Bonn: The First Step

The Symphony has arrived in Germany! After touching down at Frankfurt airport, we blazed toward the city of Bonn, our first stop on the tour.


Bonn was once the capital of West Germany, during the period after World War II. Though the national capital was moved back to Berlin after 1990, with the unification of East and West Germany, the city continues to house numerous civil servants from the federal government, as well as several United Nations agencies.

Along the way to Bonn, we saw the verdant fields and woods of the German countryside

Our tour guides mentioned that Bonn is sometimes called a “large town” rather than a full-scale city; it has a population of 328,000 compared to Berlin’s 3.5 million inhabitants. However, this is not to its detriment. The streets were pleasant and walkable, with lots of green public spaces.

Like many other Germany cities, Bonn encourages walking and bicycling as forms of transit, and we found the old city center and surrounding streets to be eminently walkable.

Particularly noteworthy are the bike lanes: bicyclists zipped down special paths separated from cars, often painted adjacent to (and level with) the sidewalk. If you are on foot, be sure to stay out of the bike lane!

Collage of bicycle photos

Bonn is a university town, with the Universität Bonn as a focal point. We noticed plenty of students out on the grass enjoying the sunshine, as Stanford students are also apt to do.

Universitat Bonn's "Oval"

It’s just like the Stanford Oval!

Although Universitat Bonn’s version is actually more of a rectangle …

Despite many yawns, we also had our first rehearsal in the afternoon, as our series of concerts begins tomorrow.

Woodwinds warming up on stage.

Special chairs on the stage made it easier to rehearse.

We’re catching a good night’s rest before our tour of the Beethovenhaus in the morning, so for now, gute Nacht!

This Symphony Diary was prepared by Kevin Hsu.

Goodbye, Dink, and hello, Bing!

It’s been a busy couple weeks here for us at SSO – we just had our final concert at Dinkelspiel Auditorium before we officially move into Bing Concert Hall, our new home! Our concerto competition winner (and SSO violinist!), Eric Wu ’13, played Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 magnificently, and we rounded out the performance with Beethoven’s iconic Symphony No. 5

We also started rehearsals in Bing this month! It is truly a marvelous venue, and we are so incredibly fortunate to be able to call it our new home. We are looking forward to helping usher in a new era for SSO and the arts at Stanford in January!

Finally, we’ve got a new Facebook page! Make sure to head on over to and “like” us to stay in touch, receive up-to-date news and concert info, and get exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peeks of all our activities!

Our spook-tacular Halloween concert

Photos before and after our annual Halloween concert!

String sectionals with Nancy Wu

We were fortunate enough to hold a string sectional recently with Nancy Wu, associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera! Thanks to Nancy and all the other local musicians who have come in to make sectionals possible for everyone in the orchestra!

2012 – 2013 season off to an exciting start!

It’s been a busy past two weeks for us at the Stanford Symphony – there was tremendous interest in joining the orchestra this year; the excitement was palpable even before the school year started, with an unprecedented number of interested musicians contacting us. Our table at the music department’s open house was likewise kept busy by a constant stream of incoming freshmen inquiring about SSO.

Following the hecticness of auditions, SSO started rehearsals last week. The first few rehearsals have been quite eventful: first, all of our musicians came together for the first time this season last Thursday, and we’re proud to have a talented and diverse group of musicians. SSO then held our annual retreat at Monte Toyon, a camp and conference center nestled among the redwood forests near Santa Cruz. It was a fun but productive two days as SSO musicians rehearsed and got to know each other a little better!

SSO members bond over the campfire with s’mores!


Finally, SSO hosted members of the Shanghai University String Orchestra on Monday, who delighted us with a brief performance and rehearsed jointly with us. It was a great opportunity to welcome our peers and fellow musicians from Shanghai!

Fall 2012 welcome and updates

Fall 2012 welcome and updates

Dear friends,

The Stanford Symphony Orchestra is extremely excited to announce our 122nd season. This season marks a new chapter in SSO history, as we prepare to move into Stanford’s new Bing Concert Hall in the beginning of 2013. We are also pleased to announce a partnership with Stanford Live (formerly Stanford Lively Arts), as well as the Beethoven Project, a season-long celebration of Beethoven’s artistic genius. This ambitious project encompasses performances of all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies, as well as the entirety of his piano concertos (with Van Cliburn gold-medal pianist Jon Nakamatsu), and will be highlighted by a tour to Europe – in Beethoven’s footsteps – in the summer of 2013.

Your orchestra committee has been busy preparing for this exciting season. First, we’re pleased to announce this re-launched webpage, which has a brand new design. Thanks to Golf, Ben-han, and Dean, who have worked hard on this all summer; we hope that the new webpage is easy to access and makes it convenient to find information. We’ve also been planning our annual fall retreat, and getting ready for our first rehearsal – we can’t wait to get started with everything!

Whether you are returning to SSO as a musician, thinking about joining us in this historical season, or looking to enjoy our concerts this year,  we look forward to a thrilling season!


Jeremy and Candice

SSO committee presidents

On behalf of the entire SSO board