Ensemble participation is a required element of all music programs and  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, why not consider contacting the conductor of one of our many performing groups?  See the events calendar for scheduled performances.

Wind Ensemble

Auditions:  Wednesday, September 5 and Thursday, September 6. Visit the FSPA office to SIGN UP for an audition time or email marie.raynard@dal.ca

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 focussing 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 jacob.caines@gmail.com

Choral Ensembles

Dalhousie University Chorus

The Dalhousie University Chorus is a performance choir comprised of music students from all idioms and talented singers from other disciplines and the community.  An audition is required.  Excellence, innovation, and collaboration are the hallmarks of the Chorus.  Concerts will often feature other performers from the Fountain School of Performing Arts. The choir normally gives at least one public performance per term and is conducted by Christina Murray.

Rehearsals are Mondays (Arts Centre Rm 121) and Wednesdays (Arts Centre Rm 111) from 4:30-6:00 pm. 

Auditions are normally held at the first rehearsal of the September term. You need to audition if:

1. You have not sung in the Chorus previously (does not apply to voice majors - see #3 below)
2. You have sung with the Chorus but want to change to a new section
3. You are a first year voice major who is signed up for an opera audition on Sep 4.

A 10-minute audition consists of the following:
- prepare and sing one verse or a short section of a piece of vocal music (this must be memorized and unaccompanied)
- tell the conductor about your musical and/or choral background
- sing several vocal exercises, administered by the conductor, to show your vocal range, etc. (these do not have to be prepared ahead of time)

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.

Guitar Ensemble

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.

Jazz Ensembles

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.

Saxophone Quartets

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.

Dal Opera

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 distinguished faculty, alumni, students and community artists.

Productions have included 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.

Check the Our Season page for information about this season's production.  For more information on Dal Opera, please contact Dr. Michael Donovan.

Orchestral Ensembles

Dalhousie's Fountain School of Performing Arts supports two orchestras, a chamber orchestra and a full symphonic orchestra.

Dalhousie Chamber Orchestra

The Dalhousie Chamber Orchestra is comprised of approximately 20 string players. It performs works from the Baroque period to the present.      

This group is occasionally augmented with other instruments allowing a wider range of repertoire, often featuring student soloists.

Recent programs have included a Nova Scotia premiere of Jan Jarvlepp's Suite for Viola, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Number 2 , Francois Couperin's Pieces en concert for cello and strings, David Diamond's Rounds, Brahms' Sextett Op. 18, and a program of works by Nordic composers Gade, Grieg, Nielsen and Sibelius..

Dalhousie Symphony Orchestra

Auditions Tuesday, Sept. 4  Visit the FSPA office to SIGN UP for an audition time or email marie.raynard@dal.ca
Tuesday: Strings
Wednesday: Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Saxophone 
Thursday: Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Saxophone  

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 University campus at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, the Sir James Dunn Theatre, and other venues around Halifax. In 2018-19 the orchestra is conducted by Peter Allen (fall) and Leonardo Perez (winter).

This ensemble occasionally joins Symphony Nova Scotia for large-scale works such as the symphonies of Shostakovich and Mahler.

For audition information contact Peter Allen.

Percussion Ensemble

Our very active 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.

A very prolific ensemble, the Dalhousie Percussion Ensemble has performed at official university functions, in concerts, and on tour.