Brown University Orchestra

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The Brown University Orchestra playing at Sayles Hall on 3 March 2018.

The Brown University Orchestra was founded in 1918 and is composed of around 100 members of the Brown University community. It was led by conductor Paul Phillips from 1989 until 2017.[1] After an interim year led by Daniel Harp, conductor Mark Seto stepped into the role of Music Director in 2018.[2] Its alumni include members of the Chicago Symphony and other acclaimed orchestras.


The Brown University Orchestra has performed twice in Carnegie Hall, the latter concert featuring the Dave Brubeck Quartet; twice with Itzhak Perlman; once in a Providence concert that featured his daughter Navah Perlman '92 as piano soloist; and once in a benefit concert at Avery Fisher Hall. Recent special events include a 2002 tour to Montreal, a 2004 performance of Peter Boyer's multimedia composition Ellis Island: The Dream of America at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence featuring actors Barry Bostwick and Brown alumna Kate Burton, and a 2006-7 tour of China, which made the BUO only the second American college orchestra to tour China.[3] Most recently, the orchestra toured Ireland in 2013, performed with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2017, and co-commissioned Tracy Silverman's electric violin concerto Love Song to the Sun in 2018, featuring an interactive multimedia display designed by Brown professor Todd Winkler.


Mstislav Rostropovich, Isaac Stern, Pinchas Zukerman, Eugenia Zukerman and Joseph Kalichstein are among the renowned musicians who have appeared as soloists with the Brown University Orchestra. Composers-in-residence hosted by the orchestra include Steve Reich, Steven Stucky, Michael Torke, Nico Muhly, Lukas Foss, Samuel Adler, Philip Glass, and Joan Tower.

The Brown University Orchestra at Sayles Hall on 2 December 2016.


Previous conductors of the orchestra have included Martin J. Fischer 1917-2011, violist, Juilliard alumni circa/with Robert Mann & Walter Trampler, tenured conductor through the early 1980s, Eiji Oue and Richard Westerfield. In December 2006, Daniel Barenboim was a guest conductor when he visited with the West-Eastern Divan orchestra.[4]


In 2009, the Brown University Orchestra received the 3rd Prize ASCAP Award for "Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music" in the Collegiate Orchestra Division.[5] This is the seventh time that the Brown University Orchestra, a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, has won this prestigious national honor, having received ASCAP Awards previously in 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, and 2005.[6]


  1. ^ "About the Orchestra | Department of Music | Brown University".
  2. ^ "About the Orchestra | Department of Music | Brown University".
  3. ^ Skocpol, Michael (26 January 2007). "U. orchestra greeted 'like rock stars' during tour in China". The Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Brown to Host Daniel Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan Orchestra". Brown University Media Relations. November 27, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-08.
  5. ^ "ASCAP Announces Year 2009 Orchestra Awards for "Adventurous Programming"". American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  6. ^ "ASCAP Concert Music News". American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Retrieved 2009-07-09. (2004 and later)

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