COVID-19: Essential Information

Middlebury College Orchestra

Spring 2021 Announcements

MCO Spring 2021

General Information and Audition Guidelines

All information is subject to change 

General Information

Welcome back everyone! Unusual times continue to create unusual opportunities, and the Middlebury orchestra will be making the most of those this spring! Our orchestral family will divide into groups. 

Chamber Orchestra

Depending on the number of players and availability of instruments, we are planning on creating at least one chamber orchestra. The chamber orchestra will explore music for small orchestras that we don’t normally get to consider. 

Chamber Music

Chamber groups of 3-13 players will rehearse and study some of this fantastic repertoire. 

Langkawi Project

The MCO has joined with two other orchestras—a university orchestra and a semi-professional community orchestra—in a virtual orchestra project to premiere a new piece, a tone poem called Langkawi by composer Su Lian Tan. The piece will be rehearsed and recorded by all the ensembles. This is an exciting and unusual opportunity to not only work on a new piece, but also learn about how to rehearse and record under unusual conditions and work collaboratively with other groups.

Our concert this spring will consist of pieces that we record during the course of the semester and present virtually at the end of the semester. Sadly, because of COVID restrictions, the Concerto Competition is postponed until next year.


Health and safety

There is nothing more important than your health and wellness, so for orchestra members on campus we will be following the college’s guidelines regarding procedures designed to ensure that your health and wellness. These include the following:

  • All rehearsals and coachings will be at the Mahaney Arts Center in Rooms 221, 209, and the Concert Hall.
  • Rehearsal/coaching times will be at our regular times, Sunday and Thursday evenings from 7-9pm. 
  • Everyone must wear masks, including while playing. Wind players must wear a mask while playing. Some instruments will also be required to have bell coverings. More information about the specific types of masks and instrument covers for wind players who don’t have them is forthcoming.  
  • Social distancing of 6 feet minimum for all instruments will be observed.   
  • No more than 20 people will be allowed in MAC spaces at any time. 
  • Rehearsals (depending on group size) will be in 30-45 minute segments, alternating with 30 minute segments of downtime in the space. During the downtime no one is allowed in the room last used so that the air can completely refresh. 
  • Students will be responsible for cleaning their music stands and station before and after their use. 


Audition Guidelines

Spring auditions will be live online. If you have questions about the information below, please ask! And of course we appreciate your patience as we work out any problems!

Music for auditions

  • Please prepare two brief contrasting excerpts from your instrument’s solo literature that demonstrate your expressive and technical capabilities. For example, this may consist of a fast, technical excerpt and a slow, expressive one. While ideally they are from different pieces, excerpts may be from the same piece—just make sure they are as contrasting as possible. 
  • There will be no sight-reading this year. 

How to audition

  • Sign up for an audition time online by contacting the orchestra President, Ashley Wang, at You will receive instructions and a confirmation of your in-person audition or a Zoom link confirming your audition day and time. While this will likely be during the orchestra’s scheduled time, Sunday and Thursday 7-9pm EDT, audition times may happen at other times. If there are large gaps between auditions, we may contact you to see if a change of time is possible. 

EXCEPTION: Pianists, percussionists, and players with instruments in the large instrument storage area. If your instrument/equipment is with you personally, or you do not need equipment from large instrument storage, please sign up as indicated in the normal way as indicated above. If your instruments are stored in the large instrument storage area, please let the orchestra president know when you sign up for the audition. Your auditions may need to happen in-person.  

  • Fill out the student information sheet online prior to the day of your audition. Anyone who has not filled out the form by the time of the audition will have to re-schedule their audition to a later time. 
  • Find a place where you can play without distraction or interruption. Also make sure that you have a strong wifi (or wired) connection. 
  • Any reasonably good and clear computer or smartphone microphone should be sufficient. If you have external microphones that attach to either, feel free to use them. 
  • Auditions will be conducted on Zoom. On Zoom, either before the audition or at the beginning of it, please go to Audio settings (the arrow in the lower left corner of the Zoom screen next to the microphone icon, or Audio in the setting menu) and make sure the box next to “Automatically adjust microphone volume” is unchecked.
  • Be warmed up and ready to play few minutes before your audition time. Be prepared to wait—auditions can run longer than scheduled. It’s probably wise not to schedule a meeting immediately after your audition time.
  • Stand or sit close enough to your device/camera that we can see you, all of you and all of your instrument, but not so close that the sound distorts or part of your instrument is out of the frame. Please orient yourself and your stand so that the camera is at an angle to you so that we can see you and your instrument clearly in the video frame, not blocked by the stand. Woodwind and brass players: please avoid pointing your bells at the camera/device. If you have time, try making a test video for yourself to see if you are happy with the way it looks and sounds. You will not be evaluated on the quality of the device, but it helps to see and hear you in your best form. If you have multiple audio/video settings on your device, try experimenting with them to find the best quality.
  • Don’t leave setting up your stand, music, device, and chair (if you’re using one) until the last minute. Auditions have to be timed, so spending a lot of it fixing your stand or device is less time you get to relax and play.
  • Remember to breathe! Everyone wants the best for you!


About the Middlebury College Orchestra

The MCO is a full symphony orchestra that explores the exciting, dynamic repertoire for orchestra of the last two and a half centuries, from Bach and Mozart to Adams and Lutoslawski.  We welcome students from all disciplines and concentration from across campus—you do not need to be a music major to participate. Faculty and staff, community members, and professional players are also included when possible.  

The orchestra presents two concerts a year of major repertoire and is involved in special events. Over the last two decades, the orchestra has performed with professional soloists from the Metropolitan Opera, as well as the College Choir, Concerto Competition winners, in Theater Department productions, radio performances, and in festivals and symposia.

As part of its mission to promote and engage new works, the orchestra has premiered over twenty new compositions and engages in special projects. In 2018 it recorded an original film score to accompany the animated short film Estrellita, which has won numerous awards and been featured at US and international film festivals. In 2019, the ensemble performed with indie rock superstar Pete Francis (Pete Francis, Dispatch) in an arrangement of a new track from his soon-to-release album. It finished 2019 with the premiere of a piano concerto written by Jack DeBouter (’20) and featuring piano soloist Gareth Cordery (’20). We hope you will join us as our exciting journeys continue!

Orchestra CommitteeEstrellita poster

Contact Information

President, Ashley Wang,

Treasurer, Matt Brockley

Librarian, Stella Roseburrough-Borras

Social Chair, Giulia Shaughnesssy

Social Chair, Wheeler Jarvis

Music Director, Evan Bennett


MCO members with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras

MCO students with Performing Arts Series cellist Jean Guihen Queyras


The Orchestra meets Sunday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-9:00pm.

Orchestra for course credit

Orchestra is also a class (MUSC 0205A) that students register for during their second semester of full participation (one credit). 

Middlebury College Orchestra Repertoire

Recent repertoire


Beethoven                    Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”

Berlioz                         Romeo and Juliette: Scene d’amour

Borodin                        Symphony No. 2

Chabrier                       Espana

Copland                        An Outdoor Overture

DeBouter                      Piano Concerto (premiere)

Dvorak                         Symphony No. 8

Mendelssohn                Symphony No. 5, “Reformation” (revised 1830 version)

Weber                          Der Freischutz Overture

Wagner                        Siegfried Idyll



Past repertoire (selections)


Adams                         The Chairman Dances 

J.S. Bach                      Orchestral Suite No. 2                                       

                                   Concerto for two violins

Barber                          Adagio for Strings

                                   Vanessa (selections)

Beethoven                    Symphonies Nos. 1-8

                                   Overture to Fidelio

                                   Egmont Overture                                              

Berlioz                         Symphonie Fantastique             

Bizet                            Carmen Suites 1 & 2

Borodin                        Prince Igor: Overture and Polovetsian Dances   

Brahms                        Tragic Overture

                                   Symphony No. 2

Britten                         Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury

Copland                        Appalachian Spring (suite)

                                   El Salon Mexico

                                   Billy the Kid Suite

                                   Lincoln Portrait

                                   The Red Pony Suite

Debussy                       Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Donizetti                      L’elisir d’amore (arias)

Dukas                          Fanfare to La Peri

Dvorak                         Symphony No. 8                        

                                   Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World”)          

Elgar                            Variations on an Original Theme ("Enigma")     

Ellington                      The River (selections)

Gluck                           Orpheus and Euridice (selections)

Gounod                        Petite Symphonie for Wind Instruments

Haydn                          Symphony No. 92 ("Oxford")     

                                   Te Deum (with College Choir)

Ives                             The Unanswered Question                     

Lalo                             Overture to Le Roi d'Ys

Lutoslawski                  Mala Suite

Mahler                         Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen

Mendelssohn                Symphony No. 3  ("Scottish")

                                  Symphony No. 4 ("Italian")

                                   The Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)

Mozart:                        Symphony No. 41 ("Jupiter")

                                   Eine kleine Nachtmusik

                                  Concerto No. 3 for horn and orchestra

                                  Cosi fan Tutte (selected arias)

                                  Overture to The Magic Flute

                                  Overture to The Marriage of Figaro

Mussorgsky-Ravel        Pictures at an Exhibition

Penderecki                  Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima   

Poulenc                       Concerto for Two Pianos

Previn                         Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

Prokofiev                     Romeo and Juliet, Suite No. 2

Rachmaninoff               Aleko: Aleko’s Cavatina

Ravel                          Piano Concerto in G

                                  Ma Mere l'Oye (Mother Goose Suite)

Respighi                     The Birds

Rimsky-Korsakoff        Scheherazade    

                                 Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh Suite                                             

Rossini                       Overture to The Barber of Seville

                                 Overture to La Gazza Ladra                              

Ruggles                      Angels

Schumann                  Symphony No. 3"Rhenish"       

Shostakovich              Symphony No. 5

                                 Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad”

Sibelius                      Symphony No. 1

                                 Symphony No. 3

Strauss                       Emperor Waltzes

R. Strauss                   Suite in B-flat

Stravinsky                   Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra                                      

                                  Firebird Suite (1919)

Franz von Suppe          Light Cavalry Overture                                                 

Tchaikovsky                 Symphony No. 5 

                                  The Nutcracker: Suite No. 1

Verdi                           La Forza del Destino Overture

                                  Un Ballo in Maschera (selections)

Vivaldi                        Concerto for two cellos

Wagner                       Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg

About the Music DirectorEvan Bennett

Conductor Evan Bennett Is Music Director of the Middlebury College Orchestra and the Northeastern University Symphony Orchestra. He trained also as a composer, oboist, and pianist, winning awards for both composition and as a solo oboist. At nineteen he began playing professionally with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the Juventas Ensemble, Magnitude6, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Da Capo Chamber Players, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Middlebury Chamber Soloists, Lowell Opera, and other ensembles at venues such as Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. His passion for contemporary music has led to conducting the premieres of over 15 new works. His compositions have been premiered by the Brodsky String Quartet, Gemini, Cardinal Brass Quintet, Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra, and a broadcast over BBC Radio.

Awards include the Yehudi Menuhin Prize and a Naumburg fellowship. In addition to his musical activities, he has been a guest lecturer and panelist on music education in the US and internationally, including for the Korean government as part of its national KIGA program and at Tufts University. A former faculty member of New England Conservatory and Middlebury College, he was also Executive Director of the NEC at Walnut Hill conservatory program. He currently is a faculty member at Northeastern University where in addition to directing the orchestra he teaches chamber music, and a faculty member at the Longy School of Music at Bard College in the Composition and Theory Department. He holds degrees from Harvard, the Juilliard School, and Princeton University.

Department of Music

Mahaney Center for the Arts
72 Porter Field Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753