Orchestral Studies

2020 Season Highlights include

Tchaikovsky 4th Symphony

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique

Rimsky Korsakov Scheherazade

Mahler Symphony #1 “Titan” 

Brahms Academic Festival Overture

Gershwin American in Paris 

Mozart Symphony #40

Tan Dun Internet Symphony

Additional works to be announced by December 15th!

Orchestral Experience:
The Sewanee Summer Music Festival offers two distinct, high level, serious  orchestral experiences, The Cumberland Orchestra and The Sewanee Symphony. The Festival Artistic Director, along with guest conductors and artistic leadership team, select a range of musically and technically demanding literature for each orchestra to perform. Each ensemble rehearsals six times weekly and are held in the highest artistic and musical standards possible. Each orchestra is comprised of both pre-college and college festival participants.
Recent conductors at the festival include – Robert Moody, Carl St. Clair, JoAnn Falletta, Andrew Grams, Karina Canellakis, Gemma New, Gene Moon, Oriol Sans, Jacomo Bairos, and Janna Hymes.
In addition to full orchestra rehearsals, students in both groups will participate in sectionals with festival faculty. This time with faculty allows for in-depth study of the selected literature and offers a unique opportunity for students to learn directly from experts in their field.
Classes and Seminars:
Students at sewanee are offered weekly master classes in their studio as well as seminars in a range of topic areas throughout the festival. During the 2020 season, seminar topics will include college audition techniques, orchestral etiquette, mock interviews for university faculty positions, chamber ensemble rehearsal techniques, the 21st century musician, surviving and thriving in a symphony orchestra, building your free-lance career, and more.

FAQ for orchestral studies:

Q: What is the average age for festival participants?

A: Each area/studio is slightly different, however the average age for festival participants in the summer of 2019 was 18.5. Generally, we feel that the festival is best suited for students age 14-25.

Q: How do I know which orchestra I will be placed in?

A: You will be placed in an ensemble for week 1 based on your audition application. This is to ensure that practice parts can be distributed.  Once you arrive in Sewanee, there will be a seating placement audition for the remaining weeks.  Every effort will be made to rotate students, based on ability, both in assignments ( principal, assistant etc…) and orchestra.

Q: Will I get practice parts?

A: Yes, a google drive folder with practice part ( or links to parts) and ensemble assignments in the spring.

Q: I am in high school, will I automatically be in the Cumberland Orchestra?

A: Ensemble placements are based on ability and experience.  We have had college students playing in cumberland and high school students playing in symphony.  Orchestral placement is based on how you play, not how old you are.

Q: I attended SSMF in the past, should I assume I will have the same assignments and orchestral placement. 

A: No – placement is based on your current ability level and the results of an  audition.

Q: I attend a really prestigous and famous school, so I’ll always be principal in the Sewanee Symphony, right? 

A: No – placement is based on your current ability level and the results of an audition.

2019 Season

Cumberland Orchestra

Gene Moon, Conductor / Week One

Copland Fanfare for the Common Man (with combined festival brass)
Jorge Variego: New Work—World Premiere
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No. 9, Finale

Janna Hymes, Conductor / Week Two

Kodaly Dances of Galanta
Bizet Carmen Fantasy
Tchaikovsky Capriccio Italien, Op. 45

Gene Moon, Conductor / Week Three

Gershwin Cuban Overture
Grøndahl Trombone Concerto, Dr. Joshua Bynum, soloist
Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol

Gene Moon, Conductor / Week Four

Glinka Overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla
Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition

Sewanee Symphony

Oriol Sans, Conductor / Week One

Thomas Ades Suite from Powder Her Face
Sergei Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances

JoAnn Falletta, Conductor / Week Two

Berlioz Roman Carnival Overture

Tchaikovsky 5th Symphony

Gemma New, Conductor / Week Three

Salina Fisher Rainphase
Bedrich Smetana The Moldau
Claude Debussy La Mer

Jacomo Bairos, Conductor / Week Four

De Falla Three-Cornered Hat
Rogerson Of Mountains
Respighi Pines of Rome


Cumberland Orchestra

The Cumberland Orchestra is a pre-professional symphony orchestra for advanced pre college and college students. Lead by gifted educators and supported by our dedicated faculty, the Cumberland Orchestra offers our pre-college and college participants the opportunity to study, learn and grow as orchestral performers, exploring signifigant literature from the symphonic cannon as well as contemporary works.  The Cumberland Orchestra performs weekly, Sunday afternoons at 2:30PM.


Sewanee Symphony

The Sewanee Symphony, is a pre-professional ensemble of college and pre college students that will study core literature, explore contemporary works, and collaborate with faculty soloists. Festival faculty guide weekly sectionals and attend rehearsals to reinforce fundamentals of orchestral performance. The Sewanee Symphony performs weekly, Sunday afternoons at 3:30PM.