Strings/Orchestral Ensembles

Ensembles are open to all students, regardless of major. Learn more about large ensemble auditions.

All String students are encouraged to audition for School of Music Concerto and Chamber Music competitions and participate in the New Music Festival and World Music Ensembles, including Middle Eastern Music Ensemble and Chinese Music Ensemble. Collaborations with other students/studio areas within the School of Music, including Brass, Jazz, Keyboards, Percussion, Steelpan, Voice and Woodwinds, are strongly encouraged.

Philharmonic Orchestra

The NIU Philharmonic Orchestra has a long, well-earned reputation for excellence and is thriving as an integral part of the NIU School of Music. Members of the Philharmonic focus on the core symphonic repertoire, collaborations with soloists, choral and opera productions. Repertoire selections continue to expand focusing on new and contemporary works from composers of all backgrounds.

Each concert season, the Philharmonic Orchestra plays five orchestral concerts each season, in addition to two performances of a fully-staged opera production with the Opera Workshop each spring.

Faculty members from the School of Music often appear as guest soloists with the Philharmonic Orchestra in performance, and each season also features a concert of winners from our annual concerto competition.

The skills fostered in the Philharmonic Orchestra — individual musical excellence, collaboration and the synthesis of skills acquired in all other School of Music courses — serve students well as they continue throughout their careers.

Campus String Orchestra

The Campus String Orchestra is open to any string player on campus. Music students are welcome to participate on their secondary string instruments. The orchestra combines with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra for two concerts each semester.

Mariachi NIU

Mariachi NIU is the mariachi ensemble of the NIU School of Music, performing traditional music from Mexico. It is open to all students and anyone in the northern Illinois community. Interested musicians should be able to read music and have considerable performance experience with their instruments including violin, guitar, vihuela, guitarrón, trumpet, harp and voice.

Guitar Ensembles

Playing as an ensemble is one of the most important aspects of being a well-rounded musician. Classical guitar students will participate in studio classes and have a choice of forming various guitar ensembles (duo, trio or quartet) or perform with other instrumentalists, encouraging collaborative performances and learning opportunities. Students can also audition to be a member of different Jazz combos.

Contact Us

Music Building
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - noon
1 - 4:30 p.m.

Austyn V. Menk
Music Admissions Coordinator

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