UB Symphony Orchestra

UB Symphony Orchestra

The UB Symphony Orchestra, comprised of nearly 70 UB students of a variety of majors, professors and community members, is conducted by Music Director Dr. Rachel Lauber. The orchestra presents at least three public concerts in Lippes Concert Hall each year. Membership in the UB Symphony Orchestra is open to all UB students, faculty and community members by audition. Audition repertoire and excerpts are available online as of August 1 of each summer. Auditions take place during the first week of classes.

University at Buffalo Department of Music
Guidelines for Symphony Orchestra Participation, 2014-2015

Conducting Faculty:

Rachel Lauber,
(716) 645-0627

Office Hours: by appointment

UBSO Mission

The mission of the University at Buffalo Symphony Orchestra (UBSO) is to provide a unique opportunity for all members of the University at Buffalo and the greater UB community to take part in the performance masterworks of the orchestral repertoire. The annual season of UB Symphony Orchestra includes at least four public concerts in Lippes Concert Hall. A supportive atmosphere of community and learning is at the heart of the UBSO experience.

Spring 2014 Performance and Dress Rehearsal Dates

Spring Concert I: Romantic Vienna 1
Saturday, March 7, 7:30pm
5:30pm Sound-Check
Dress Rehearsal: Wednesday, March 4, &:00-9:30pm

Spring UBSO/UB Choirs Gala Concert
Wednesday, May 6, 7:30pm
Sound-Check TBD
Dress Rehearsal TBD

Spring Concert II: Romantic Vienna 2
Friday, May 8, 7:30pm
Sound-Check TBD
Dress Rehearsal TBD

New Syllabus Requirements: Student Learning Outcomes, Evaluation Criteria, etc.

The University at Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, in keeping with its mission (above), stands as a course that fosters each student's creativity and engagement in the musical arts. It is understood that the musical background of any given student in the UBSO will be different from their colleagues in the ensemble; therefore student achievement will be measured on an individual basis. During the first "part-check" appointment for each concert, the student and Music Director will address areas of technical and musical concern that should be addressed by the student in their practice-time. Follow-up part-checks may be scheduled to demonstrate progress on concert repertoire. New grading criteria are outlined below.

Academic Content

The Spring 2015 semester focuses on concert performances of orchestral masterworks, and the thoughtful, determined preparation that goes into the mastery of such works. Student progress is measured through demonstrated mastery of musical and technical issues addressed in rehearsal and part-check appointments, in addition to the basic requirement of regular attendance, as listed in our ensemble attendance policy, below.

Part Checks (tentative schedule):

  • Spring Concert 1 Material (Bruckner and Strauss Danube): Week of Feb. 16th
  • Spring Concert 2 Material (Brahms, etc.) & Concerti: Week of April 13th

Academic Integrity

The University at Buffalo has clear guidelines on Academic Integrity, which may be found here. Due to the unique nature of an orchestra course, students are encouraged to carefully read these materials and direct any questions to Prof. Lauber, as well as the Department of Music chairperson, Jeffrey Stadelman.

Ensemble Grading Policy

NB new grading policies are highlighted below in bold and italics:

Ensemble grades are based on attendance, attitude, and achievement*. Students begin each semester with an "A" as their grade. Students are required and expected to perform to the utmost of their ability, displaying a professional attitude in rehearsals and concerts. Anyone who is not up to the professional level of behavior will not be allowed to stay in the ensemble. Cases of harassment or bullying will be prosecuted in accordance with University Policy.

The ensemble grading scale will observe the following attendance guidelines: Ensemble rehearsals begin promptly at 7pm with orchestral tuning. Anyone arriving at rehearsal without sufficient time to take out their instrument to tune will be marked late. Two unexcused late arrivals to rehearsal will equal one unexcused absence. Absences cannot be granted for dress rehearsals, sectionals, or concerts. A missed dress rehearsal or concert will result in an incomplete or failure of the course. The grading scale is as follows:

1 unexcused absence = A-
2 unexcused absences = B
3 unexcused absences = C
4 unexcused absences (or missing dress rehearsal/concert)= F/INC

*Student ACHIEVEMENT will be measured based on progress in concert repertoire as demonstrated through mandatory part-check appointments. It is understood that a student who attends all rehearsals, dress rehearsals, and performances on-time, and demonstrates progress with the materials through their part-checks will receive an A in the course. If material addressed by the Music Director in initial part-check appointments does not show evidence of hard-work and progress in follow-up appointments, grading may be impacted by up to one-third a mark (from A to A-, A- to B+, etc.) per concert-period.

This new grading system is to ensure that all student-members of the UBSO apply themselves sincerely and diligently to the task of preparing our concerts. It should be stressed that an "A" is available to all students enrolled, and is not simply a mark of technical achievement and instrumental mastery. Students may demonstrate progress on concert repertoire by showing the Music Director their methods of practicing trouble spots, while also demonstrating a complete knowledge of the RHTYHM of individual passages in question.

Orchestral Parts and Practice Part Policy

Orchestral materials used by the UBSO are either: property of the University; copyrighted published rental music; or the property of special collections of one or more partner libraries. It is essential that performance materials be treated with respect, and returned in good condition. Therefore, performance materials may only be signed out from the UBSO Orchestra Library, subject to approval on a case-by-case basis. Practice parts for all music will be available in the form of PDF copies, hosted on UBlearns.

Students are required to print out their complete practice parts and bring these parts with them to each rehearsal, in order to ensure that rehearsal markings [bowings, dynamics, articulations, corrections, etc.] are consistent from practice copies to performance materials. Keeping your practice parts up-to-date is an important component of your ensemble grade.

Concert Dress

Women: Black ankle-length dress with long sleeves and round neckline, or skirt or dress slacks with long-sleeved blouse or shirt with round neckline will be acceptable concert dress. Black stockings or socks and black dress shoes are also required. *Please note that a Black suit with a black collared shirt is also perfectly acceptable. (Please avoid open-toed shoes)

Men: Black or Dark-Grey Suit, long tie, black shoes and socks.


Important information regarding rehearsal location and scheduling, as well as supporting materials for our concerts will regularly be posted through UBlearns. Members must ensure they have access to this resource, or must make the Music Director aware of an alternative email address through which they can receive materials.

Part-Check Appointments / Office Hours

Each concert cycle, every member of the UBSO must schedule an individual appointment to play selections of their repertoire for the Music Director. Notification of available times for these appointments will be made well ahead of time, and posted through UBlearns, as well as at rehearsal. Individual performance at these initial sessions do not influence your final grade â€" these are neither re-auditions, nor are they 'juries' or midterms â€" they are an opportunity to ask questions about the repertoire, and to work through difficult passages â€" however, part-checks are a required component of the course, and failure to schedule and attend part-check appointments will result in a failing/incomplete grade for the course. If a follow-up Part-Check is determined necessary by the Music Director, specific areas of achievement must be addressed in a timely manner to ensure the student maintains their "A" grade for the course.

There are no set Office Hours for this course, however I am always available to answer your questions, either by email, through the UBlearns discussion boards, or if you catch me in my office at 302 Baird. The hours immediately preceding and following our regularly-schedule rehearsals (6-7pm, 9-10pm) are always available for meetings by-appointment.

Concerto Competition

The University at Buffalo Department of Music and the UB Symphony Orchestra hold an annual concerto competition in which selected winners may be chosen to perform as soloist in concert with the UB Symphony Orchestra. This year's competition will be held on Friday, November 21st (Times TBA). As listed in the official rules (see below), repertoire must be approved prior to the competition. The deadline for submitting your repertoire for approval is Friday, November 7th, by 9:00am.

Specific guidelines for the Concerto Competition are available here.