Hall. Music typically includes Nimrod, Montagues and Capulets, Radetzky’s March etc. – all the Orchestral bangers! Following the free concert, we begin preparations for our end of term concert. It is at this point that auditions take place.
String players and percussionists are unauditioned. Auditions for woodwind and brass seats take place in week 2 (Thursday 10th October) of the undergraduate term with players being expected to perform a short prepared piece and then an unseen passage. You will be required to complete and return a brief form detailing your previous orchestral experience (this can be found in our the documents section of this webpage).
Although there is no prescribed ability-level, we recommend that players be of around Grade 8 standard so that they can get the most out of the repertoire we perform. This is still a general rule of thumb however – the easiest way to find out is to chat with our exec or the professional music staff here at Warwick, or - for wind and brass players - simply audition!
To sign up for auditions please visit our stall during Fresher’s Fair, speak to an exec member during one of our first two rehearsals, visit the Music Centre office, or message us on our Facebook page.
For a fuller picture of what we get up to, take a look at our website at https://warwicksymphony.co.uk.
Our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/UniversityofWarwickSymphony/), and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/uofwso/)are also great places to find out more about UWSO.
Feel free to contact us by email/Facebook/Instagram with any questions!