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 Blumenthal Family 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.

Barber?Serenade for Strings,?Violin Concerto,?Cello Concerto,?School for Scandal Overture
Bartók?The 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 Juliette,?Symphonie Fantastique?
Borodin?Polovtsian Dances
Brahms?Symphonies?Nos. 1, 2, 3
Britten?Violin Concerto
Debussy?Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Dun?Concerto for Orchestra after Marco Polo
Dvorák?Symphonies?Nos. 5, 6
Elgar?"Enigma" Variations
Gandolfi?"The Nonsense" from The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
Gershwin?An American in Paris
Golijov?Last Round
Harbison?Remembering Gatsby
Haydn?Symphonies?Nos. 82, 90
Ives?Symphony No. 2,?The Unanswered Question
Kirchner?Music for Flute and Orchestra
Mahler songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn,?Symphonies?Nos. 1, 3
Mozart?Symphony No. 35
Prokofiev?Violin Concerto No. 1, Piano?Concerto No. 3
Ravel?Piano Concerto,?Une barque sur l'ocean?
Salonen?L.A. Variations
Schubert?Symphony No. 9
Schumann?Cello Concerto,?Symphony No. 1
Shorter?Prometheus Unbound
Shostakovich?Symphony No. 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 11
Sibelius?En saga,?Violin?Concerto
Strauss?Also sprach Zarathustra,?Don Juan,?Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche
Stravinsky?Rite of Spring, Firebird,?Fireworks
Tchaikovsky?Symphony no. 4
Wagner?Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,?Tristan 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.

Bach?Cantata "O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort"
Bartók?Piano Concerto No. 2,?Dance Suite for Orchestra
Beethoven?Symphonies?Nos. 2, 3
Berg?Violin Concerto
Berlioz?Béatrice et Bénédict Overture,?Chasse Royale et Orage
Bernstein?Overture to Candide
Berwald?Konzertstück for bassoon and orchestra
Brahms?Violin Concerto,?Hyperions Schicksalslied,?N?nie,?Requiem
Britten?Sinfonia da Requiem
Chadwick?Symphonic Sketches: Jubilee
Chopin?Piano Concerto No. 1
Copland?Billy the Kid,?Rodeo
Dohnányi?Suite romantique
Dvok?Slavonic Dances,?Symphony No. 7
Elgar?Cello Concerto, "Enigma"?Variations
Haydn?Symphony No. 102 2013-10-09 listen
Hindemith?Symphony "Mathis der Maler"
Ives?New England Holidays
Kodály?Dances of Galánta
Mahler?Symphonies?Nos. 1, 4, 10
Mendelssohn?Symphony No. 3
Mozart?Ballet Music for Idomeneo,?Symphony No. 28
Prokofiev?Symphony No. 5
Rachmaninoff?Symphonic Dances
Ravel?La Valse,?Valses nobles et sentimentales
Respighi?Fountains of Rome
Rossini?Overture to William Tell
Rouse?The Nevill Feast
Schoenberg?Pieces for Orchestra
Schubert?"Unfinished" Symphony
Schwantner?New Morning for the World
Sibelius?Symphony No. 7
Strauss?Death and Transfiguration
Tchaikovsky?Symphonies?Nos. 5, 6, The Nutcracker (Pas de Deux),?Violin Concerto
Thomson?Symphony on a Hymn Tune
Tippett?Suite for the birthday of Prince Charles
Weill?Aufstieg 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.

Britten?Les Illuminations,?Prelude and Fugue for 18-part String Orchestra,?Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
Dvo?ák?Serenade in E Major
Elgar?Serenade in E Minor,?Introduction and Allegro
Grieg?Holberg Suite
Handel?Concerti?Grossi?Nos. 2, 8,?Symphonies?Nos. 44, 45, 52
Mozart?Divertimento No. 11,?Serenade No. 6,?Sinfonia concertante,?Symphony No. 29,?Divertimento in D Major for Oboe, Two Horns, and Strings,?Concerto for Oboe in C Major
Piazzolla?Four, for Tango
Schoenberg?Verkl?rte Nacht
Schreker?Intermezzo and Scherzo
Séjourné?Concerto for Marimba and Strings
Shostakovich?Chamber Symphonies?Opp. 110a,?118a
Stravinsky?Concerto for String Orchestra,?from Apollon musagète Apollo's Variation
Suk?Serenade for Strings
Tchaikovsky?Serenade for Strings
Veress?Four Transylvanian Dances
Walton?Sonata for Strings
Waxman?Sinfonietta for Strings and Timpani
Webern?Five 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 Mu?oz, 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.