Welcome to our FAQ! Feel free to continue reading and learn more about the WMSO

How big is the William & Mary Symphony Orchestra?

The WMSO is a full symphony orchestra with up to 95 members consisting of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

What is the time commitment, and can you get credit for playing?

The WMSO rehearses every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00pm throughout the semester and performs five concerts per year. If accepted into the ensemble, you will be able to register for a one-credit class (MUSC E06) in the Music Department that also fulfills COLL requirements (6ESO, ACTV, HIPP, IN).

The Symphony maintains a collegiate but professional atmosphere during rehearsals, starting and ending them on time. Our conductor, Dr. Grandis, emails a detailed rehearsal schedule for the upcoming week specifying the order and length of rehearsed pieces. You may also opt to join WMSO on its annual spring tour.

Where does WMSO rehearse and perform?

Rehearsals are held in the Rehearsal Room at the Music Building, home to W&M’s Music Department. The Symphony performs at the Concert Hall, also in the Music Building.

There are five annual concerts for the ensemble:
I. Family Weekend Concert: A prism-style concert shared with choirs and other music ensembles around mid-October.
II. Halloween Concert: The Symphony’s interactive pops concert in late October.
III. Fall Concert: Standard repertoire, held early December.
IV. Winter Concert: Features the concerto competition winner(s) and a student composition, held mid-March.
V. Spring Concert: A large symphonic work, held early May.

Does WMSO travel?

Yes! In 2001, WMSO embarked on its first international tour to Italy and Sicily. The Symphony has continued travelling abroad to destinations like Paris, Vienna, and Prague. Domestically, the WMSO has toured in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

What does WMSO play?

Music from past seasons can be found here. Our repertoire tend to be in the flavour of 19th & 20th century Western style, but we also reach out to the present with more contemporary works.

The Symphony has collaborated with guest artists including violinist Charles Castleman (Carmen Fantasy), violinist Pavel Ilyashov (Glazunov), cellist Neal Cary (Elgar), and saxophonist Gary Louie (April 2015).

Lastly, the Symphony hosts an annual concerto competition open to any undergraduate studying with a member of the Applied Music Faculty. The winner(s) perform their piece alongside the WMSO during the Winter Concert.

How competitive is it to get in, and how are parts & seating assigned?

All present and past members must audition to join the Symphony, though returning members often remain in the ensemble. Selection for winds and percussion can be highly competitive; the number of openings varies depending on the repertoire chosen year. Spend time preparing your music over the summer, and remember to bring your best self to the audition! 

Additional musicians may be needed to fill a vacancy left by regular members studying abroad or to augment a section for a large orchestral work. Typically, alternate players are accepted as regular members the following season, so mid-year auditions are a great way to be heard and added to the list of potential candidates for your section!

Seating choices are made at the discretion of our conductor, Dr. Grandis. If needed, he may decide to rotate part assignments between winds, adjust the seating order of strings, or appoint co-principals.

How do I audition?

Auditions are held in late August in the Rehearsal Room/Concert Hall of the Music Building, a few days before the fall semester begins. You can find the dates and specified requirements for auditions here; time slots are determined on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is there more to WMSO than just music-making?

Yes! While WMSO is headed by our conductor, Dr. Grandis, much of the Symphony’s logistics and events are managed by the all-student Orchestra Board. Members of the ensemble find opportunities to attend social events outside of rehearsal, bond over meals, and even play intramural sports together. The Symphony brings together students of all academic years, majors, and backgrounds, and the experience itself has played a part in many budding friendships.

We hope to see you next semester!

Was there something not answered in the FAQ you’d like to ask us?
Feel free to reach out to byou@wm.edu or even to get in touch with our conductor, Dr. Grandis, at dfgrandis@wm.edu!