Juilliard's performing orchestral ensembles give more than 30 concerts each season at Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall, the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, and David Geffen Hall, as well as in Carnegie Hall and other venues around New York City. Participation in these ensembles provides a solid foundation for instrumentalists hoping to join professional orchestras. In fact, numerous Juilliard alumni have become first-chair players and section members in orchestras in both the United States and abroad.
The Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard’s largest and most visible performing ensemble, is comprised of all orchestral instrumental majors in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Led by numerous world-renowned guest conductors, including John Adams, Thomas Adès, Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Conlon, James Gaffigan, Fabio Luisi, Bernard Haitink, Susanna Mälkki, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Zinman, and many others. The Juilliard Orchestra performs regularly at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as in opera and dance productions, special events and broadcasts, and national and international tours. David Robertson, director of conducting studies, distinguished visiting faculty, leads an annual concert with the Juilliard Orchestra.
All undergraduates begin their orchestral studies with Orchestra Orientation, a three-week orchestra cycle comprised of seminars, workshops, and rehearsals designed to prepare students for the rigors of the Juilliard Orchestra. Led by Maestro David Robertson, the Orchestra Orientation also calls upon Juilliard faculty and members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to lead discussions, coach sectionals, and play in side-by-side rehearsals.
Other Orchestral Ensembles
The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra (J.C.O.) works without a conductor using a shared leadership model. Musical decisions are made by the players, with guidance from the coaches. J.C.O. explores all the roles that a conductor normally plays, and as a group discusses how best to divide those responsibilities. It is the goal that each participant will come away from the experience with new respect for a conductor’s role, and with a new insight into what each player can do to expedite the rehearsal process and make performances better. Lead coach Eric Bartlett is a 32-year veteran of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1997.
The Wind Orchestra, provides an opportunity to study and perform important staples of the wind repertoire, including such masterworks as the Beethoven Octet in E flat Major, Op. 103, Strauss Serenade in E flat for 13 winds, Dvořák Serenade, Op. 44, and Stravinsky Octet. Each cycle is conducted by a Juilliard woodwind faculty member or prominent performer, such as oboist Elaine Douvas, bassoonist Patricia Rogers, and clarinetist Anthony McGill.
The Lab Orchestra is conducted by students of the Orchestral Conducting program under the supervision of David Robertson, and gives both the student conductors and student musicians the opportunity to learn major works of orchestral repertoire while working each week with Maestro Robertson and/or special guests. It typically meets weekly on Friday mornings and performs once each semester. Because participation in Lab is voluntary and requires a major time commitment beyond regular orchestral studies, members are paid a small stipend through the student work-study program.