Music Ensembles

Performance is at the heart of your practice as a musician. In our music program, there are various student ensembles that you can join to perform with your peers while honing your craft. Membership in music ensembles is made up from the varied and talented GW community and is not limited to those only taking music classes and/or registered as a music major. All are encouraged to audition. Commitment requirements vary by ensemble.

Even though we are not “live” on campus in Fall 2020, our faculty and students will still be creating and studying music in lessons, ensembles and the classroom and we want YOU to be part of it!

First things first: Click here to sign up for the Music Program listserv!


Our chamber ensembles consist of two or more performers playing chamber music from across all musical eras. All instrumentalists and vocalists may have opportunities in our chamber ensembles. Chamber ensembes include weekly coaching with faculty and end-of-semester performances.

For Fall 2020, chamber music students will engage virtually to create a group multimedia performance project entitled “Coming Together”, as well as having weekly seminar style discussions on the topic “Whose music do we play? Who do we play for?” – a historical and current look into chamber music as an engine that builds communities and encourages social change.


Email Prof. Ning Yu for more information.



Within our chamber ensembles program, we have a standalone percussion ensemble. The percussion ensemble explores a variety of percussion techniques and percussion music and is the perfect place for percussionist to grow their craft.



Email Prof. Joe Connell for more information.


The Jazz Ensembles concentrate on small group jazz from the 1940s to today, focusing on such artists as Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis and Art Blakey. We currently have three instrumental jazz ensembles and one vocal jazz ensemble. For Fall 2020, students in jazz groups will explore jazz performance virtually in tight-knit groups.


UberCombo focuses on modern jazz repertoire and student compositions. The goal of this ensemble is to become a self-sufficient, collaborative, working group. Students in this ensemble take ownership of performance and artistic choices through selection, arrangement and composition of the group repertoire. Advanced jazz performance skills are required for UberCombo. Prior experience in Midnight Blue and/or Latin Band ensembles is required.


The Latin band is a vibrant group of young musicians who have embraced the cultural diversity that exists in the nation's capital. Cultural exploration is at the heart of the music the band performs. Here the students explore the nuances of playing samba, Bossa Nova and Partido Alto music styles from the former capital of Brazil, the city of Rio de Janeiro. From the Caribbean Islands the students learn how to make an Afro-Cuban danzón connect with the famous cha-cha-chá. Mambo, comparsa, songo and timba become familiar Cuban vocabulary the students speak through their instruments. Under the leadership of Professor Alejandro Lucini, born in Rio de Janeiro, and co-directed by saxophonist Peter Fraize, students in the ensemble add a rich and unique cultural experience to their education.


Midnight Blue is a small jazz combo led by Prof. John Albertson.


JiVE (Jazz Vocal Ensemble)

GW JiVE jazz vocal ensemble sings music that comes from the African diaspora that is primarily centered around Jazz, America’s classical music. Students sing in close harmonies, using rhythms from the blues and swing, to bossa nova and samba, to R&B and gospel. Choristers will learn the history of the music, vocal technique and style that is based in modern vocal production, and improvisation. We learn through singing solo and together. We move and we groove. We come from all different cultures and backgrounds to sing this most American of musics: Jazz. Come join us! Contact Professor Alison Crockett ([email protected]) for more information.


All ensembles are by audition only. These auditions are held during the first week of classes.


Please email Peter Fraize


The University Band class consists of two ensembles: Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. Both ensembles rehearse on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band are auditioned concert band ensembles in the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. The ensembles perform classic, contemporary and newly composed wind music with on-campus performances in the Fall and Spring. Membership in both groups is open to students from all schools and departments at GW and requires instructor approval via audition.

For the Fall 2020 semester, GW Bands will offer an engaging and exciting curriculum with both Symphonic Band (open to all students) and Wind Ensemble (selected through audition), as well as C-Brass, GW’s pep band. Students in both concert bands will learn basic compositional techniques by composing their very own études! After composing their étude, students will not only perform, but record it alongside learning fundamentals of video and audio recording/editing. Finally, students will record themselves performing a challenging piece of concert band music for compilation into a “virtual” concert band performance at the conclusion of the semester. C-Brass, GW’s pep band, will stay engaged by recording and editing music that is typically performed at basketball games and Spirit events across campus. Members will play a critical role in keeping the GW school spirit alive and vibrant while we are “together while apart”! Any member of the Symphonic Band or Wind Ensemble may join C-Brass!


Each fall, all students interested in playing with the bands are required to audition. Mid-year auditions are held in January for students who did not participate in the fall.


Email Prof. Michael Schmitz

Email Band or contact the University Band Office at 202-994-9041.


The University Orchestra rehearses on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. The Orchestra performs repertoire that spans the centuries and features strong student leadership. The Orchestra performs two or three concerts each year on campus (including in Lisner Auditorium) and in the community.

In the Fall 2020 remote-learning environment, we will prioritize student engagement in an atmosphere of creativity.


Acceptance into the orchestra and section placement will be based on the quality of playing, prior participation in the GW Orchestra, anticipated attendance conflicts, and, in some cases, a willingness/aptitude for section leadership. Even highly-qualified players may not be accepted if sections are full, but we honor all musicians and hope to find a musical outlet for all within the orchestra or in other university ensembles.

Each fall, all orchestra musicians are required to audition. Mid-year auditions are held in January for students who did not participate in the fall.

Before setting up an audition, please review the Orchestra syllabus, taking special care to note any conflicts with the schedule.


Email Prof. Scott Wood

Email the Orchestra with general questions about the ensemble.



The University Singers is a mixed choir of undergraduate and graduate students. The group has two formal concerts each academic year. They have toured extensively, with overseas tours every two years. Past tours have included South America, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and South Africa.

Off-campus performance venues include Washington National Cathedral, Strathmore Concert Hall, Schlesinger Performing Arts Center, Princeton Chapel and The Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

In Fall 2020, the University Singers will provide much-needed community and engagement with singing as creative expression. This semester, our work will be intentionally focused on social justice issues. The addition of one-of-a-kind online sessions will be a meaningful and unique way to participate in music study as we engage with guest interviews and workshops with industry professionals! We will have virtual rehearsals, build several exciting and meaningful virtual choir performances, hear firsthand from the composers of our music through interviews, and engage with world-renowned leaders in music from artists on Broadway to Georgian folk performers and from music activists to the practitioners of the classical form. This semester will focus on solidifying our community and expanding our musical knowledge as we look toward our Mozart Requiem project in the spring.


The Women's Ensemble performs music for treble voice from the Renaissance to today and explores the power of women's voices. The ensemble has two concerts each academic year.


The Women's Ensemble rehearses on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:50 p.m. in Phillips Hall B-120

The University Singers rehearse on Wednesdays from 7:15 to 9:45 p.m. in Phillips Hall B-120.


Email Prof. Blake Clark for more information.