Sewanee Symphony Orchestra
The University Orchestra was founded in 1987 as an ambitious project to assemble a symphony orchestra within a small liberal arts community. From these beginnings, the orchestra has grown to the point where it presents the full range of the symphonic repertory and collaborates frequently with other organizations to present choral-orchestral and musico-theatrical works. Participation in the University Orchestra is open to all qualified students.
While the core of the orchestra consists of undergraduate students, the roster presents a true cross-section of the community and includes students from the School of Theology, faculty from both divisions of the University, and members of the community. A student bassoonist may find himself sharing a desk with a professor of chemistry, and a section may well be led by a professor of French or religion. Founded by Dr. Steven Shrader, this diverse ensemble presents the full range of the symphonic repertory from the Brandenburg Concertos of Bach through Bernstein's Overture to Candide.
The Orchestra has joined forces with the Theatre Department in recent years to present Cabaret and Guys and Dolls, and has joined with the Sewanee Chorale to perform Haydn's Mass In Time of War, Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, and a concert version of H.M.S. Pinafore. The Orchestra has collaborated in two concerts with the Birmingham bluegrass/pop band, Act of Congress. The song the Orchestra and band together recorded is called "The Wind Will Carry the Voice of the People." The project is a fundraiser in response to the Alabama tornadoes.
Due to a generous grant from the Hugh Caldwell Trust, the Orchestra is frequently able to perform with distinguished guest artists; in recent seasons, the Orchestra has been joined by pianist Michael Gurt (gold medalist of the Gina Bachauer Competition) and Astrid Schween (cellist of the Lark Quartet).