Instrumental Ensembles at AU

AU Chamber Players

AU Chamber Players

The American University Chamber Players are comprised of student groups from our Chamber Ensembles (Perf 145/545) and provide students with the special opportunity of making music in small, intimate numbers. Ensembles vary with regard to size and instrumentation depending upon the students' level, instrumentation, and schedule. Groups have ranged in size from duos to octets, are coached by members of our in-residence faculty, and are presented in recital at the end of every semester and additionally when appropriate. Auditions are held at the beginning of the semester in conjunction with the American University Symphony Orchestra auditions and by appointment.

Recent performance opportunities in addition to the end-of-semester recital include:

  • Master classes with National Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Nurit Bar-Josef, Kenneth Slowik (artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society), and AU Faculty
  • Community outreach at the Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts (a nationally acclaimed arts center for at-risk youth in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC)
  • Art galleries, places of worship, and historic homes throughout Washington
  • Unique locations on and around the AU campus
  • Featured performers at AU events

The above represents just a sampling of the diverse chamber music activities available to deserving students who are involved in the chamber music program.

For more information please contact Musician-in-Residence, Nancy Jo Snider: 202-885-3872 or nsnider@american.edu.

AU Pep Band

AU Pep Band

See information at AU Athletics.

AU Symphonic Band

AU Symphonic Band

The AU Symphonic Band (PERF-147) is an ensemble for woodwind, brass, and percussion players that performs the highest quality wind repertoire. Its goal is to provide an opportunity for students with vastly different disciplines to interact socially and musically, nurture the highest level of musicianship, explore forms of human expression, and inspire a love of the arts.

AU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as community members and staff are welcome to join. Rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 - 8:00 pm at the Katzen Arts Center. Auditions for seating take place during the first week of classes. Contact Ben Sonderman, director of the Symphonic Band, with questions about membership (ben.sonderman@american.edu).

Students practice the violin.

AU Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Matthew Brown, the AU Symphony Orchestra has more than sixty accomplished members from the entire AU community: undergraduate and graduate music majors and non-music majors from every college at AU, music and non-music faculty and staff, and members of the Washington, DC, community. AU Symphony Orchestra represents the Music Program and the Department of Performing Arts, and is a major artistic organization of, and ambassador for, American University.

The beautiful Abramson Family Recital Hall in AU's Katzen Arts Center is home to AU Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra rehearses onstage in its Recital Hall on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 8:15-10:15 p.m. Periodically, the ensemble is also lead in special sectional rehearsals by members of AU's stellar Instrumental Music Faculty, with whom all orchestral students–music majors and non-majors alike–have the opportunity to study.

AU Symphony Orchestra plays at least three major concert programs per season, each in repeat performances. The orchestra's repertoire consists of the major masterworks from the Baroque through the Twentieth Century.

Each year, AU Symphony Orchestra hosts a major event on campus, the Concerto and Aria Competition, in which undergraduate and graduate student instrumentalists and singers compete for the opportunity to perform in concert with the orchestra. First, second and third place winners from a field of more than a dozen competitors are selected by a distinguished panel of judges from the Department of Performing Art's music faculty.

AU Symphony Orchestra frequently collaborates with the American University Choral Ensembles in performances of major works for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra. AU Symphony Orchestra also serves as a lab orchestra for conducting students in the Department of Performing Arts.

Auditions for AU Symphony Orchestra are held the first week of each semester for new players. Special, late auditions may also be arranged. Members of the orchestra also have the opportunity to audition each semester for promotion within the organization. For more information about auditions or AU Symphony Orchestra, please contact the orchestra manager at orchestra@american.edu, or Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities Matthew Brown at mbrown@american.edu or 202-885-3477.

Aria Competition

The AUSO's yearly Concerto and Aria Competition is open to all students at AU.

Learn More