Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras

Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestra

Learn more about the 2014-15 season.

Orchestra Department

Larry Rachleff
Music Director
1202 Alice Pratt Brown Hall

Kaaren Fleisher
Orchestra Manager & Librarian
1203 Alice Pratt Brown Hall

The orchestral program is comprised of a Symphony Orchestra of one hundred-plus music students and a Chamber Orchestra of some thirty music students. Both orchestras are of equal caliber, differentiated only by the repertoire they perform.

Orchestra members rehearse at least five and one-half hours a week, and they also attend classes in orchestral excerpts and orchestra repertoire classes for brass, percussion, woodwind, and string sections.

Sectionals are regularly given by our experienced orchestral faculty.

Larry Rachleff has been Music Director of the orchestral program since the fall of 1991, and under his leadership the Orchestras have reached new artistic levels, performing major works from the standard orchestral repertoire as well as giving several premieres of important new works and performing with the Shepherd School Opera.

"The Shepherd School of Music is an internationally known magnet for young players wanting careers as professional orchestral musicians. The excellent faculty - but above all conductor Larry Rachleff - consistently produces a top-quality ensemble many a city could want as its resident orchestra."

In a recent review of their Centennial performance the reviewer "caught [himself] engrossed in the music and completely forgetting that the group was a university orchestra. The students powered and finessed their way through any and all trouble spots."

From its inception in 1975, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University has emphasized orchestral training as a central element in its performing curriculum. Each of the two Orchestras typically performs three or more concerts a semester, and works performed in recent seasons by the Symphony Orchestra include Strauss: Don Juan, Op. 20; Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67; Brahms: Variations on a Theme of Joseph Haydn; Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5; Ravel La Valse; Sibelius: Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82; Barber: Symphony No. 1 in One Movement, Op. 9; Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27; De Falla: Three Dances from Three-Cornered Hat; Janáek: Suite from Cunning Little Vixen; Bartok: Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin; Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms; Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G Major.

Works performed in recent seasons by the Chamber Orchestra include Ives: Three Places in New England; Stravinsky: Danses concertantes; Brahms: Serenade No. 2 in A Major, Op. 16; Messiaen: Oiseaux exotiques; Respighi: Trittico Botticelliano; and symphonies of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn.