Symphony Orchestra

Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra Seminario! Concert




The Symphony Orchestra is comprised of the finest string, wind, brass, and percussion students at Sonoma State and of musicians from the broader Sonoma County community. Under the direction of Dr. Alexander Kahn, the Symphony Orchestra performs a diverse array of orchestral literature, ranging from the Baroque period to world premieres and from classical repertoire to film, opera, and educational works. Soloists are regularly featured, including guest artists, faculty soloists and student soloists chosen through the annual concerto competition. In addition to performing 2-4 concerts each year in the beautiful confines of Weill Hall, the Symphony Orchestra performs regularly on tour throughout California and beyond. 


Membership is through audition only, and is open to all students regardless of major as well as community members. String, wind, brass, and percussion majors focusing on classical performance and/or music education are required to participate in either the Symphony Orchestra and/or the Symphonic Wind Ensemble at the discretion of the music directors every semester while in residence at SSU. You may be invited to participate in more than one ensemble. 


Auditions are held during the first week of each semester. Auditions consists of scales and assigned orchestral excerpts. Auditions for the 2019-20 concert season will take place August 19 and 20. For more information, audition excerpts, and to schedule an audition click here


Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-6 pm in Weill Hall.


THE Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra

Proudly announces its

2018-2019 Concert Season 

(all repertoire subject to change)


Sept 29, 2018, 7:30pm
Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Trio opus 3 (featuring Musicians of the Valley of the Moon)
Telemann, Concerto Grosso for Two Horns (Spencer Causey and JJ Mayer, soloists and 2018 Concerto Competition Winners)
Vivaldi, Concerto Grosso opus 3 No. 8 (Maria Romero and Carla Moore, soloists)
Beethoven, Symphony No. 7


Nov 17, 2018, 7:30pm
José Luis Elizondo, Estampas Mexicanas
Bernstein, Somewhere (arr. Jamie Bernstein)
Dvorak Symphony No. 9, “New World”
Leonard Bernstein, Mambo (arr Gareth Glyn and Andrew J. Smith)
Additional repertoire TBD
March 3, 2019, 2pm

The winner of the 2018 SSU Symphony Orchestra Composition Contest – Picture This! – has been selected.

 The contest solicited new orchestral works of ten minutes or less that were inspired by works of visual art. Six wonderful and diverse scores, all of which were written by current Sonoma State music students, were submitted anonymously and reviewed by a panel of judges. The winning entry is AJ Gonzales’ La Osa y la Ampola, a moving piece of music inspired by artwork by the composer’s sister, Corina Gonzales. The emotionally riveting orchestral tone poem deals with the devastation of the recent spate of wildfires in California and concludes with a note of hope for the future.

 La Osa y la Ampola will have its world premiere on Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 2pm, alongside the Ravel orchestration of Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This family-friendly concert will include a multi-media display of artwork created by students throughout Sonoma County. For more information on (and tickets to) the concert and please visit


April 27, 2019, 7:30pm

Brahms, Academic Festival Overture

Saint-Saens, Concerto No. 1 for Cello in A Minor (Brynn Dally, soloist and 2018 Concerto Competition Winner)

Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D Major


Instruments: Instruments are available to students who pay a $20 refundable deposit at Seawolf Services.

For additional information please contact Dr. Alexander Kahn, Director of Orchestral Studies.

3rd Annual 

Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition

The next Orchestra Concerto Competition will take place on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at 7:30pm in Schroeder Hall. Judges will be Dr. Alexander Kahn (Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra) Richard Loheyde (Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra), and Jerome Fleg (Santa Rosa Junior College). The winner(s) of the competition will perform in concert with the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra during the 2018-2019 concert season.

How To Apply to the Concerto Competition

In consultation with your private teacher, please fill out the Concerto Competition Application Form.  Participants should provide 1 copy of the score (orchestral score preferred; piano reduction acceptable) to Dr. Kahn along with their application form. 

Concerto Competition Rules

The competition is open to Music Majors and Minors at Sonoma State University and all registered members of Sonoma State Music Department ensembles.
Concerti can be for single soloists or multiple soloists (concerti grossi, double concertos, duets, etc). Arias, concert songs, and song cycles are all welcome provided they were originally written with orchestral accompaniment. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with Dr. Kahn for help in choosing an appropriate work before submitting an application.  
Each competition performance will be 8 to 12 minutes in length at the panel’s discretion.
Applicants should provide their own accompanist. 
Applicants may begin with a section of their choice, but must be prepared to play anything from the whole work if requested to do so by committee.
Memorization is preferred but not mandatory.
Lengthy tutti sections should be omitted.
The committee reserves the right to choose several winners or not to choose anyone.
Winner(s) must be prepared to attend rehearsals and concerts as arranged with the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra during the 2019-2020 concert season. 

Concerto Competition Application Form

2018 Orchestral 

Composition Competition:

Picture This! 
 featuring the Sonoma State University Symphony Orchestra Alexander Kahn, Director


‣  The competition is open to Sonoma State University students only. 

‣  Only unperformed, unpublished, and un-awarded compositions will be considered. 


‣  Entries must be submitted no later than November 1 2018. 

‣  The winning composition will be announced no later than December 1 2018. 

‣  Finished scores and parts of the winning composition must be submitted no later than December 10 2018.

‣  Composers of the winning composition should be prepared to attend all rehearsals of their composition, the schedule of which will be announced by the orchestra director. 

‣  The winning composition will open the SSU Symphony Orchestra concert on Sunday March 3 2019 at 2:00pm in Weill Hall. 


‣  Compositions to be considered should be scored for a standard symphonic orchestra (2222 – 4321 – timp+2 – str) and must not exceed 10 minutes in length. 

‣  The piece must be inspired by a work of visual art and accompanied by a program note documenting the connection to that work.

‣  The difficulty of the piece should be suitable for a young university orchestra. 

‣  The score and parts must be complete, legible, and professional quality, adhering to the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association music preparation guidelines


‣  Two anonymous hard copy scores should be submitted in a manilla envelope. The composer’s name or any reference to the composer must NOT appear on the scores. Non-anonymous entries will be disqualified. 

‣  Composers should also include a separate sheet with their name, contact information, a brief biography, and program notes for their composition. 

‣  All materials along with optional links to PDF scores, audio/MIDI realizations should be sent to: Thom Limbert, Ph.D. | Director Walford Studio/Composition | Assistant Professor of Music Sonoma State University | 1301 E. Cotati Avenue | GMC 2067 | Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609 | 707.664.2218 

Orchestra In The News

April 2, 2019

February 26, 2019

February 6, 2017

October 3, 2016

Inagural Concert Promotion Video

September 8, 2016

September 10, 2015

September 15, 2015

December 8, 2015

December 15, 2015