Instrumental Ensembles and Chamber Music
Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Leah McGray, Conductor
The Geneseo Symphony Orchestra (GSO) is a selective group of around 60-70 musicians, made up of the most advanced woodwind, brass, percussion students, as well as strings, who perform the highlights of the symphonic literature in five public performances throughout the year. The GSO performs yearly to accompany the student winners of the Geneseo Concerto Competition, where our most promising performers are given a chance to shine in the spotlight, playing solos which have been meticulously prepared throughout the year. Unique among its peer ensembles from other colleges and universities, the GSO counts Geneseo’s artist-faculty among its members in every section of the orchestra. This provides our students with an unparalleled learning opportunity.
The GSO rehearses twice weekly, for 90 minutes, and in recent years has performed and rehearsed repertoire as diverse as Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony and music from Star Wars and Game of Thrones. Other recent repertoire has included: Ottorino Respighi: Fountains of Rome; Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto no. 2; Camille Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre; Modest Mussorgsky: Night on Bald Mountain; Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Concerto; Franz Joseph Haydn: Die Schöpfung [The Creation]
Wind Ensemble, Dr. Leah McGray, Conductor
An ensemble of about 50 players, Wind Ensemble is open to all Geneseo students who qualify by audition. The Wind Ensemble, which is dedicated to the presentation of the most challenging traditional and contemporary music for large band, performs frequently on campus and in the region. Recent concerts have included works by Grainger, Gould, Hanson, Hindemith, Holsinger, Jacob, Khatchaturian, Mussorgsky, Reed, Sparke, and Vaughan Williams.
Jazz Ensemble, Bill Tiberio, Director
Open to all Geneseo students who qualify by audition, Jazz Ensemble provide experience not only in literature for big bands but also in stylistic improvisation and composition for various jazz combos. The group tours annually, sponsors workshops for regional high schools, and regularly hosts renowned guest artists, such as Wes Andersen, Gideon Feldstein, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Reed, Byron Stripling, and Fred Sturm.
String Band, Jim Kimball, Director
The Geneseo String Band, made up of SUNY Geneseo students, alumni and local residents, has been in existence since 1976 and has played concerts, receptions and dances in a wide variety of venues. The band was organized as an ensemble within the music department to perform a variety of old-time American popular and folk music, especially that characteristic of central and western New York and in the Irish-American community. The band ranges in size from about 4 to 20, has used a wide range of traditional instruments and performed to date more than a thousand tunes and songs.
Percussion Ensemble, Jim Tiller, Director
Open to all Geneseo students who qualify by audition, the purposes of the ensemble are to elevate the level of percussion performance and teaching, increase understanding of the needs and responsibilities of the percussionist, and promote communication among all areas of the percussive arts. Students in the ensemble also may take private lessons in the four basic performance areas: orchestral snare drum, timpani, drum set, and keyboard. Percussionists study the modern performance practices of various styles of music, including that of jazz, rock, ethnic, symphonic, and chamber. Percussion Ensemble sponsors workshops for regional high schools, and regularly performs with master artists, such as John Beck, Evelyn Glennie, Andy Harnsberger, David Mancini, Rich Thompson, and Robert Van Sice.
Chamber music studies at Geneseo are geared toward music majors, but more broadly to any interested students taking lessons with a Geneseo faculty member who also desire a small ensemble experience and play at an advanced level. String students might explore the quartets of Beethoven, Dvorak, and Haydn, while brass students might study quintets by Eric Ewazen, and wind players might delve into pieces by Francis Poulenc. The configuration of each chamber ensemble (trio, quartet, quintet, etc.) and the individual members of the ensemble are carefully picked by Geneseo faculty members, who match personalities and ability levels of the students within the group to ensure a wonderful experience for all involved. All chamber groups are coached by Geneseo music faculty, and chamber music may be taken for 1 credit per semester.