Symphony Orchestra

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UWSO 2023-2024 Season Brochure

 

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Overview

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra is an 80-member ensemble playing the finest in orchestral repertoire. With soloists ranging from internationally known guest artists to faculty performers to student competition winners, and frequent world premieres, the UWSO performs many exciting concerts each year. Important concert venues have included Denver’s Boettcher Concert Hall, Centro Sinfonico in La Paz, and the Grand Teton Music Festival – and village churches and plazas in Bolivia’s Altiplano and high school auditoriums throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

The UWSO has performed with many world-class soloistsGuest artists they have accompanied include Van Cliburn medalist Daniel Hsu, harpsichordist Igor Kipnis, pianist Christopher O’Riley, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, NY Philharmonic Principal Cellist Carter Brey – and the classic rock band Kansas. In addition, they have collaborated in shared concerts with the Shanghai University Orchestra and Orquesta Municipal de El Alto (Bolivia).

The biennial Dorothy Jacoby Student Soloist Concert gives UW’s best students an opportunity to perform as soloist with the orchestra. The student judged to have given the finest performance that evening wins a substantial cash award.

 
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Conductor

Dr. Michael Griffith took over the podium of the UW Symphony in 1989.  Since then the orchestra has grown significantly in size, playing level, and repertoire.  He was named a UW “Top Ten” teaching by the graduating classes of 2006 and 2012, has served as a guest teacher at such disparate institutions as the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at Shanghai University, and was President of the Conductors Guild.  UWSO concerts in Laramie draw large and appreciative audiences and are an important part of the cultural life of the community.

 
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Works Presented

Works played by the Symphony

by the Symphony under Maestro Griffith include symphonies by Mahler, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Sibelius, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Dvorak, Franck, Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn, Hanson, and Borodin; Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, Respighi’s entire Rome trilogy, Rimski-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, and more. 

Exploring the great diversity of the orchestral repertoire, they have performed works by Samuel Akpabot, Francesca Caccini, Valerie Coleman, Duke Ellington, Carlos Gomes, Hu Sisi, Scott Joplin, Li Huanzhi, Arturo Márquez, César Guerra Peixe, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Clara Schumann, Dame Ethel Smyth, William Grant Still, Liu Tieshan, Mao Yuan, and many others. They have joined UW choral groups in large works such as Carmina Burana and the Brahms and Mozart Requiems, and played in the pit for a double bill of the ballets Petrushka and Afternoon of a Faun, La TraviataThe Magic FluteThe Nutcracker Ballet, Candide, Don PasqualeCosì Fan Tutte, Copland’s The Tender Land, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and Broadway musicals such as Into the Woods, South Pacific, Company, Guys and Dolls, and many more.


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New Works

New works by fascinating, living composers are often found on UWSO programs, and the orchestra was a winner of a 2005 ASCAP/American Symphony Orchestra League Award for Adventurous Programming. In 2009 we were one of only three college orchestras invited to participate in the Ford Made in America commissioning program, and our 2000-2001 Premières for the Millennium season included four new works composed expressly for the UWSO. Other orchestral projects included residencies with composers Libby Larsen and Pulitzer- and Grammy- winner Jennifer Higdon, a 1999-2000 retrospective on 20th Century music, and 1998’s Hildegard’s Year, which saluted all women composers in honor of the 900th birthday of Hildegard von Bingen, a medieval German nun and composer.


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Alumni

Past UWSO members have served in top jobs all over the world, including:

  • a first violinist in the Cleveland Orchestra

  • the concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony

  • the co-principal trumpet of the New Japan Philharmonic

  • the assistant concertmaster of Brazil’s Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais

  • a violist in the Colorado Symphony

  • a violinist in the Netherlands Philharmonic

  • a cellist in the Symphony Orchestra of National Theatre of Brasilia, Brazil

  • the keyboard player in the New World Symphony of Miami

  • the Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council

  • the cello professor at Guizhou Normal University, China

  • a Programming Manager for the Los Angeles Philharmonic

  • a trombonist in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band

  • the oboe professor at the University of Central Oklahoma

  • Utah’s Music Educator of the Year for 2016

  • the conductor of the San Francisco Philharmonic

  • the conductor of the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra

  • the Executive Director of the Moab Music Festival

  • the trumpet professor at Wright State University

  • the Executive Director of Jackson Hole’s Center for the Arts

  • the conductor of the Idaho State Civic Symphony

  • the Director of Fine and Performing Arts, Laramie County Community College

  • a trumpeter in the national company of the Broadway show, The Book of Mormon

  • a bassist in the jazz clubs of LA

  • various cruise ship band members

  • many highly successful music educators working all around the country


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Auditions

Orchestra membership is by audition only. Players are drawn primarily from the university student body, including both music majors and talented musicians from other fields of study. Many of the members receive scholarship aid in return for playing in the ensemble. There are also a few Laramie residents who participate as community members.


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Tours

Orchestra tours, including a 2007 week-long tour of Bolivia (view pictures), are funded by a combination of sources. These include the University, the UW Foundation, the Symphony Association, private donors, host communities, the Wyoming Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The UWSO is a part of the UW Department of Music, Dr. Ben Markley, Chair, in the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Scott Turpen, Dean.


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Symphony Association of the University of Wyoming

The Symphony Association for the University of Wyoming offers significant support to the orchestra. This Laramie-based organization funds scholarships, tours, equipment needs, commissions and other special projects. They also encourage community involvement in orchestra events, help with educational projects, and offer occasional social outlets for lovers of symphonic music.

   

Symphony Schedule

 

 

 
Contact Us

Department of Music

University of Wyoming

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3037

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5242

Fax: (307) 766-5326

Email: musicdpt@uwyo.edu

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