All ensembles listed below are open to students of any major!
Every single singer will be placed in one of the UW-Madison choirs regardless of their major. We welcome students of all levels of ability to study and perform outstanding choral music from all historical periods and from a variety of cultures. We have several ensembles that differ by size, skill level, and repertoire.
All new and returning students must audition for choir regardless of their major and objectives. No student will be allowed to sing in a choir without an audition. Auditions for the UW-Madison choral ensembles are held in a very relaxed environment and allow both faculty and students to discuss goals and expectations for each choir.
Auditions for the 2022 Spring Semester will be scheduled on an individual basis. Please create an account below to view audition materials and schedule your audition.
SPRING 2022 AUDITIONS:
WHO CAN AUDITION:
Auditions are open to music majors and non-majors on all instruments (jazz ensembles consist of roughly 50% music majors and 50% non-majors). Students must be enrolled in classes at UW–Madison and, upon a successful audition, be able to add a 1-credit section of MUS 262 or MUS 562 to their schedule.
Students wishing to audition on more than one instrument should sign up for multiple audition time slots (one per instrument). Saxophonists who would like to be considered for multiple saxophone chairs (alto, tenor, baritone) should audition only on their first-choice saxophone but indicate their available doubles on their audition form.
There is a wide range of skill and experience levels represented in the UW–Madison jazz ensembles. However, rhythm section players (piano, guitar, vibraphone, bass, drums) should have prior jazz ensemble experience. Improvisation experience is required for most instruments, but there are some ensemble opportunities for brass players who are novice improvisers.
ABOUT ENSEMBLE PLACEMENTS:
Students take a single audition, after which they are considered for placement in any of the Mead Witter School of Music’s six jazz ensembles. The jazz ensembles are not ranked by experience or skill level. Each ensemble has a different curricular and repertoire focus. For example, the Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble focuses exclusively on music of that diaspora.
Click here for descriptions of each jazz ensemble. The jazz faculty attempts to rotate participating students through different ensemble experiences from each year to the next.
Upon a successful audition, students will be assigned an ensemble based on multiple considerations, which include the student’s schedule availability, instrument distribution, and available space within the ensembles, among other pedagogical decisions. Attempts are made to match similar skill and experience levels and factor in the student’s stated ensemble preference. Once students have been assigned to an ensemble, they will receive a permission code for enrollment and must then register for the corresponding section of the 1-credit class: MUS 262 (for undergraduate credit) or MUS 562 (for graduate credit).
Marching & Varsity Bands
Registration is required to audition for the University of Wisconsin Marching Band.
Audition information for the 2022-23 season will be released spring/summer 2022.
Are you auditioning for Marching Band? Attend one or more Summer Clinics to prepare for auditions and the upcoming marching season. Attendance is REQUIRED of prospective drumline members; optional for prospective brass/woodwinds.
2022 Summer Clinic dates TBA
MARCHING BAND REG WEEK
(Pre-Season Auditions & Rehearsals)
These on-campus rehearsals are required for ALL returning and auditioning marching band students.
Dates to be released early summer 2022.
Early move-in to on-campus housing is available if needed (registration required).
University Opera and Opera Workshop
Admission to University Opera and Opera Workshop is by permission of instructor on a semester-by-semester basis. Typically, auditions for both courses take place in April for the following year. If you would like to be considered, please contact Prof. David Ronis: email@example.com.
Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra
Wind and String Auditions for Spring Semester 2022 will be held on December 13-15. Percussion Auditions will take place on January 20th.
Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra auditions are required for:
- All UW-Madison undergraduate music majors with a classical focus degree in woodwind, brass, percussion, and strings.
- All UW-Madison music majors who have been awarded a scholarship while pursuing a classical focus degree in woodwind, brass, percussion, and strings.
- All Summer Music Clinic Tuition Waiver recipients.
Any UW–Madison student wishing to be considered for placement in the Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra can audition.
Note: If a non-major undergraduate or graduate student wishes to play in a non-auditioned ensemble, they are invited to register for All University Strings (Music 60, section 1 or 2), or a University Band (Music 43, section 1, 2, or 3.) These ensembles meet one evening per week and perform regularly throughout the semester.
Rehearsal Schedule: Monday 6:30-8:00 PM or 8:15-9:45 PM
Course Number: 660-060. 1 credit.
Prerequisite: No audition required.
Description: All-University Strings is open to string players regardless of major. No audition is required, seating order is voluntary, and there is no ranking within the sections. The AUS program endeavors to be a true learning community, serving students from virtually every department and major with the goal of nurturing lifelong engagement in music and the arts.
Rehearsal Schedule: 7:00–9:30 PM, one night a week (Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday)
Course Number: 660-043
Prerequisite: No audition required.
Description: Three University Bands are available to non-music majors with an interest in making music. All three University Bands rehearse one night a week and share two concerts each semester, performing standard and exciting popular repertoire.
Student Chamber Ensembles
The ensemble $2 Broom is directed by Professor of Horn Daniel Grabois. Participation in $2 Broom is open to any School of Music student on any instrument or voice. The group functions mostly as an improvising ensemble, though members may choose to write for the group as well.
$2 Broom rehearses in EARS (the Electro-Acoustic Research Space), a new state of the art facility loaded with computers, software, MIDI instruments, and more. Students play their own instruments and learn to use the instruments in EARS. All music is improvised, and in rehearsals students learn how to create a piece of music cooperatively.
Typical rehearsals begin with guided improvisations using limiting rules and with free improv exercises. As students become more comfortable at improvisation, the rules tend to vanish and the music-making becomes more intuitive and creative. By the end of the semester, students are able to go on stage with no printed music and perform for an hour or more with complete comfort.
Computer electronics and hardware pedals in EARS can completely transform the sound each player makes.
Chamber, World, and Graduation Percussion Ensembles
The UW–Madison has multiple active percussion chamber ensembles that rehearse and perform regularly. The Chamber Percussion Ensemble (formerly Western Percussion Ensemble) is a chamber group dedicated to performing significant and interesting works. Repertoire from diverse trends in twentieth- and twenty-first-century chamber composition is explored with an emphasis on new compositions for percussion. Guest artists regularly perform with the Ensemble, and guest composers are often featured.
The World Percussion Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of significant percussive styles from around the globe. Traditions from various cultures—Cuba, Brazil, India, the Middle East, and more—are explored through performance and research, and most of the music selected is studied and practiced in the oral tradition. The Ensemble works diligently to present the music performed in its traditional folkloric settings. In 2010, the Ensemble won the Percussive Arts Society International World Percussion Ensemble Competition, resulting in a feature performance at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).
In addition to the Chamber and World Percussion Ensembles, the graduate percussion students perform with the Graduate Percussion Group. This chamber ensemble, which performs regular concerts on and off campus, is uniquely autonomous, allowing members to have primary input in repertoire selection, musical decisions, and more. With coaching from the percussion faculty, this ensemble provides extensive experience in advanced chamber ensemble preparation and performance in a musically democratic environment.
Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
Laura Schwendinger, artistic director
Javier Calderon, director
Marvin Rabin String Quartet
The Marvin Rabin String Quartet is the Mead Witter School of Music’s graduate string quartet. As project assistants, the quartet performs concerts at the Mead Witter School of Music and other university events, as well as performing community outreach. Members work closely with faculty, including the Pro Arte Quartet, and with its principal coach, Prof. Uri Vardi. The Rabin String Quartet has worked with notable guest artists, including violist Nobuko Imai, violist Lila Brown, and members of the Takács Quartet.
Perlman Piano Trio
The Perlman Piano Trio is funded through endowed scholarships generously provided by Dr. Kato Perlman.
UW–Madison Horn Choir
The UW–Madison Horn Choir, founded in 1974, rehearses 90 minutes per week and performs an annual holiday concert at the Chazen Museum. In the spring semester, the group reconfigures as Twisted Metal, an all-horn, rock-and-roll band for which the students arrange all the music. An extension of horn studio class, the Horn Choir is comprised primarily of horn majors and the standard of performance is high. It meets together as a performing group while constantly rotating part assignments, providing students with extensive training toward advanced section playing. Prof. Grabois’s rehearsal direction explores detailed and practical ideas on interpretation, styles and periods of music, section blending, and other significant elements of performance.
The Horn Choir regularly performs at regional and national music conventions and horn workshops. In fall 2005, the Choir worked extensively with composer, conductor, and horn player Gunther Schuller, who conducted and coached the Choir on his monumental work for 16 horns, Lines and Contrasts.
Daniel Grabois, director
UW–Madison Low Brass Ensemble
The UW–Madison Low Brass Ensemble is a collective of the Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. Low Brass rehearses weekly and performs at least one concert each semester, which features Low Brass as a whole as well as the Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble. The group plays original compositions, transcriptions, and arrangements of all kinds of music. This ensemble is open to any UW–Madison student who passes an in-person audition. The group also provides a wonderful opportunity for low brass players to double: trombonists can spend some time on euphonium, or tuba and euphonium players can play tenor or bass trombone, for example.
Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble
The Wisconsin Trumpet Ensemble is directed by Assistant Professor of Trumpet Jean Laurenz. Participation increases ensemble skills and presents the opportunity to study trumpet-specific repertoire. The ensemble includes trumpet undergraduate and graduate music majors and rehearses during the weekly studio class time in the first half of spring semester. Graduate students provide mentorship during rehearsals and are encouraged to take on leadership roles in repertoire selection, concerts, and competitions.
The Trumpet Ensemble’s repertoire spans from the Baroque to recent compositions. Student members have contributed arrangements to the Trumpet Ensemble’s library. In addition to on-campus performances, the Trumpet Ensemble gives outreach concerts at area churches and senior centers, performs at other state schools of music, and competes at the National Trumpet Competition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I audition on multiple instruments?
More information soon.
How do I rent an instrument to participate in an ensemble?
Please submit this form ONLY upon complete enrollment in the course for which
you need the instrument.
Students assigned to an auxiliary instrument by a large ensemble conductor are NOT charged a rental fee.
What if my schedule conflicts with a rehearsal time?
More information soon.
Can I observe an ensemble rehearsal?
Planning a visit?
If you intend to major in music, submit the request for a School of Music tour and indicate your interest in observing an ensemble rehearsal.
If you do not intend to major in music but would like to observe an ensemble’s rehearsal, reach out directly to the ensemble’s conductor for more information.
Can I schedule an educational clinic for my band, choir, orchestra, or jazz ensemble?
If you are a band, choral, jazz, or orchestra director looking for the opportunity for your students to work with a guest conductor, click here to learn more and apply.