Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia in 2020-21

The Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia are expected to resume in-person this fall with modifications to allow rehearsing to take place during the coronavirus pandemic. As of July 2020, it is anticipated that a maximum of 12 persons may be allowed to meet and rehearse together in Bing Concert Hall, with SSO and SP taking place in person in Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters. To give as many as students as possible the opportunity to participate, Professor Paul Phillips plans to lead four small orchestras per quarter, as follows:

  • SSO – Section 1         M 7-8pm, Th 6:30-7:50pm
  • SSO – Section 2         M 8:30-9:30pm, Th 8:30-9:50pm
  • SP – Section 1            Tu 6:30-7:50pm
  • SP – Section 2            Tu 8:30-9:50pm

If the COVID-19 restrictions continue into Summer 2021, the SSO and SP in sections will continue through Summer Quarter. However, if conditions allow a full orchestra to rehearse together by that time, then Stanford Summer Symphony (MUSIC 160S/160SZ) will take place in Summer 2021 instead.

Anyone interested in playing in one of the Stanford Orchestras in 2020-21 should fill out this Orchestra Participation Form. With the Fall Quarter slated to begin on September 14, auditions will be held on September 12 and 13, possibly beginning a few days earlier. Auditions will be required only for new students – incoming freshmen and anyone who has not played in SSO or SP before. Prior members of SSO or SP will not be required to audition. Audition requirements, listed here, include a work of your choice and no excerpts. (In future years, excerpts will again be required for returning students.)

Repertoire for these small orchestras has not yet been determined, but could include such works as the ones listed below throughout the year. (Works requiring more than 11 players may not be possible.) Suggestions for additional works are welcome; please email suggestions to New and returning orchestra members will be asked their repertoire preferences, which will be taken into account when determining each section of SSO and SP.

  • ANTON ARENSKY    Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op. 35A (str: 3 3 2 2 1) 15’
  • J. S. BACH    Brandenburg Concertos (varied instrumentation)
  • LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN    Septet (0 0 1 1 – 1 0 0 0 str: 1 0 1 1 1) 40’
  • ANTHONY BURGESS    In memoriam Princess Grace (str: 3 3 2 2 1) 6’
  • AARON COPLAND    Appalachian Spring – original version for 13 instruments (1 0 1 1 – 0 0 0 0 pf str: 2 2 2 2 1) 33’
  • ARCANGELO CORELLI    Concerti Grossi
  • ANTONIN DVORAK    Serenade in E Major, Op. 22 (str: 3 3 2 2 1) 26’
  • EDWARD ELGAR    Serenade in E Minor, Op. 20 (str: 3 3 2 2 1) 15’
  • PHILIP GLASS    Symphony No. 3 (str: 3 3 2 2 1; intended for 5 5 4 3 2) 25’
  • EDVARD GRIEG    Holberg Suite, Op. 40 (str: 3 3 2 2 1) 21’
  • FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN    Early symphonies
  • FELIX MENDELSSOHN    String symphonies
  • WOLFGANG A. MOZART    Early symphonies; wind & string serenades
  • CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (JOSEPH BOULOGNE)    Symphony in G Major, Op. 11, No. 1 (2ob, 2hn, str) 14’
  • CHEVALIER DE SAINT-GEORGES (JOSEPH BOULOGNE)    Symphony in D Major, Op. 11, No. 2 [also called L’Amant Anonyme Overture] (2ob, 2hn, str) 11’
  • ARNOLD SCHOENBERG    Chamber Symphony No. 1 for 15 players (fl/pic, ob, EH, Eb cl, cl, bass cl, bsn, c-bsn, 2hn, str: 1 1 1 1 1) 20’
  • ARNOLD SCHOENBERG    Serenade, Op. 24 (cl, bass cl, mandolin, gtr, vln, vla, vc, bass voice)   31’
  • FRANZ SCHUBERT     Octet (0 0 1 1 – 1 0 0 0  str: 1 1 1 1 1)  60’
  • IGOR STRAVINSKY     Eight Instrumental Miniatures (2 2 2 2 – 1 0 0 0, str: 1 1 2 2 0)  8’
  • IGOR STRAVINSKY     Octet (1 0 1 2 – 0 2 1tenor trb+1bass trb 0)  16’
  • IGOR STRAVINSKY     L’Histoire du Soldat (0 0 1 1 – 0 1 1 0, perc, 1vln, 1cb, perc)  60’
  • IGOR STRAVINSKY     Concertino for 12 Instruments  (fl, ob, EH, cl(A), 2bsn, 2tpt(Bb), ten trb, bass trb, 1vln, 1vc) 6’
  • PYOTR I. TCHAIKOVSKY     Elegie in G (str: 3 3 2 2 1)  7’
  • PYOTR I. TCHAIKOVSKY     Souvenir de Florence (str: 2 2 2 2 1)  30’
  • PYOTR I. TCHAIKOVSKY     Serenade for Strings, Op. 48 (str: 3 3 2 2 1)  32’
  • RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS     The Charterhouse Suite (str: 3 3 2 2 1)  15’
  • ANTONIO VIVALDI    The Four Seasons, or other concerti grossi
  • GEORGE WALKER     Lyric for Strings (str: 3 3 2 2 1)  6’
  • PETER WARLOCK     Serenade for Strings (str: 3 3 2 2 1)  6’
  • PETER WARLOCK     Capriol Suite (str: 3 3 2 2 1)   10’

Note: The instrumentation numbers above represent flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon – horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, and strings: violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass.

No one knows when live concerts with audiences will be able to take place once again. In the meantime, SSO and SP plan to live-stream performances during 2020-21.

The Stanford University Ragtime Ensemble has been proposed as a unit-bearing performance ensemble to be offered in Spring 2021. This ensemble, which will be led by Paul Phillips, will play ragtime repertoire by Scott Joplin, James Lamb, Eubie Blake, and others, scored for the Red Back Book ensemble of 12 players: flute/piccolo, clarinet, cornet (or trumpet), trombone, tuba, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, drums, and piano.

A new course, “Orchestra Online”, similar to the “SSO Online” course (described below) that was offered in Spring 2020, is planned for Winter 2021. This 2-unit course will focus on American music, with an emphasis on music by Black composers, and will include guest speakers. If it turns out that SSO and SP are not allowed to meet in person, then “Orchestra Online” will also be offered in those quarters.

The plans described above for SSO and SP may change during the year, depending on the COVID-19 situation and the guidelines mandated by Stanford University and the County of Santa Clara. Any changes to SSO and SP would be announced as soon as they are necessitated.


SSO Online – Spring 2020

During Spring Quarter 2020, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia are merged in an online course called “SSO Online” (MUSIC 160/160Z), which combines inquiry into orchestral music, through videos, recordings, and readings, with live discussions with prominent individuals from the musical world. Led by Professor Paul Phillips, “SSO Online” meets via Zoom each Tuesday from 5:00-6:30pm Pacific Time beginning 7 April and ending 9 June 2020. The syllabus can be viewed here. All classes will be recorded and available to all participants in order to make it possible for anyone to take the course, even if they have a conflict with the meeting time or reside in a time zone that precludes them from participating in the live sessions. Students may register for MUSIC 160, for one unit, or for MUSIC 160Z, the zero-unit option. Auditions are not required to register for MUSIC 160 in Spring 2020 and all interested students are encouraged to enroll. MUSIC 160 will be graded Satisfactory/No Credit in accordance with the Spring 2020 grading policy approved by the Faculty Senate on 26 March. Any questions should be emailed to

The Keeping Score series on orchestral repertoire, produced by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, will be viewed throughout the course. The subjects of these videos are Beethoven, Berlioz, Copland, Ives, Mahler, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Other course materials will include videos featuring Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, and others, and readings on a variety of musical subjects. Please note that “SSO Online” will not take place at the usual SSO rehearsal times on Monday and Thursday evenings, but instead will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 5:00pm. The resumption of regular orchestral activity on campus will begin as soon as possible once the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Mindy Kaufman, solo piccolo/flute of the New York Philharmonic (April 7); Erin Keefe, concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, and her husband Osmo Vänskä, music director of the Minnesota Orchestra since 2003 and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra beginning January 2020 (April 14); Blair Tindall, Stanford MA ’00 (journalism) and author of Mozart in the Jungle (April 21); Vinay Parameswaran, assistant conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra (April 28); Joshua Kosman, classical music critic of the San Francisco Chronicle (May 5); Wang Lu, composer and professor at Brown University, and her husband Anthony Cheung, composer/pianist and professor at the University of Chicago (May 12); Aaron P. Dworkin, founder of The Sphinx Organization, author of The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives, and Professor of Arts Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan, and his wife Afa Dworkin, president & artistic director of The Sphinx Organization (May 19); William Bolcom, Stanford DMA ’64 and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and his wife Joan Morris, mezzo-soprano (May 26); Greg Sandow, music critic and composer, and his wife Anne Midgette, former music critic of the Washington Post (June 2); and John Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and father of Samuel Adams, Stanford ’08 (June 9).

Supported by a COVID-19 Creative Community Response Grant from


Due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to help protect the health of our communities, all Department of Music concerts are canceled until further notice.

The Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Philharmonia, and Stanford Summer Symphony provide outstanding opportunities for the practice and enjoyment of orchestral music. SSO and SP rehearse and perform throughout the academic year, with SSS taking place each July. Most concerts are performed in Bing Concert Hall. Collaborative performances often take place with the Stanford Chamber Chorale, Stanford Symphony Chorus, University Singers, Stanford Wind Symphony, and Stanford Live. Membership in SSO, SP, and SSS is open by audition to all Stanford students (undergraduate and graduate), medical students, Stanford staff and faculty, and members of the community of all ages, with priority given to Stanford students. Members do not have to major in music; in fact, fewer than 5% of SSO and SP members are music majors, with most orchestra members majoring in STEM fields. 

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2019-20 Season


CANCELED SSO/SSC WINTER CONCERTS · Stanford Symphony Orchestra & Stanford Symphonic Chorus · Friday, March 6 · 7:30 pm · Tickets · Saturday, March 7 · 7:30 pm · Tickets · Bing Concert Hall


CANCELED STANFORD LIVE • FAURÉ REQUIEM · Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Chamber Chorale & Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge University · Thursday, April 2 · 7:30 pm · Bing Concert Hall

CANCELED ADMIT WEEKEND CONCERT · Stanford Symphony Orchestra · Thursday, April 23 · 7:30 pm · Memorial Church

CANCELED SP SPRING CONCERT · Stanford Philharmonia · Friday, May 15 · 7:30 pm · Bing Concert Hall

CANCELED SSO SPRING CONCERTS · Stanford Symphony Orchestra · Friday, May 29 · Saturday, May 30 · 7:30 pm · Bing Concert Hall

Stanford Symphony Orchestra

Stanford Philharmonia

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