The University of Florida School of Music offers a wide array of musical ensembles spanning the band, choral, orchestral, jazz, and chamber mediums. All students of the UF community, whether music or non-music majors, are welcome to participate in these ensembles, many of which are audition-based. The ensembles are directed by well-acclaimed professors, who are leading conductors, performers, and scholars in their fields.
The UF Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Tiffany Lu, performs a wide variety of orchestral repertoire, including traditional orchestral and choral masterworks, ballets and operas, as well as contemporary compositions. The orchestra is dedicated to the learning of symphonic music through performance and is equally committed to the promotion of new and contemporary works as well as overlooked works from the past.
Headed by Dr. Will Kesling, consists of the University Chamber Singers, the University Concert Choir, the University Choral Union, the Women’s Chorale, the Men’s Voices of Orfeus (Glee Club), and Paenzi Sauti (African Choir). The University Chamber Choir was the first North American choral ensemble to perform at CORPACOROS’ Encuentro Coal de Música Colombiana in 2012. Over the past few years choirs at the University of Florida have performed at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and performed with the San Diego Symphony, National Philharmonic, Washington, D.C., Czech National Orchestra and the Czech National Theater Orchestra, Orquesta Camerata Jaibaná (Colombia), the United States Air Force Band and Singing Sergeants as well as the Kronos String Quartet, the Three Italian Tenors, and the Posaune Voce Trio of Birmingham, England. The University Chamber Choir and the Choral Union have made appearances at FESTIVAL CORAL DE MEDELLÍN “JOSÉ MARÍA BRAVO MÁRQUEZ” (Colombia).
The band program, headed by Dr. David Waybright, consists of the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Bands, as well as various Athletic Bands. The Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Concert Bands are devoted to performing literature from the traditional wind band repertoire as well as contemporary works. The Athletic Bands include the Marching Band, Basketball Pep Band, and Volleyball Pep Band. Mr. John Watkins, Jr. and Mr. Chip Birkner direct the Pride of the Sunshine Gator Band. Additionally, the UF Bands program hosts a number of outreach programs for high school and middle school students interested in music, which include the UF Honor Band and Gatorland Band Camps. The UF Honor Band is held in the spring and brings together outstanding high school musicians, grades 9-12, along with special guest conductors and clinicians. Gatorland Band Camps, which consist of a few weeks of music summer camps, is open to interested high school and middle school students. The camp is comprised of an instrumental camp, concert band camp, jazz camp, and marching band/auxiliary camp.
Under the new direction of Professor Scott Wilson, the Gator Jazz Orchestra performs a varied repertoire of jazz. It has a long standing history of greatness and the new director Scott Wilson has continued to showcase this talent and energy. In addition, Professor Wilson was instrumental in helping to create the Big Phat Jazz Camp, with host Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, as part of the Gatorland Band Summer Camps. The jazz program also hosts other outside clinicians and performers.
The School of Music offers a number of chamber ensembles, which include the Clarinet Ensemble, Low Brass Ensembles, Percussion Ensemble, “Sunshine Steelers” Steel Drum Band, and various World Music Ensembles. The world music ensembles include Jacare Brazil (Brazilian Music) and Agbedidi (African Drum & Dance). Students perform on authentic Brazilian and African instruments. The School of Music and Center for World Arts host visiting artists from both Brazil and Africa to work and perform directly with these groups.