Oberlin Conservatory new and returning students have several large vocal and instrumental ensembles they can rehearse and perform with based on an audition and subsequent placement.
Completion of music theory and aural skills is not a requirement of arts and sciences or conservatory students prior to audition/registration for a large or small ensemble.
Please visit the Conservatory Policies and Procedures page for information regarding Off-Campus Travel, Dress Codes; as well as practice room, keys, and locker assignments.
New and returning student auditions for the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Oberlin Orchestra, and Oberlin Sinfonietta will be held on the following schedule:
Returning Strings students audition each fall, usually during the first week of classes.
Returning Winds and Brass Students audition at the end of each semester.
New Strings students submit a recorded audition in the fall and a live audition in the spring, usually during the first week of classes.
New Winds and Brass submit a recorded audition in the fall.
All auditioning students can expect to receive email communications over the summer months, containing audition information. This will include day, time, location, specific instructions, and musical excerpts.
New students are introduced to music opportunities during Orientation. Check your Orientation schedule for details. Students can meet faculty and student groups and learn about applied study programs, as well as large and small ensemble opportunities.
Advanced student musicians from the College of Arts and Sciences are welcome to audition for any of the conservatory’s large instrumental ensembles, including the Oberlin Orchestra, Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Oberlin Sinfonietta, Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble.
Oberlin Arts & Sciences Chamber Collective is a chamber ensemble and chamber orchestra practicum course led by members of the Verona Quartet. This course (APST 826) offers Arts & Sciences students the chance to sharpen their individual and collaborative music skills through multifaceted chamber music settings including Small Ensembles (one player per part) and the ASCC Chamber Orchestra.
Small Ensembles rehearse together weekly, receive one-on-one instruction with a member of the Verona Quartet and join fellow ensembles for regular performance class. Performance classes give students the opportunity to share works in progress and take part in discussion groups on topics ranging from score study to conflict resolution. The Chamber Orchestra gives students a chance to rehearse and perform alongside peers as well as with conductor. The semester culminates in a final performance of each Small Ensemble and Chamber Orchestra.
Acceptance is based on audition and course availability. All orchestral instruments and pianists are welcome to apply; placement is contingent on the availability of repertoire and instrumental composition of the group of students auditioning in a given semester. Placement is not guaranteed even if you have been in the class previously.
Audition Requirements: In order to be eligible for ASCC, we ask that you please submit a brief three-five minute audio/visual clip of your individual playing via Google Form.
If you have been approved for the course, you will receive consent to register. You may apply with a pre-formed ensemble and every effort will be made to retain your ensemble preference however all pre-formed groups are subject to alteration depending on the instrumentation of the registered student body. Clips should demonstrate your individual playing; smartphone recordings are acceptable. For further questions, please contact one of the members of the Verona Quartet.
The Oberlin College Choir is made up of both voice majors & talented singers from both the College and other majors within the Conservatory, and performs a wide variety of a cappella and accompanied music. OCC is required for voice majors in their first two years. Auditions take place during Orientation and the weekend before classes begin. Audition information and sign-up is available at OCC Audition Sign Up.
Contact: Gregory Ristow , Bibbins 219, x58068
APST-750 Djembe Orchestra I (Fall Semester) provides the fundamentals and basic concepts and techniques of Mandé music. The traditional rhythmic structure of Djembe and Dununs will be studied to further develop skills within modern day Black American Music, fusion and orchestral music. Culture, geography, history, and folkloric philosophy will be explored through song, music, performance, practicum and academic discourse. This course will be taught from a traditional West African and world view perspective in the context of social, occupational and religious function. Students will immerse themselves in a physical, cultural and spiritual exploration of these traditional styles of drumming from the regions of Mali, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
APST-751 Djembe Orchestra 2 (Spring Semester) is an expansion of the fundamentals and basic concepts and techniques of Mandé music. The traditional rhythmic structure of Djembe and Dununs will be studied to further develop skills within modern day Black American Music, fusion and orchestral music. Culture, geography, history, and folkloric philosophy will be explored through song, music, performance, practicum and academic discourse. This course will be taught from a traditional West African and world view perspective in the context of social, occupational and religious function. Students will immerse themselves in a physical, cultural and spiritual exploration of these traditional styles of drumming from the regions of Mali, Guinea and Ivory Coast. Students will be tasked with learning new ways of experiencing themselves through music and with creating their own rhythms through which they will assert their history and voice in a culturally aware and diverse music practice. (Pre-Requisite: APST-750.)
This annual audition is required for all conservatory and arts and science students interested in playing with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble. Audition sign-up sheets, and audition/placement results are posted outside Kohl 200-A. Students will meet and play for faculty in a relaxed setting.
The personnel of the Big Band/OJE (Oberlin Jazz Ensemble) is established by the director of the group based on the needs of the ensemble and the fulfillment of curricular requirements for jazz majors.
Students are notified by the jazz studies division of their consent just prior to the registration deadline, and must register for credit. Please Note: Jazz majors must register for at least one jazz ensemble each semester.
Jazz majors are required to participate in the placement rehearsal/auditions for Oberlin Jazz Ensemble, which takes place the first week of the fall semester.
Non-jazz majors must pre-audition in order to attend the OJE placement audition. The audition (held only once each year during the fall semester) is held the first week of the fall semester.
All non-jazz majors who have successfully passed the pre-audition must attend the first rehearsal of the fall semester (or the first rehearsal of the spring semester if the intent is to participate in the spring.) Priority is given to those students needing to fulfill their jazz requirements. Other seats of the ensemble are filled based on the needs of the group.
Jazz Large & Small Ensemble Auditions — Use your Oberlin email to access audition information. Signups and placement results for jazz and non-jazz majors are posted outside the Kohl Building 200-A.
Contact: Julie Baker , Kohl 200-A (x56633)
Auditions are not required to participate in Musical Union. Conservatory and arts and sciences students may register online without consent prior to the add/drop deadline. Individual times will be scheduled for placement outside of Bibbins 219 during the first week of classes. Rehearsals begin the second week of classes.
Contact: Gregory Ristow , Bibbins 219, x58068
Performers interested in playing piano with a large ensemble should contact piano chair Alvin Chow .
Performers interested in playing piano in a small ensemble group should visit our Small Ensembles section for details.
Oberlin College Women’s Chorale will not be offered this semester.
Contact: Jody Kerchner , Kohl Bldg 330, x58267
If you are participating in any of these ensembles, you must register, add, or drop before the add/drop deadline via OberView/Banner Self-Serve. Some ensembles require consent from the instructor. While you may be “consented,” or “added to a list,” you will not be “automatically registered” for any courses in the conservatory; except incoming conservatory students who will be pre-registered first semester only - if applicable.
Please confirm this registration on OberView/Banner Self-Serve or print a copy of your schedule prior to the add/drop deadline and see your instructor, or the Office of the Registrar if you experience problems.