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Strings & Orchestra Program

Symphony Orchestra

The Orange County School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra (IMSO) is the top ensemble in the Orchestra and String program. Conducted by Christopher Russell, students perform major repertoire ranging from Baroque through brand new works. Musicians often work with guest performers and perform in a variety of venues in the Orange County area. The orchestra has also performed at Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

Concert Orchestra

The Orange County School of the Arts Concert Orchestra was founded in 2006. The orchestra concentrates on repertoire from different time periods and encompassing different styles. Students in the orchestra are given training in orchestral playing in preparation for advancement on both their instrument and ensemble. In 2008, Barry Silverman, music director of the South Coast Symphony, was named conductor of the school's Concert Orchestra.

String Orchestra

The Orange County School of the Arts String Orchestra consists of students in the seventh and eighth grades. The fundamentals of string playing including technical skills, ensemble playing and proper intonation are covered in this ensemble. Rhythm and ear training are also included. Students learn all of these through a variety of repertoire that is advanced for most string orchestras of this grade level. Advanced seventh and eighth graders also have the opportunity to perform in the Symphony and Concert Orchestras.

Other Classes / Ensembles

In addition to Music Theory, Music History and some elective classes, students in the Orchestra and String program may be involved in some of these classes:

Chamber Music
Available to advanced string and piano students. Under the coaching of string and piano professionals, students perform in small groups a variety of works for chamber ensembles from classical to modern. 

Harp Masterclass
Harp performance, technique and maintenance are covered. Harp students also concentrate on the repertoire assigned to them in the various orchestras.

String Masterclass
String students learn to improve their abilities on their instruments through performing in small chamber groups, performing in a masterclass setting and discussing topics pertaining to string performance

String Sectionals
Ranging from full string orchestra to sectionals by instrument. Students concentrate on string techniques special to their instrument. Sectional rehearsals include focused training by professional string players that allows them to become better orchestral musicians.

Christopher Russell
Coordinator, Orchestra and String Program

Degrees and Studies:

  • M.A. Orchestral Conducting, Indiana University
  • B.A. Composition, California State University, Fullerton

Teaching Experience:

  • Director of Orchestral Studies, Azusa Pacific University
  • Director, Instrumental Music Conservatory, Orange County High School of the Arts

Professional Experience:

  • Associate conductor, Lake Avenue Chamber Orchestra
  • Music director, Pasadena Young Musicians Orchestra
  • Music director, Indiana University String Orchestra
  • Conductor, Biola Symphony
  • Conductor, Indiana University New Music Ensemble
  • Guest conductor, NOVA Contemporary Music Ensemble of the University of North Texas
  • Guest conductor, California State University, Long Beach New Music Ensemble
  • Pre-concert lecturer, Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Pre-concert lecturer, Philharmonic Society of Orange County


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