Welcome to the Smith College Orchestra's website. On this page you'll find information about the group, audio highlights, a biography of our conductor, Jonathan Hirsh, information about auditions, our tour, chamber groups and more.
We dedicate ourselves to the appreciation of music both within our ensemble, and in the surrounding community. We strive to challenge our creative potentials that help us build strong and collaborative relationships. Through mutual trust, we promote harmony between personal goals, and group aspirations.
In 2005, The Smith College Orchestra concluded its 100th Anniversary Celebration with a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Carnegie Hall with the Smith College Chorus, Glee Club, and University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club. The following message from President Carol Christ appeared in the Playbill:
I'm delighted to congratulate the orchestra on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. First organized by Rebecca Wilder Holmes, the orchestra originally consisted of eight members, increasing in its second year to thirteen. At its first Commencement Concert in June 1904, it performed Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture and the first movement of Haydn’s London Symphony. By its 50th anniversary, it had grown to more than 70 members, who, in the words of a commemorative program, could “toss off a Brahms symphony or a Beethoven overture with considerable assurance."
Over the century of its existence, the orchestra has given thousands of Smith students the opportunity to experience the challenges and joys of ensemble playing and to learn familiar and unfamiliar works from the symphonic repertoire. As an amateur violist, I applaud its history and the contribution it has made to the musical education of our students.
Today, the Smith College Orchestra is comprised of approximately 60 musicians from the Smith College community, including Five-College students, faculty, and staff. Auditions are held at the beginning of each year for both incoming and returning members. At the beginning of the year, prospective members can also request to be considered for the Smith College Chamber Orchestra.