Ensemble participation is a required element of all music programs and recommended for instrument or voice elective study.
Many of the ensembles at Dalhousie University are open to students in other programs, as well as community members. If you're looking for a way to stay musically active, please contact the conductor of one of our many performing groups. See the Our Season page for scheduled performances.
The Dalhousie University Wind Ensemble draws its membership primarily from students in the Fountain School of Performing Arts. It is open to the entire student body regardless of their major field of study, to students of other universities and colleges, and to musicians from the community, by audition.
The FSPAWE performs music from the extensive array of standard and contemporary works for wind ensemble while focusing on creating innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to contemporary and classic wind music. Concerts strive to be unlike any traditional wind ensemble concert and include performance elements from not only the discipline of music, but also dance, theatre, and visual art.
The Wind Ensemble rehearses Wednesdays 4:30 to 6:30 pm in Room 121 of the Dalhousie Arts Centre, plus Friday sectionals from 4:30-5:30. The Wind Ensemble is directed by Jacob Caines. Auditions are held in September. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dalhousie University Chorus
The Dalhousie University Chorus is a chamber choir (30-40 voices) comprised of music students from all idioms as well as experienced choral singers from other disciplines and the community. Excellence, innovation, and collaboration are the hallmarks of the Chorus and the music crosses all periods and genres. Concerts often feature other performers from the Fountain School of Performing Arts and the group has undertaken several community-centred collaborations. The choir normally gives two public performances per year. Students can register for Dal Chorus as part of an ensembles credit or can be involved purely for their own enjoyment. Rehearsals are Mondays (Arts Centre Rm 121) and Wednesdays (Arts Centre Rm 111) from 4:30-6:00 pm.
AUDITIONS are held in September. You need to audition if:
Auditioning for Dal Chorus involves a low-stress vocal "interview" with the conductor, Christina Murray. You do not have to prepare a piece to sing. Instead, Christina will take you through a series of vocal exercises to get to know your voice, your singing skills, and your background. Singers will be selected based on voice part, choral experience, intonation, and ability to hold a part in harmony singing.
Dalhousie Vocal Ensemble - new!
The Dal Vocal Ensemble (DVE) is an 5-8 voice group that varies in composition from year to year. Most often the group will be comprised of upper and lower voices but occasionally it may be only tenors/basses or only sopranos/altos. The group is coached by Christina Murray and is selected by audition. The music crosses all periods and genres focuses primarily on popular musics. The group will give at least one performance per term, in conjunction with the Dal Chorus, but may have several opportunities for shorter performances throughout the year. Students can register for DVE as part of an ensembles credit or can be involved purely for their own enjoyment.
Rehearsals & Coaching will be scheduled around the academic commitments of the students in the group. Each week, the ensemble will receive 1 hour of coaching from Christina Murray and will rehearse for 1.5 hours on their own.
Auditioning for DVE involves singing one prepared piece (pop or jazz preferred) from memory as well as a vocal "interview" with the coach, Christina Murray. Singers will be selected based on voice part, choral experience, intonation, and ability to hold a part in harmony. To audition, register here! Please contact Christina Murray with any questions.
Dalhousie Collegium Cantorum
This auditioned choir, directed by Gary Ewer, provides an enjoyable and challenging choral and musical experience for the greater Dalhousie and Halifax singing community. A collaborative venture with the Dalhousie Music Department, the choir rehearses and performs major choral works.
Rehearsals are held on Mondays from 7:00-9:00 in Room 121 of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. For more information please contact Laurie Ewer.
The Dalhousie Guitar Ensemble provides opportunities for guitar majors to refine their ensemble skills. As well as performing in the guitar orchestra, students work in smaller guitar ensembles (occasionally mixing electric and acoustic guitars) and work with other instruments. An extensive repertoire is covered from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
The ensemble meets weekly throughout the academic year and performs on campus and in the community.
The Guitar Ensemble is under the direction of Scott Macmillan.
Dalhousie University Jazz Ensemble
Directed by Chris Mitchell, the Dalhousie University Jazz Ensemble is made up of between 12 and 18 musicians. Repertoire is extensive and students receive opportunities to refine their ensemble and improvisational skills in a variety of jazz styles.
The band meets weekly on Thursdays from 4:30-7:30 pm in Room 121 of the Dalhousie Arts Centre. For more information please contact Chris Mitchell.
The Dalhousie Music Department also features several saxophone quartets: Junior, Intermediate and Senior.
With repertoire ranging from rags, to jazz standards to classical transcriptions, these quartets explore a variety of musical disciplines, and offer students ensemble experience not otherwise available to the saxophone player. The senior quartet has performed at official University functions, in concerts, and on tour.
The saxophone quartets are under the direction of Chris Mitchell.
See the events calendar for scheduled performances.
The Dal Opera maintains a long tradition of excellence in opera education while providing a unique opportunity for voice majors to study and perform masterpieces from the operatic literature in fully mounted productions.
Operas are produced annually featuring the talents of faculty, alumni, students and community artists.
Productions have included L'Etoile, The Magic Flute, Kabarett, Sweeney Todd, Dido and Aeneas, Comedy on the Bridge, The Face on the Barroom Floor, Gianni Schicchi, Orpheus in the Underworld, Act II of Die Fledermaus, The Telephone, A Hand of Bridge, The Old Maid and the Thief, A Dinner Engagement, La Serva Padrona, The King and The Wise Woman, Ten Belles Without a Ring, The Impresario, The Medium, La Voix Humaine, Riders to the Sea, Street Scene, Albert Herring, Eugene Onegin, Suor Angelica, The Tender Land, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Trouble in Tahiti, Rigoletto, Il Tabarro, L'Heure Espagnole, and Dialogues des Carmelites.
The Opera ensemble director for 2019-20 is Betty Allison. The director of the production (Feb 6-9, 2020) is Mary Lou Martin.
Check the Our Season page in the fall for information about this season's production.
Dal Symphony Orchestra
Tuesday, September 3: Strings Auditions
Wednesday, September 4: Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Saxophone Auditions
The Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra is the only university orchestra in the Atlantic provinces. Primarily a training orchestra, this student ensemble performs approximately three concerts per year with varied repertoire from the Baroque to Contemporary periods. It performs as a full symphonic ensemble and also takes the role of accompaniment for student concerto performances and choral concerts.
The Orchestra rehearses weekly (Tuesdays, 7:00-10:00 p.m.) in Room 121 of the Dal Arts Centre.
Concerts take place on the Dalhousie campus and other venues around Halifax. The orchestra is conducted by Leonardo Perez. For more information please contact Professor Perez.
Our percussion ensemble is conducted by D'Arcy Gray.
With repertoire ranging from classical transcriptions to contemporary music, from traditional pieces to repertoire with a more modern flavor, this ensemble explores a variety of musical disciplines. It offers students ensemble experience not otherwise available to the percussionist.
The Dalhousie Percussion Ensemble has performed at official university functions, in concerts, and on tour.