Stanford Symphony Orchestra, Stanford Philharmonia, and Stanford Summer Symphony

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. 

MUSIC 151D Orchestra Online – Fall 2020

Because of the continuing health dangers posed by COVID-19, and with most students away from campus in Fall 2020, all Stanford University courses will take place online this quarter. Accordingly, Stanford Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Stanford Philharmonia (SP) will not meet in person and instead, Professor Paul Phillips will lead MUSIC 151D, Orchestra Online, which will meet via Zoom on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:50pm. Orchestra Online is an inquiry into orchestral music, through videos, recordings, and readings, featuring live discussions with prominent individuals from the musical world. 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. The format will be similar to SSO Online, described below, but with different course content and guest speakers.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Laura Najarian, bassoonist, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (Sept 15); Joshua Redman, jazz saxophone soloist (Sept 22); St Lawrence String Quartet (Sept 29); Bruce Adolphe, composer/pianist (Oct 6); Tracy Silverman, electric violinist & composer (Oct 13); Michael Morgan, music director, Oakland Symphony (Oct 20); Kronos Quartet (Oct 27); JoAnn Falletta, music director, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra (Nov 2 – Monday); Laura Karpman, composer and winner of the 2020 Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition for a Documentary Series or Special (Original Dramatic Score) for Why We Hate; (Nov 10); Itzhak Perlman, violin virtuoso (Nov 17)

In Fall 2020, Professor Phillips is also teaching MUSIC 152B/CSRE 152B Black Music Revealed: Black composers, performers, and themes from the 18th century to the present.

Orchestra auditions will not take place this fall. If circumstances allow SSO and SP to resume in person in winter or spring quarter, then auditions will be announced for later in the year. If you are interested in playing in orchestra, please fill out this Orchestra Participation Form to be added to the orchestra email list so that you’ll receive all announcements pertaining to SSO and SP, and orchestral activity at Stanford.

MUSIC 151C/151CZ, Stanford University Ragtime Ensemble is scheduled for Spring 2021 in the hope that in-person ensemble activity will resume by then. This ensemble, which will be led by Prof. 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.

SSO Online – Spring 2020

During Spring Quarter 2020, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and Stanford Philharmonia were merged in an online course called SSO Online (MUSIC 160/160Z), which combined 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” met via Zoom each Tuesday from 5:00-6:30pm Pacific Time beginning 7 April and ending 9 June 2020. The Keeping Score series on orchestral repertoire, produced by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, was used the course along with videos featuring Leonard Bernstein, Herbert von Karajan, and others. Topics included music by Beethoven, Berlioz, Copland, Ives, Mahler, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, John Adams, William Bolcom, Wang Lu, and Anthony Cheung.

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.

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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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