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Orchestra

Paul Phillips, conductor

The Brown University Orchestra, founded in 1918, is recognized as one of the finest university orchestras in the United States. Led by music director Paul Phillips since 1989, its membership consists of approximately 100 student musicians from Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. In December 2006, the Brown Orchestra became one of the first US collegiate orchestras to tour China, performing a two-week New Year’s concert tour of Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian, Suzhou, Changzhou and Ningbo produced by the Dalian Yilong Performance Company. Other highlights of the 2006-07 season include performances of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 in C# minor, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 in G major, Wagner’s Tannhäuser Overture, Michael Abels’s Global Warming, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (with Concerto Competition Winner Bonni Brodsky ’09), William Kraft’s Concerto for Timpani and Orchestra (with Concerto Competition Winner Vinay Parameswaran ’09), and Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along (stage directed by Curt Columbus, Artistic Director of Trinity Repertory Company). Guest artists in 2006-07 include pianist Christopher O’Riley, host of From the Top on National Public Radio; soprano Kathryne Jennings, voice instructor in Brown’s Applied Music Program and soloist for the China tour; Portuguese conductor António Baptista; and conductor-pianist Daniel Barenboim, who led an open rehearsal with the Brown Orchestra during his residency at Brown in December 2006 with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Altogether, the orchestra’s 2006-07 schedule comprises 26 performances: ten orchestral concerts in Providence, eight concerts in China and eight performances of Merrily We Roll Along.

Itzhak Perlman, Navah Perlman ’92, Pinchas Zukerman, Eugenia Zukerman, Isaac Stern, Sergiu Luca, Mstislav Rostropovich, Laurence Lesser, Masuko Ushioda and Joseph Kalichstein are among the many renowned musicians who have appeared as soloists with the Brown University Orchestra in past seasons. Actors Barry Bostwick and Brown alumna Kate Burton ’79 performed Peter Boyer's multimedia composition Ellis Island: The Dream of America with the orchestra in 2004 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence. Composers-in-residence hosted by the Brown Orchestra include Steve Reich, Steven Stucky, Michael Torke, Lukas Foss and Samuel Adler. Notable events in the orchestra’s history include trips to New York for concerts in Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall and to Montreal for a concert and recording sessions with choruses from McGill University; a 2006 concert in Boston’s Faneuil Hall; and concert exchanges and collaborations with orchestras and choruses from MIT, Tufts and Wellesley.

The Brown University Orchestra, a member of the American Symphony Orchestra League, has won the prestigious ASCAP Award for "Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music" seven times since 1994, including 1st Prize in 2005 in the Collegiate Orchestra Division. Each fall the BUO sponsors an orchestra retreat (usually held at Brown’s Haffenreffer Grant in Bristol, RI, or at Camp Canonicus in Exeter, RI) and its annual Concerto Competition, whose winners (usually 2-3 per year) perform full concertos with the orchestra. In addition to student soloists, numerous student conductors and composers have performed with (or had their works performed by) the Brown Orchestra. The orchestra’s alumni include current and former members of the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, New World Symphony and other outstanding orchestras.