From its inception in 1975, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University has emphasized orchestral training as a central element in its performing curriculum. The orchestral program is comprised of a Symphony Orchestra of one hundred-plus music students and a Chamber Orchestra of some fifty music students. Both orchestras are of equal caliber, differentiated only by the repertoire they perform.
Players rehearse three times each week, attend classes in orchestral repertoire, and benefit from sectionals with our experienced orchestral faculty.
Works performed in the 2021-22 season by the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra include Dallapiccola Piccola Musica Notturna, Beethoven Symphony No. 1, Kodaly Dances of Galánta, Stravinsky Petrushka (1947), Gabriela Lena Frank Apu, Wagner Prelude and Liebestod, Debussy Ibéria, Brahms Symphony No. 1, Mozart Symphony No. 35, Dvořák Symphony No. 7, Clarise Assad Sin Fronteras, Ravel Mother Goose Suite, Strauss Der Rosenkavalier Suite, and Shostakovich Symphony No. 11, as well as various concertos performed by student concerto competition winners, works by student composers, operas, and contemporary ensemble works.
The Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra has a history of touring, including visits to New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.