Ensembles & Activities

Hopkins Symphony Orchestra consists of two orchestras. The Symphony Orchestra is the flagship symphonic orchestra, with a typical ensemble size of 80-90 musicians for each concert performing standard and contemporary symphonic literature including commissions, concertos, opera, and oratorios. The Concert Orchestra is a smaller ensemble, with typically 40-50 musicians for each concert, performing symphonic and chamber orchestra repertoire. The Concert Orchestra is less performance-based, and more training-based, with a focus on building musicianship and ensemble skills.

The following chart provides a detailed side-by-side comparison of the ensembles.

Hopkins Symphony Orchestra musicians are JHU students (undergraduate and graduate), JHU alumni/faculty/staff, and area musicians with no other direct JHU affiliation. HSO is an extracurricular program of Johns Hopkins University, within the Homewood Arts Programs.

Ensemble info below is subject to change.

Symphony OrchestraConcert Orchestra
ConductorJed Gaylin
Performances4 Symphonic and 1 Family Concert2 Concerts
RehearsalsTypically 8 per concert,
Monday evenings 7-9:30pm, added Thursday & Friday rehearsals on concert week.
Typically 7 per concert, Sat/Sun 2-4:30pm, including dress rehearsal on concert day.
Concert TimesSaturdays at 7:30pm,
Family Concert on a Sunday, 3pm.
Sunday afternoons, 3pm.
Rehearsal & Concert VenuesShriver Hall
Bunting-Meyerhoff Interfaith Center
RepertoireStandard and contemporary symphonic literature. Concerts typically features a guest soloist. Other repertoire includes commissions and world premieres, and choral/opera selections.

Standard, contemporary, and chamber orchestra repertoire. Typically, one concert per year is strings-only repertoire. Concerts also feature small chamber ensemble performances. While HCO performs 2 concerts a year, it serves as a training orchestra and focuses on building musicianship and ensemble skills.
Ensemble Size80-9040-50
AdmissionBy audition only, each September. Acceptance into the symphony is very competitive, and is more selective than for the concert orchestra. Mid-season admission is extremely rare. Musicians accepted into the symphony orchestra are welcome also to play in the concert orchestra.By audition only, each September. Mid-season admission is rare, but can be arranged as needed. Acceptance into concert orchestra is less competitive than the symphony orchestra. HCO is a training-based orchestra with a focus on building musicianship skills. Musicians accepted only into the concert orchestra are not permitted to play in the symphony orchestra unless they re-audition successfully.
Required CommitmentMost concerts each season; at least 6 of 8 rehearsals per concert. 2 concerts each season; attendance required at rehearsals.
Concert DressOption 1: Black tuxedo or suit jacket, black trousers, white shirt, black bow tie, black dress shoes, long black socks
Option 2: Full-length black dress with ¾ sleeve (minimum)
Option 3: Dressy black top with ¾ sleeve (minimum) paired with ankle length skirt or black pants
Option 1: Solid black button-front long-sleeved dress shirt or long-sleeved turtleneck, black dress trousers, black dress shoes, long black socks
Option 2: Full-length black dress with ¾ sleeve (minimum)
Option 3:Dressy black top with ¾ sleeve (minimum) paired with ankle length skirt or black pants
Membership for Both Orchestras</spanOpen to JHU undergraduate and graduate students from all schools except the Peabody Conservatory; JHU faculty, staff, alumnae/i; and community musicians. Qualified JHU undergraduates are given first priority for admission.
Chamber EnsemblesMusicians may form independent chamber ensembles, request coaching, and, if they wish, request to perform at Concert Orchestra performances. A portion of each Concert Orchestra concert is allotted for chamber ensemble performances.
Concerto CompetitionBi-annual concerto competition open to all JHU undergraduate and graduate students not majoring in music. Winner/s are invited to play with the Symphonic and Concert orchestras as designated by judges.