Orchestral Studies

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 the artistic leadership team, selects a range of musically and technically demanding literature for each orchestra to perform. Each ensemble is held in the highest artistic and musical standards possible, rehearsing six times per week. The orchestras are 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. Recent seminar topics have included 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 freelance career, and more.

Programming Highlights for SSMF 2022:

Brahms: Symphony No. 4, Op. 98
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Op.35
Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Dun: Internet Symphony No. 1 “Eroica”
Hailstork: Three Spirituals for Orchestra
Revueltas: Sensemaya, R. 48, 67

“I had a FANTASTIC experience—I gained so many lifelong friends and worked with amazing musicians!”

Cumberland Orchestra

The Cumberland Orchestra is a pre-professional symphony orchestra for advanced pre-college and college students. Led by gifted educators and supported by our dedicated faculty, the Cumberland Orchestra offers these participants the opportunity to learn and grow as orchestral performers, exploring significant literature from the symphonic cannon as well as contemporary works. The Cumberland Orchestra performs weekly on Friday evenings at 7:30 pm.

Sewanee Symphony

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

What is the average age for Festival participants?

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.