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Beethoven and Beyond

NEC's orchestras represent the breadth of today's professional world.


All students majoring in an orchestral instrument participate in NEC's orchestra program, under the leadership of Hugh Wolff, Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras at NEC. David Loebel, as Associate Director of Orchestras, also conducts a large number of concerts each year. Donald Palma coaches the conductorless NEC Chamber Orchestra.

As an orchestra member, you will have a full season of rehearsals, concerts, and reading sessions under conditions matching the professional orchestra world.

  • At least five public concerts per year, plus full opera productions
  • Emphasis on learning a wide range of repertoire and styles
  • Sectionals led by Boston Symphony Orchestra musicians
  • Reading sessions with visiting BSO conductors

In addition to this core program, specialized ensembles provide additional playing opportunities for wind, brass, and percussion majors. Outside of your credit-bearing orchestra, you may also participate in the paid Lab Orchestra, where you will read scores under the direction of participants in NEC's orchestral conducting program.

Current students: Find audition schedules, ensemble audition information, and required orchestral excerpts here.


You can listen to and/or watch most of the recent repertoire listed on this page, at NEC's InstantEncore and YouTube channels. Visitors to NEC's Firestone Library may listen to recordings of these and other NEC concerts.

Conducted by Hugh Wolff

Hugh Wolff, NEC's Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras, conducts roughly half of each year's orchestra concerts in Jordan Hall. Wolff has brought the NEC Philharmonia to perform in Boston's Symphony Hall in 2010 and 2014.

BarberSerenade for StringsViolin ConcertoCello ConcertoSchool for Scandal Overture
BartókThe Miraculous Mandarin Suite
Beethoven Overture to Egmont, Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphonies Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 
Berlioz Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Roméo et JulietteSymphonie Fantastique 
BorodinPolovtsian Dances
BrahmsSymphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3
BrittenViolin Concerto
DebussyPrélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
DunConcerto for Orchestra after Marco Polo
DvorákSymphonies Nos. 5, 6
Elgar"Enigma" Variations
Gandolfi "The Nonsense" from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
GershwinAn American in Paris
GolijovLast Round
Harbison Remembering Gatsby
HaydnSymphonies Nos. 82, 90
IvesSymphony No. 2The Unanswered Question
KirchnerMusic for Flute and Orchestra
Mahler songs from Des Knaben WunderhornSymphonies Nos. 1, 3
MozartSymphony No. 35
ProkofievViolin Concerto No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 3
RavelPiano Concerto, Une barque sur l'ocean 
Salonen L.A. Variations
SchubertSymphony No. 9
SchumannCello ConcertoSymphony No. 1
ShorterPrometheus Unbound
ShostakovichSymphony No. 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11
SibeliusEn saga, Violin Concerto
StraussAlso sprach ZarathustraDon JuanTill Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
StravinskyRite of Spring, Firebird, Fireworks
Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 4
WagnerDie Meistersinger von NürnbergTristan und Isolde Prelude and Liebestod
Walton Viola Concerto

Conducted by David Loebel

Following an 11-year tenure as music director of the Memphis Symphony, with frequent visits to conduct at NEC, David Loebel was named Associate Director of Orchestras at NEC in 2010.

BachCantata "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort"
BartókPiano Concerto No. 2Dance Suite for Orchestra
BeethovenSymphonies Nos. 2, 3
BergViolin Concerto
BerliozBéatrice et Bénédict OvertureChasse Royale et Orage
Bernstein Overture to Candide
BerwaldKonzertstück for bassoon and orchestra
Brahms Violin Concerto, Hyperions SchicksalsliedNänieRequiem
BrittenSinfonia da Requiem
ChadwickSymphonic Sketches: Jubilee
ChopinPiano Concerto No. 1
CoplandBilly the KidRodeo
DohnányiSuite romantique
DvořákSlavonic Dances, Symphony No. 7
ElgarCello Concerto, "Enigma" Variations
HaydnSymphony No. 102 2013-10-09 listen
HindemithSymphony "Mathis der Maler"
IvesNew England Holidays
KodályDances of Galánta
MahlerSymphonies Nos. 1, 4, 10
MendelssohnSymphony No. 3
Mozart Ballet Music for Idomeneo, Symphony No. 28
Prokofiev Symphony No. 5
RachmaninoffSymphonic Dances
RavelLa ValseValsesnobles et sentimentales
RespighiFountains of Rome
RossiniOverture to William Tell
RouseThe Nevill Feast
Satie Gymnopédies
SchoenbergPieces for Orchestra
Schubert"Unfinished" Symphony
SchwantnerNew Morning for the World
SibeliusSymphony No. 7
StraussDeath and Transfiguration
TchaikovskySymphonies Nos. 5, 6, The Nutcracker (Pas de Deux), Violin Concerto
Thomson Symphony on a Hymn Tune
TippettSuite for the birthday of Prince Charles
WeillAufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny

NEC's conductorless orchestra

The NEC Chamber Orchestra, NEC’s conductorless orchestra, was founded in 2000 by double bassist Donald Palma, a founding member of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Music of the classical orchestra era by Handel, Haydn, and Mozart is at the core of virtually every program, along with an occasional baroque work and modern works for chamber orchestra.

BrittenLes IlluminationsPrelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra, Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
DvořákSerenade in E Major
ElgarSerenade in E MinorIntroduction and Allegro
Grieg Holberg Suite
HandelConcerti Grossi Nos. 2, 8, Symphonies Nos. 44, 45, 52
MozartDivertimento No. 11Serenade No. 6Sinfonia concertanteSymphony No. 29, Divertimento in D Major for Oboe, Two Horns, and Strings, Concerto for Oboe in C Major
Piazzolla Four, for Tango
SchoenbergVerklärte Nacht
Schreker Intermezzo and Scherzo
SéjournéConcerto for Marimba and Strings
ShostakovichChamber Symphonies Opp. 110a, 118a
StravinskyConcerto for String Orchestra, from Apollon musagète Apollo's Variation
SukSerenade for Strings
Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings
VeressFour Transylvanian Dances
WaltonSonata for Strings
Waxman Sinfonietta for Strings and Timpani
WebernFive Movements, Op. 5

Variety of Approaches

BSO assistant conductors and visiting conductors

Since the 1990s, Boston Symphony Orchestra assistant conductors have been frequent guests at NEC, leading concerts by student orchestras. Visiting guest conductors have also taken time away from their busy rehearsal schedules with the BSO to conduct impromptu reading sessions with NEC student orchestras. These guest conductors have included: Raphael Frühbeck de Burgos, Julian Kuerti, Marcelo Lehninger, Fabio Luisi, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano.

Other guest conductors

Guest conductors from near and far expose students to a variety of conducting styles and approaches to repertoire. Recent guests have included Paul Biss of the faculty and alumni Mei-Ann Chen and Joshua Weilerstein, as well as: Gustavo Dudamel, Jefferey Kahane, Andrew Litton, Tito Muñoz, Gil Rose, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Christopher Wilkins.

NEC orchestral conducting majors

Hugh Wolff, Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Orchestras at NEC, works with Orchestral Conducting majors at the graduate level. As part of this training program, students rehearse and perform with the NEC Lab Orchestra under realistic professional conditions.