The School of Music has a deep tradition of excellence among the many large ensemble offerings in bands, orchestras, choirs, and jazz. All ensembles perform throughout the academic year in concerts both on and off-campus and many undertake regular tours. Ensembles from UNCG have appeared at the state, regional, and national conventions of the College Band Directors National Association, American Bandmasters Association, the Music Educators National Conference, the National Band Association, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, and the American Choral Directors Association. International tours have brought UNCG ensembles to Austria, the Czech Republic, France, and Italy.
Performances by UNCG ensembles have also been given at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, Meymandi Concert Hall, and The Music Center at Strathmore. In addition, UNCG student ensembles have created dozens of commercially available recordings.
The renowned UNCG Bands are dedicated to the performance, study, and cultivation of wind band music of the highest quality, and are a serious and distinctive medium of musical expression. The UNCG Bands are considered to be among the very finest collegiate band programs in America based upon our active profile of excellence in our performances, recordings, tours and convention performances.
The UNCG Bands include the nationally recognized UNCG Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, University Band, and Casella Sinfonietta. The UNCG “Bands of Sparta” perform for athletic events and other occasions on campus and in the community.
The UNCG Choral program offers students many opportunities to perform a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from major works with orchestra to smaller chamber experiences. The UNCG choirs are comprised of four ensembles: University Chamber Singers, University Chorale, Women’s Glee Club and Men’s Glee Club. Dr. Welborn Young serves as Director of Choral Activities.
The acclaimed UNCG Orchestra program offers students the opportunity to perform repertoire for ensembles ranging from the largest works for full orchestra, to intimate pieces for chamber orchestra, to string orchestra. The UNCG Orchestras are comprised of three ensembles: University Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia, and Gate City Camerata.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Miles Davis Program in Jazz Studies offers students a variety of opportunities to perform and study jazz. Two large jazz ensembles and several small jazz combos, coupled with supportive courses in improvisation, arranging, composition, history and pedagogy provide ample room for growth and lead to the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. Most recently, the world-famous bassist Christian McBride and master pedagogue/pianist Mark Levine performed and offered clinics.
In addition to our large ensembles, students regularly participate in smaller, faculty-coached instrumental chamber groups. Students explore repertoire for standard ensembles, such as brass and woodwind quintet and string quartet and also assorted combinations, as required by their chosen repertoire.
The University Horn Ensemble appears annually at the respected Southeastern Horn Workshop and has performed by invitation at the International Horn Workshop. The group’s popularity is evidenced by frequent requests to perform locally at special events and festivals.
The University Percussion Ensemble specializes in 20th-century, often commissioned repertoire, including ragtime. It performs on the most extensive collection of college/university-owned percussion equipment in the state and has released its first CD recording, Sketches.
Present~Continuous is an ensemble dedicated to presenting staples of the new music repertoire, together with new works and semi-improvised works. The group’s repertoire has included works by George Crumb, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, David Lang, Robert Paterson, Zhou Long, Julia Wolfe, and others. View more information here.
The University Trombone Ensemble tours often, hosts the annual North Carolina Trombone Day, and has twice performed by invitation at the prestigious Eastern Trombone Workshop.
The Trumpet Ensemble is under the direction of Mr. Mark Clodfelter. The ensemble is regularly invited into the live rounds of the National Trumpet Competition, and performs on campus every semester.
The University TubaBand, comprised of tubas and euphoniums, has performed by invitation at ITEA conferences in Australia, Canada, and Italy, and annually participates in Octubafest performances.
UNCG students are exposed to a wide variety of music throughout their course of study, both Western and non-Western. While the main performing ensembles focus on traditional Western styles of music, many students and faculty seek more ways to understand the music of other cultures. UNCG is proud to offer performing ensembles that offer these opportunities to both undergraduate and graduates students.
These ensembles currently include the following:
The UNCG Old Time Ensemble performs American folk music, focusing on the string band traditions of the North Carolina Piedmont and Southern Appalachia. Formed in Spring 2008 by Dr. Revell Carr as part of UNCG’s expanding program in ethnomusicology, the Old Time Ensemble’s mission is to give students an opportunity to learn songs and tunes that have been part of North Carolina’s culture for generations.
Members of the Old Time Ensemble include students and faculty members spanning a broad range of musical backgrounds, although for many students, this is their first experience playing folk music. Old Time Ensemble is based on the idea that oral traditions should be part of every musician’s education, so the group learns all its music by ear, through careful listening and repetition, the way traditional American music has been learned for centuries.
Some semesters, the group focuses on studying and performing the repertoire of prominent North Carolina musicians, such as Tommy Jarrell or Charlie Poole. Other semesters, the group draws from many sources of traditional Americana, including work songs, spirituals, ballads, blues and dance music. Members of the Ensemble research the background of each song, so their concerts are not only performances of music, but are also opportunities for storytelling and for exploring the history of our state and country.
At least once a semester, members of the ensemble are given opportunities to learn directly from highly respected folk musicians, such as Riley Baugus, Bryan Bowers, Rick Spencer, Ken Perlman and Alan Jabbour. The ensemble regularly gives performances both in Greensboro, at the First Presbyterian Church or the Greensboro Festival of Lights, and in venues out of town, such as the Roanoke Island Festival Park in Manteo or the Charlie Poole Festival in Eden. Players in the Old Time Ensemble have also gone on to participate, and even win prizes, at a number of old-time fiddler’s contests in North Carolina.
The ensemble is open to all members of the UNCG community, but ‘folk’ instruments are preferred, including: violin (fiddle), viola, cello, bass, guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, steel guitar, flute, tin whistle, ocarina, harmonica, accordion, concertina, lap dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, autoharp, and other instruments with instructor’s approval.
The UNCG Opera Theatre mounts at least four opera productions each year, and reaches over 10,000 area schoolchildren every year with its annual “Tour of the Schools” event. The UNCG Opera Theatre’s award-winning productions, community outreach and professional partnerships form the basis of a dynamic and important opera company that enriches the community and trains a cohort of gifted young artists. Visit the Opera Theatre page for a full description of our company, and the list of our upcoming events.