Orchestral Studies

Students participating in LSU's orchestral programs can look forward to a wide range of performance opportunities and exposure to world-class guest artists.

Pictured: LSU Symphony Orchestra with GRAMMY-winning guest artist Eighth Blackbird


Experience artistic excellence.

The LSU Orchestral Studies area provides a robust, fulfilling musical experience for all interested stakeholders at LSU. Audiences enjoy exciting and creative programming and concerts, while students have to opportunity to collaborate with artists, composers, and LSU’s world-renowned faculty.

Orchestral ensemble opportunities are open to music majors and non-majors who seek study and participation in ensemble performance through a wide range of repertoire. We serve as a valuable resource to the greater orchestral and educational community of Louisiana.

Want to know more about the LSU Orchestras? Fill out the Interest Form linked on this page, and we'll reach out with resources and opportunities matching your interests!


Orchestral Studies Offerings


We encourage all students, both major and non-major, to participate in a variety of ensembles and experiences. All members receive a single semester hour of credit for participation in an LSU orchestral ensemble. Each orchestra presents 1 to 3 public performances per semester. Visit the Ensemble Auditions page for more information on orchestral auditions.

Conductor: Scott Terrell

Rehearsal Schedule:
Tuesday/Thursday, 12:00 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. (All Members)
Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m. (Strings Only)

Audition: Required

The LSU Symphony Orchestra, the program’s flagship ensemble, is recognized as one of the premiere college orchestras in the Southeast for its innovation, commitment to diversity, and collaboration. The ensemble serves as an introduction and training ground for future music educators, those preparing for a professional orchestral career, and talented non-majors wishing to continue their musical studies.

The orchestra performs approximately 6-8 concerts per year, and regularly collaborates with the LSU Choirs, the Turner-Fischer Center for Opera, and the School of Music's annual concerto competition.

Conductor: Francis Ku & Carlos Eduardo Orta

Rehearsal Schedule: Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. to 7:50 p.m.

Audition: Required for wind/brass/percussion players only

The LSU Concert Orchestra is the university’s campus-wide orchestra, drawing its membership from throughout the LSU community. This ensemble is led by graduate students in orchestral conducting and serves as a laboratory for students pursuing a Music Education degree, but is also open to any LSU students seeking to continue their participation in music.

Strings players can participate in this ensemble, and an audition is not currently required. Winds/Brass/Percussion players wanting to participate in LSU Concert Orchestra need to submit an online audition due to limited availability. Please contact Francis Ku for additional details on the audition process, or other inquiries about LSU Concert Orchestra. 

Conductor: Scott Terrell

Rehearsal Schedule: Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.

Audition: Required

The LSU Virtuosi is an elite strings-only ensemble who perform a wide variety of standard and contemporary works. This premiere group regularly performs for special engagements, such as the Louisiana Music Educators Conference, LSU Conductor’s Art Workshop, and, recently, the Eighth Blackbird residency. Virtuosi members are required to play in the LSU Symphony Orchestra; string players auditioning for the LSU Symphony Orchestra are automatically considered for Virtuosi membership.


Graduate Degrees – Orchestral Conducting

About Our Program

The graduate-level orchestral conducting program at LSU provides comprehensive training in interpretation, physicality of conducting, rehearsal technique, ensemble psychology, orchestral operations, literature, and score study. Our program additionally offers graduate assistantships which provide a wealth of hands-on training working in the administration of a high-profile orchestral program. Duties include conducting rehearsals/concerts as-assigned, assisting in management of the orchestral library, and aiding in all orchestral area logistics. The program is offered at both the MM and DMA levels. 

Program highlights include:

  • Weekly applied lessons, studio class, and video review.
  • Performances and conducting opportunities with the LSU Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Constantinides New Music Ensemble.
  • Program, conduct, and administer all aspects of the LSU Concert Orchestra.
  • Weekly conducting practicum sessions with elite musicians from the LSU School Music.
  • Regular integration, interaction, and team teaching with Damon Talley (Director of Bands) and Alissa Rowe (Director of Choral Studies) to promote cross-pollination of ideas and best practices.
  • Limited studio space (3 total) to ensure maximum conducting opportunities.


Pre-screening & Application

The program requires pre-screening, which includes the following requirements:

  • All required materials for the Pinkie Gordon Lane Graduate School and LSU School of Music.
  • Video of the candidate conducting at least two works, in either rehearsal or performance, contrasting in style, with a total duration of 10-25 minutes. (Camera must be facing the candidate.)
  • Video of the candidate performing on their major instrument, for a total duration of 3-10 minutes.

Visit the Graduate Admissions page to begin your application process.

For more information about the Orchestral Studies program, please contact Professor Scott Terrell at sterrell@lsu.edu.


Orchestra News

The 2024 edition of the Stately Oaks Music Festival – a multi-day immersive camp for middle and high school musicians – set an attendance record, with nearly 400 students participating. New for this year, the Festival welcomed string musicians and presented two orchestral ensembles.

Recent School of Music doctoral graduate Gabriela Gómez Estévez, from the studio of Scott Terrell, has been named Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestras at Cornell University.

Graduate conducting students Emmanuel Rodriguez (Department of Bands) and Francis Ku (Orchestral Studies) have been selected as conducting fellows for the Reynolds Conducting Institute at the 2023 Midwest Clinic in Chicago.