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, visual/media artists, and other university ensembles.

Highlights of recent seasons include a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Márquez' Danzón No. 2, a set of tangos with the crossover band Café Musique, and several winners of our annual student solo competition. We also performed music of Prokofiev accompanied by video projects created by students in the Art and Design Department, and video game music with full-building projections by a student team from Cal Poly’s Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies major.


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). We will next travel to France in early summer 2024.  This tour is open to returning and new students.

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.

We will next travel when restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to do so.


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. This online sign-up system will be live through auditions.

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 seeing you soon!


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