Concordia Symphony Orchestra

Music Department

Concordia Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Jeff Held, musical director

Zhang Hall

Concordia's orchestra season includes a variety of major repertoire from the orchestral canon, new or lesser-known works, church music, Christmas music, and pops orchestra music.

2019-20 highlights

  • This season opened with a concert celebrating the opening of the Borland-Manske Center. The concert was a hymn festival format, combining the orchestra with Concordia's four choirs, handbells, and its impressive pipe organ. This sold-out concert featured new arrangements of hymns for all of these forces by composers closely associated with Concordia.
  • Our November concert consisted of two major symphonies - Symphony No. 1 (Florence Price) and Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" (Antonin Dvorak).
  • The orchestra accompanied most of this year's Christmas concert, which was performed to five sell-out audiences in the CU Center. The music consisted of festive Christmas carol arrangements and major repertoire by Bach, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams.
  • The annual Family Pops Concert was held on the Borland-Manske Center patio, an ideal venue for outdoor orchestra concerts due to the surrounding large buildings and beautiful architecture. "Law and Disorchestra" was the theme. We joined forces with some of Concordia's great actors and actresses, Judo club, and the Marine Biology touch tank. The music included Superman March (John Williams), themes from James Bond, Spiderman, and the Incredibles, and a rousing Disney Villains Medley with vocalists.
  • The orchestra performed for the inauguration of President Michael Thomas. In this ceremony, we performed several works with large choir, hymn settings, and movements from Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Dvorak's "New World" Symphony.
  • Sadly, we had to cancel our planned Beethoven 250 Concert. For that, the orchestra had prepared his Symphony No. 1, Leonore Overture #2, Equali for Four Trombones, and a military march.
  • The season would have ended with the strings joining the Commercial Music Ensemble to play a set of pop music for the annual Gala of the Stars.

The future of the orchestra is very bright! The 2020-21 season is being planned to include:

  • A new name! As the orchestra has grown over the past decade, it now is large enough to take the name Concordia Symphony Orchestra. The spring semester had a string section of 26, and we expect to increase that number with many strong new players in Fall 2020. They are complimented with talented woodwind, brass, and percussion sections. We will continue to perform with the name Concordia Sinfonietta for concerts that require smaller orchestras or earlier repertoire.
  • Our Parent's Day concert will feature 3 inspiring works - The Olympic Spirit (John Williams), Pavane (Faur√©), and Javelin (Michael Torke).
  • Robert Thies, winner of the 1995 Prokofiev Piano Competition in Russia, will serve as an Artist in Residence. His residency will culminate with a performance of Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto. The second half of the concert will feature Beethoven's historic and beloved 3rd Symphony ("Eroica").
  • The orchestra will be a major performer in Concordia's Christmas Concerts, which will be performed twice in Segerstrom Concert Hall (one of the finest concert halls in the nation).
  • Our February concert will feature major symphonic repertoire: Symphony No. 1 "Nordic" (Howard Hanson) and Symphony No. 3 "Sinfonia Espansiva" (Carl Nielsen).
  • An Easter themed concert will be performed in April at large church venues with University Organist, Dr. Tom Mueller, in Southern California. It will include movements from Biblical Songs (Dvorak), a Baroque Easter cantata, hymn arrangements, and Russian Easter Overture (Rimsky-Korsakov).

Zhang Hall

The Concordia Orchestras immerse student-musicians in four major ensembles. Most students are assigned to multiple ensembles to meet the needs of the repertoire. All orchestras are primary ensembles, drawing the top players at the university. The music assignment load is carefully managed so that students receive experience with many kinds of repertoire without being overwhelmed.

Concordia Wind Orchestra - major repertoire large wind ensemble of woodwinds, brass, percussion (rehearsals Tues/Thur 3:30-5:15)
Concordia Symphony Orchestra - major repertoire large orchestra strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion (rehearsals Tues/Thur 5:30-7:15, string sectionals Thur 4:10-5:15)
Concordia Sinfonietta - chamber orchestra for church music, Baroque and Classical repertoire, and modern works (a subset of the CSO - will occasionally replace CSO rehearsal time)
Concordia Jazz Orchestra - a big band performing jazz standards and originals

Music scholarships are issued for ORCHESTRA (assignments in CWO and CSO/Sinfonietta) and/or JAZZ (assignments in CJO and jazz combos/Americana Ensemble).

Prospective students will be considered for music scholarships through the summer. Interested returning students should contact Jeff.Held@cui.edu. Audience members should bring lots of friends - Concordia orchestra concerts are thrilling!

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