Bringing great music to life.
A community of musicians—who are also thinkers, artists, and athletes—the Menlo School Orchestra welcomes advanced musicians and developing intermediate players. Musicians often solo with the group and may take the initiative to compose music. Repertoire is advanced and stimulating and may include original works by student and working composers. Orchestra musicians hold principal chairs and positions in several local youth orchestras.
Chamber Orchestra (Menlo Orchestra and Chamber Music Program) involves intermediate and advanced musicians who play string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. The Orchestra performs intermediate- to advanced-level orchestral literature in the classical and modern tradition, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, Copland, Dvorak, Gershwin, Handel, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and living composers who write for our ensemble. Students learn techniques of rehearsal and performance; they also learn about the history and performance practices associated with pieces performed. Students learn about appropriate articulation, phrasing and interpretive techniques for each piece. The Director collaborates with students to select repertoire. Coaches from the professional community visit the Orchestra regularly to instruct musicians in various advanced techniques and to inspire students with their excellent playing. Chamber music is part of the curriculum for advanced musicians who take initiative to rehearse and perform at selected concerts; works performed have included piano trios by Brahms, Piazzola and Shostakovich, string quartets by Beethoven and Dvorak, woodwind quintets by Cowell, Milhaud and Beethoven, and brass ensembles of varying instrumentation. Orchestra may be repeated for additional credit.
Sectional coaching of woodwinds and brass by local area professionals helps musicians develop musical skills. Performances on campus take place several times a year, and the group has toured around the world and performed for community service in nearby hospitals. Chamber music performances by professional groups inspire Menlo musicians to reach for greater heights. Lessons, available on select instruments, are taught at Menlo by leading professionals in the area.
Students have participated in national-level programs at Tanglewood, Aspen and the California Chamber Music Institute. Closer to home, musicians have participated in the Summer Music Institutes for Brass and Percussion, Music@Menlo and the Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Orchestra alumni have gone on to study at the following schools: Juilliard, Indiana School of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, Northwestern and many others; several orchestra alumni have achieved professional careers in music.