Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra


Mondays 6:30-9:00pm (Crowell Concert Hall)
   All members of the ensemble must secure their availability for the entire duration of the Monday night rehearsal. 
Wednesdays 4:30-6:00pm (various locations)
   Most Wednesday rehearsals will be devoted to sectionals (mandatory)

Midterm Performance TBA

Final Concert

Friday, May 3, 2024
8:00 pm
Crowell Concert Hall

Audition Information

Placement auditions are mandatory for all incoming members as well as former participants who took time off, for any reason. To inquire about an audition contact Nadya Potemkina, npotemkina@wesleyan.edu.

Some sections of the orchestra fill up quicker than others. It is recommended to inquire about an audition ahead of time.

Spring 2024 Meet-and-Greet and Sight Reading

Monday, January 29, 2024
Crowell Concert Hall

  • Bring your own instrument, RSVP to secure a part
  • If you need to borrow an instrument, and to RSVP, contact Nadya Potemkina (npotemkina@wesleyan.edu)

This first rehearsal is open to all, no obligation to register.

About the Conductor

Conductor, violist, and educator Nadya Potemkina directs Wesleyan University Orchestra and Concert Choir, coaches chamber ensembles, teaches instrumental conducting and orchestral literature, and is the music director of FluteFest and AD HOC BACH, both performance and community engagement initiatives. Professor Potemkina remains active as a violist and welcomes every opportunity to play chamber music with her colleagues and to perform works by student composers.

Prior to Wesleyan, Professor Potemkina enjoyed a number of guest-conducting opportunities, in the United States and abroad, with regional, community, and youth orchestras, served as an assistant conductor of The University of Memphis Orchestras, as the music director of Mid-South Young People’s Orchestras in Memphis, TN, and was a founding conductor of Memphis Occasional Orchestra, an all-volunteer community outreach ensemble.
Nadya Potemkina holds degrees in viola performance and pedagogy, and choral and instrumental conducting from Herzen State Pedagogical University (Saint Petersburg, Russia), The University of Northern Iowa, Ball State University, The University of Memphis, and is a member of NAfME and College Orchestra Directors Association. She has actively participated in a number of conducting masterclasses and workshops under the tutelage of Marin Alsop, Erin Freeman, David Itkin, Gustav Meier, Joel Smirnoff, Carl Topilow, Diane Wittry, and Victor Yampolsky. Nadya Potemkina is the first prize winner of the 2015 International Conducting Workshop and Competition (Roswell, GA), a finalist of The 4x4 Prizes in Composition and Conducting 2010 Competition (Norman, OK), and a recipient of the 2010 Young Conductor of the Year Citation from The American Prize.

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History of the Wesleyan University Orchestra

The Wesleyan University Orchestra has been an integral part of the University’s Music Department for many years. The completion  of the Center for the Arts in 1973 allowed the orchestra to begin a regular annual series of concerts, and the 1980′s saw the rise of a strong orchestral program, first under Roger Solie, and then under Melvin Strauss.

1984 saw the premiere of Henry Brant’s  “Meteor Farm,” a commission which featured not only the orchestra, but also many of the Music Department’s celebrated World Music ensembles.  The 1988 “John Cage at Wesleyan” festival was a high-water mark for the orchestra; it featured a performance of Cage’s “Atlas Eclipticalis” with nearly a hundred performers, and distinguished guest performers including the Arditti Quartet.

Angel Gil-Ordóñez arrived as music director in the Fall of 1998, the orchestra and its members have played with many major artists under a program that brings performers from the CFA Concert Series together with Wesleyan students; among these perfomers have been Igor Kipnis, the Lydian String Quartet, Jaap Schroeder, and Pedro Carboné. Orchestral collaborations have included performances with Wesleyan’s Theater, Dance, and Film departments. The orchestra and theater department produced Tom Stoppard’s “Every Good Boy Deserves Favor” in the Spring of 2001, featuring music by André Previn; opera productions have included “The Countess III”, “Master Peter’s Puppet Show”, and “The Threepenny Opera”.

In Spring 2000, the orchestra initiated the “Millenium Concert”, which included collaborative commissioned works for the Jazz Orchestra and Gamelan, as well as premieres of works by Wesleyan composers. A year later, under the baton of guest conductor Zheng Xiao-ying, China’s first female conductor, the orchestra performed the U.S. premiere of Liu Yuan’s Symphony “Echo of Hakka Earth Buildings” as a part of the Chinese Music Festival “Echoes of the Earth”.  In 2005, as a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, two New Deal documentaries, the films “The Plow that Broke the Plains” and “The River”, were presented with live musical accompaniment by the orchestra, performing Virgil Thomson’s original scores. Another New Deal Documentary, “The City” (with a score by Aaron Copland), was presented with live music in the Fall of 2007. As a catalyst for contemporary music, the orchestra developed an annual Symphonic Workshop to showcase and premiere works by Wesleyan and other prominent U.S. composers, including Alvin Lucier, Anthony Braxton, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Guilermo Gregorio, and David Amram.  Recent premieres include Mijidwewinan (“Messages”), by Barbara Croall, and Dear Mother Earth by Glenn McClure, both commissioned by the Wesleyan Center for the Arts as culminating events in its “Feet to the Fire” Festival, and for the inaugural year of the College of the Environment.

The Wesleyan Orchestra has also performed a variety of works such as Dvorak, Symphony no 8 in G Major; Holst, Jupiter from "The Planets"; Brahms, Variations on a Theme by Haydn; Handel, Water Music - Suite in D Major; Mendlessohn, Die Hebriden; and Beethoven, Symphony no. 7 in A Major.