Juilliard's performing orchestral ensembles give more than 30 concerts each season at Lincoln Center in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Alice Tully Hall, and David Geffen Hall, as well as in Carnegie Hall and other venues around New York City. Participation in these ensembles provides a solid foundation for instrumentalists hoping to join professional orchestras. In fact, numerous Juilliard alumni have become first-chair players and section members in orchestras in both the United States and abroad.
The Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard’s largest and most visible performing ensemble, is comprised of all orchestral instrumental majors in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Under the musical leadership of Alan Gilbert, the director of conducting and orchestral studies, the Juilliard Orchestra is also led by numerous world-renowned guest conductors, including John Adams, Marin Alsop, Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, James Gaffigan, Fabio Luisi, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, David Robertson, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, David Zinman, and many others. The Juilliard Orchestra performs regularly at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as in opera and dance productions, special events and broadcasts, and national and international tours.
All undergraduates begin their orchestral studies with Orchestra Orientation, a three-week orchestra cycle comprised of seminars, workshops, and rehearsals designed to prepare students for the rigors of the Juilliard Orchestra. Led by Maestro Gilbert, the Orchestra Orientation also calls upon Juilliard faculty and members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestra to lead discussions, coach sectionals, and play in side-by-side rehearsals.
Other Orchestral Ensembles
The Juilliard Chamber Orchestra (J.C.O.) works without a conductor using a shared leadership model. Musical decisions are made by the players, with guidance from the coaches. J.C.O. explores all the roles that a conductor normally plays, and as a group discusses how best to divide those responsibilities. It is the goal that each participant will come away from the experience with new respect for a conductor’s role, and with a new insight into what each player can do to expedite the rehearsal process and make performances better. Lead coach Eric Bartlett is a 31-year veteran of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1997.
The Wind Orchestra, which was inaugurated in the 2014-15 season, provides an opportunity to study and perform important staples of the wind repertoire, including such masterworks as the Beethoven Octet in E flat Major, Op. 103, Strauss Serenade in E flat for 13 winds, Dvořák Serenade, Op. 44, and Stravinsky Octet. Each cycle is conducted by a Juilliard woodwind faculty member or prominent performer, such as flutist Michael Parloff, bassoonist Patricia Rogers, and clarinetist Charles Neidich.
The Lab Orchestra is conducted by students of the Orchestral Conducting program under the supervision of Alan Gilbert, and gives both the student conductors and student musicians the opportunity to learn major works of orchestral repertoire while working each week with Maestro Gilbert and/or special guests. It typically meets weekly on Friday mornings and performs once each semester. Because participation in Lab is voluntary and requires a major time commitment beyond regular orchestral studies, members are paid a small stipend through the student work-study program.