Music Ensembles Info and Auditions for 2019-20

The following music ensembles will be offered by the Arts Department of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) in academic year 2019-20:

Rensselaer Orchestra - One-credit course (ARTS 2300), graded, offered in Fall and Spring semesters. Rehearsals (class meetings) are on Monday and Thursday from 4:00-5:50 pm in 326 West Hall. 

The Rensselaer Orchestra is an ensemble of undergraduate and graduate students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.   Reinvigorated in 2012 by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, the Rensselaer Orchestra performs classics of the orchestral repertoire and regularly premieres new and experimental works under the direction of Maestro Matthew Chamberlain

The ensemble performs classics of the orchestral literature and regularly premieres new and experimental works. The group makes its performing home in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY.

Listen to recordings of the Rensselaer Orchestra at https://soundcloud.com/rensselaer-orchestra.

For Fall 2019 audition info, please click here

Rensselaer Concert ChoirOne-credit course (ARTS 2310), graded, offered in Fall and Spring semesters. Rehearsals (class meetings) are on Monday and Thursday from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Chapel + Cultural Center and in West Hall. 

The oldest continuously performing music ensemble at RPI, the Rensselaer Concert Choir is made up of undergraduate and graduate students, and performs music from the dawn of written musical traditions to the present, often premiering new work for choir.  The Concert Choir is directed and conducted by Professor Andrew Burger.

Listen to recordings of the Rensselaer Concert Choir at https://soundcloud.com/rensselaerconcertchoir

1) Returning students will not be asked to audition for Concert Choir, however if you wish to be considered for Section Leader for your voice part, please sign-up for an informal audition. New students wishing to join Concert Choir are required to audition and should prepare for the following:

- Vocalizing scales and arpeggios demonstrating range and tone. 

- Singing “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”, in various keys depending on your voice part. 

- Sight-reading in rhythm (speaking, not singing) a series of short excerpts in Latin and German, from standard choral repertoire. Please be prepared to speak in rhythm text from Mozart Requiem and Brahms Requiem. 

No Solo or Sight-singing is required, however if you would like to sing an excerpt from a solo aria or art song of your choice, acapella, you are invited to do so. Additionally, anyone, including returning members who would like to be a Section Leader, should prepare any such solo.

2) The Concert Choir will also be accepting auditions for Piano Accompanist(s). This is a full semester obligation, and you will be enrolled in the ensemble. You can audition as a vocalist as well, but are not required to. Please prepare the following: 

- a short (2-3 min.) solo demonstrating your current ability. 

- Pianist excerpts: Brahms Requiem Mvt. 1 and 4. Bach Ein fest burg ist unser Gott BWV 40 Mvt. 1. Handel Messiah Finale Chorus "Worthy is the Lamb". Please expect to play the accompaniment and choral parts. 

- you may be asked to sight read

For more information, please contact Prof. Andrew Burger at Burgera960@gmail.com.

Rensselaer Chamber Music EnsembleTwo-credit course (ARTS 2350), graded, offered in Fall and Spring semesters. Rehearsals (class meetings) are on Tuesday from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm in West Hall 323. Chamber music ensembles are coached by Professor Matthew Chamberlain. 

For Fall 2019 audition info, please click here

Roots of Africa Music Ensemble - One-credit course (ARTS 2360), graded, offered in Fall and Spring semesters.  Rehearsals (class meetings) are on Wednesdays 7:00-8:50 pm in West Hall 326. 

The Roots of Africa Music Ensemble focuses on the study and performance of African, Afro-Cuban, and New World percussion. Under the direction of Professor Ade Knowles, students will learn the significance of performance within a folkloric music ensemble and how to play percussion instruments from Africa, Cuba, and the New World. The ensemble performs one main concert each semester. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in other events. Concert attire includes tuxedo and all black formats; students provide their own concert attire.

Concerts

The Orchestra and Concert Choir each perform one main concert each semester, plus the holiday concert in December. Students may also have the opportunity to participate in other events. Concert attire is semi-formal black; students provide their own concert attire.

The Chamber Ensemble performs once or twice per semester, at the discretion of the director, and may participate in such events as the holiday concert in December. Concert attire is semi-formal black; students provide their own concert attire. 

Roots of Africa Music Ensemble gives one to two public performances each semester.

Auditions/Prerequisites

For Rensselaer Orchestra / Concert Choir Auditions / Chamber Music, please visit the Audition Info page here

For Roots of Africa Music Ensemble: Arts 2340 (Intro to Afro-Cuban Percussion) or permission of the director/conductor, Prof. Ade Knowles (email here); demonstrated fundamental hand technique in playing Conga (open and closed slaps, base tones, and back tones), Shekere, Cowbell, and/or Clave; demonstrated knowledge of Afro-Cuban or Latin rhythms on Conga, Cowbell, and/or Clave (approx. 20 min.)

Instruments

Orchestra students must provide their own instruments, with the exception of percussion, contrabass, and certain specialized woodwinds and brass. Instrument storage will be available.

Latin percussion instruments will be provided for Roots of Africa Music Ensemble and auditions; instruments are the property of RPI and are stored on campus.

For further information on the Arts Department Music Ensembles, please contact:

ACADEMIC: Anne Borrero, Administrative Assistant, Academic Affairs – 518-276-6413; borrea2@rpi.edu

ARTS DEPT: Beth Dennis, Administrative Coordinator, Arts Dept. – 518-276-4778; dennib@rpi.edu