General information about music at Harvard
This page, geared towards undergrads, describes many of the musical groups and opportunities at Harvard.
Orchestras with Harvard graduate students (in no particular order)
Note: Do not be discouraged if you have missed the official audition dates for some groups! Some orchestras will still be in need of certain types of instrumentalists (for example: violins, bass, tuba) and may make an exception for you. You should contact the orchestra manager or conductor to check if they still have openings.
This orchestra comprises students and affiliates from the Harvard graduate schools (including HLS) as well as the greater Boston community. It rehearses once a week.
LHO bills itself as the “oldest continually performing opera in New England.” The opera includes a mix of trained professionals and students from Harvard and the Boston area. It features a full-size orchestra, flexible scheduling, and a fun environment. HLS students have regularly participated.
This large orchestra consists of medical professionals as well as other musicians from the greater Boston community. Its many events include orchestral concerts as well as chamber music performances and outreaches. (LSO does not rehearse in Harvard Square).
The G&S orchestra provides music for G&S shows each semester. Instrumentalists from Harvard and the surrounding community regularly participate. Like the shows, the pit orchestra is humorous and low-key. Scheduling for rehearsals and shows is flexible.
MSO is a chamber orchestra managed by Harvard undergrads and led by a professional conductor. It mainly consists of undergrads, and it has also been open to graduate students, post-docs, and others from the community.
This group performs arrangements of “popular” compositions such as John Williams’ “Star Wars.” Most of the musicians are undergraduates.
HRO is Harvard’s oldest full-sized symphony orchestra. Auditions are competitive. Membership is primarily limited to undergraduates, but graduate students who play particular instruments may be in demand.
Bach Soc is a serious chamber-sized orchestra that is managed by Harvard undergrads and led by an undergraduate conductor. Though nearly all members of the orchestra are undergrads, they may need ringers.