Letter to Students Interested in Symphony

I am pleased to know that you want to stay musically active during college. The Symphony is a fantastic place to explore excellent repertoire, make great friends, and have fun.

About the Symphony

The Symphony is a full orchestra of 80-90 members that performs music from the Baroque through Contemporary eras in major concerts each quarter. The majority of Symphony members are not music majors, they simply want to make orchestral music a part of their life at Cal Poly and find balance with their studies in a welcoming, fun environment.


Our repertoire includes everything from blockbuster orchestral works to music from the movies or video games, and we collaborate regularly with guest soloists and other university ensembles.

For example, highlights of the 2017-18 season included a performance of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” a bluegrass concerto for mandolin and orchestra featuring the composer as soloist, and Duruflé’s Requiem, performed with the combined Cal Poly Choirs. We have also recently mixed things up with music from the animated films “Fantasia,” “Fantasia 2000,” “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro.”


The Symphony frequently embarks on tours within the state of California and we tour out-of-state approximately every four years.

Our most recent out-of-state tour was in June 2016, when the Cal Poly Symphony traveled to Central Europe, performing in the Matthias Church (Budapest), Dvorak Hall (Prague) and St. Stephen's Cathedral (Vienna). In each city, we collaborated with European choirs: the Prelude Choir of Budapest, Charles University Choir (Prague), Prague Singers and Cantus Novus Wien (Vienna).

In each of these world-class cities, we benefited from a guided tour and a balance between planned activities and free time, during which Symphony members could explore on their own. This they did! Travelers enjoyed the huge variety of cultural sights these cities offered and relaxed a bit in their down time.


Don't miss your chance to audition for a place in the Symphony this coming year!

Auditions take place during the first week of classes. Over the summer, sign up to audition on the Symphony website. You can also come to the Davidson Music Center during the Week of Welcome or during the first few days of classes in the fall to sign up for a time. Sign-up sheets will be posted across from rehearsal room 216 on the instrumental music bulletin board.

The orchestra (MU174/MU374) meets every quarter on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:40 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. While most students join in the fall and remain in the orchestra each quarter, if our rehearsals do not fit your schedule in the fall, you can always contact me to join in winter or spring.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or call the Music Department for more information. The Symphony website lists current and past repertoire,audition information, and more.

I look forward to meeting you in September. Have a safe and enjoyable trip to San Luis Obispo!


David Arrivée, Symphony Director
Office: (805) 756-2358 • FAX: (805) 756-7464