The University of Northwestern Orchestra is a full symphony orchestra consisting of strings, winds, brass, and percussion.
Orchestra provides students, both music majors and non-music majors, with opportunities to play a wide variety of orchestral literature from baroque to contemporary as well as jazz and film music.
The orchestra performs regularly both on and off campus, touring annually throughout the United States and every fourth year overseas. In the summer of 2011, the Orchestra toured France and Switzerland.
Premieres and performances
The Orchestra premiered the orchestration of Libby Larson’s Cowboy Songs, UNW faculty member Barbara J. Rogers' Sacred Americana Suite for their 2007 European Tour, and gave the 2008 world premiere performance of the opera Ruth, with music by Barbara J. Rogers and libretto by Pamela S. Wynn. In February 2009 the Orchestra was invited to perform at the MMEA Midwinter In-Service Clinic (MMEA Convention) as a featured performing ensemble.
Annual traditions include playing at Showcase! as part of Homecoming activities, Christmas at Northwestern, and accompanying the winners of the Concerto-Aria competition. Some members of the Orchestra also perform in pit ensembles for the theatre department in various productions and musicals.
The Orchestra, however, is not limited to just art music. The University of Northwestern Orchestra frequently performs in churches and other Christian-based ministries. The Orchestra regularly performs at Constance Evangelical Free Church in Andover, MN. The Orchestra also leads Praise Chapels each semester on campus for the entire Northwestern community. Another part of the Orchestra’s outreach ministry is playing for nursing homes. The University of Northwestern Orchestra uses the many God-given talents to spread His word and bring joy to the elderly.
The Orchestra tours annually, with foreign overseas tours occurring every four years. In 2011 the Orchestra toured France and Switzerland. In 2007, on their tour to Italy and Austria, the Orchestra was one of the featured performing ensembles at the XVII International Music Meeting in Padua. The Orchestra also performed throughout the Vienna area of Austria with concerts at Votivkirche, Haydn Hall at Esterhazy Palace, and Orangerie at Schonbrunn Palace.
Faculty and artists
University of Northwestern Orchestra members frequently have the opportunity to work with Roger Frisch, associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, in rehearsals and sectionals. String players in the Orchestra study with Roger Frisch (violin), David Kozamchak (violin and viola), Sachiya Isomura (cello—member of the Minnesota Orchestra), Carl Osterhouse (bass), and Catherine Victorsen (harp).