The Chicago College of Performing Arts offers an Orchestral Studies program to train orchestral performers to the highest professional standards. CCPA is uniquely positioned to offer this program, having more than 25 members of the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera orchestras on the faculty - half of whom are principals.
Admission to the Orchestral Studies major is based on a student's audition. Students should apply for the Classical Performance major in their instrument of choice, but indicate their interest in the Orchestral Studies program on the application. In their audition, applicants will present orchestral excerpts in addition to the requirements for Performance degree program. Because of the selective nature of the Orchestral Studies program, students not admitted to Orchestral Studies will automatically be considered for the Performance program. Admission into the Orchestral Studies program is limited to Brass, Harp, Percussion, and Woodwind students.
Students receive a one hour studio session each week. Additionally, students receive lessons devoted to the study of orchestral excerpts.
All students perform regularly for their peers in performance classes. These classes include solo and chamber music repertoire, as well as discussions of relevant issues and practica designed for the individual instruments. From time to time, performance classes are given for combinations of woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings.
All students are required to participate in a series of master classes presented by distinguished visiting soloists, chamber, and orchestral musicians. Recent master classes included members of the London Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra.
Graduate students present juries each semester and a recital each spring.
It is a goal of the program that all students develop a broad familiarity with, and understanding of, the musical context in which they will build their professional lives. To achieve these goals, students take a number of important courses, including musicianship and general musical history, as well as the following specific studies in repertoire and literature:
Master's and Professional Diploma students who have not had the equivalent of these courses will be required to take them as remedial work. In addition to these courses, the Orchestral Studies Program places an emphasis on building students' practical familiarity with a broad range of orchestral repertoire through reading rehearsals and repertoire classes.
Based on excerpt lists from the major orchestras and opera companies in America, all students in the Orchestral Studies Program take an additional 30-minute excerpt lesson each week in addition to their private study, on a schedule specified in their degree or diploma requirements. Students taking excerpt lessons are also required to present a special excerpts jury.
Orchestral majors' experience and training are enhanced by the presence of distinguished guest conductors and soloists who rehearse and perform with the CCPA Symphony Orchestra. Recent guest conductors include Jane Glover, Joseph Silverstein, Jay Friedman, and Andrew Grams.
The CCPA Symphony Orchestra presents many performances each season, including symphonic, choral, opera, and musical theatre concerts. Each year the orchestra performs in the world famous Auditorium Theatre, a 3,700 seat space designed by Adler and Sullivan.
From time to time the Symphony Orchestra is reconfigured to form a Chamber Orchestra, performing baroque and new music and giving students the fullest possible training experience.
The CCPA Wind Ensemble performs a broad range of repertoire for winds and percussion, including commissioned works and other premiers.
Graduate and diploma students are required to take a minimum of two semesters of Chamber Music. Students with a special interest in early or contemporary music may substitute Collegium Musicum or New Music Ensemble for Chamber Music.
There is a concerto competition each year, open to all students. Winners appear in concert with the orchestra.
It is a goal of the Orchestral Studies Program that students will develop a broad familiarity with the expectations of a professional life in music.
Orchestral studies students participate in a series of seminars presented by faculty and visiting artists. These cover a wide variety of topics of importance to professional life, including etiquette, ethics, orchestral life (committees, contracts, etc.), physical and psychological aspects of injury prevention, and career promotion. The newest addition to the seminar faculty is recently retired President of the Chicago Symphony and Roosevelt University's Dean of Fine Arts, Henry Fogel.
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