Frequently Asked Questions

If the answer to your question is not listed here, or if you would like more information, feel free to email us at orchestra@umich.edu.

Who can join the LSO?

Entry into the LSO is by audition. Priority is given to members of the University of Michigan Life Sciences community.

Members represent:

  • Michigan Medicine
    • Hospitals & Health Centers
    • Medical School
    • Shared Services
  • Health-sciences schools including Dentistry, Kinesiology Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Social Work
  • Biomedical research areas of the Rackham Graduate School and College of Literature, Science & the Arts
  • Biomedical Engineering program
  • School of Natural Resources & the Environment
  • Health, life and environmental science areas of U-M Flint & U-M Dearborn

Anyone who has an affiliation with these units: faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni or retirees, are welcome to audition. We occasionally take someone outside of these parameters to meet the needs of the orchestra, at the discretion of the committee.

We ask that undergraduates at U-M audition for other groups on campus, although those who have obtained junior status and have a life sciences declared major may audition for the LSO if their schedule does not permit participation in other campus groups. No course credit is offered for participating in the LSO.

A list of campus orchestras, including the Campus Symphony and the Campus Philharmonia, is here.

In limited cases, non-life sciences community members may join. Sometimes, we need more players for certain instrumental sections than there are available life sciences musicians. This varies from year to year, but in the past, violins, violas, cellos, and double bass sections have drawn on non-life sciences musicians.

We welcome inquiries from non-life sciences community members, but we first encourage them to explore performance opportunities with other amateur groups on campus and in the community. A complete list of other ensembles is here.

Please contact us at orchestra@umich.edu if you have any questions.

How competitive is the LSO?

The level of competition varies from year to year. In general, we have been able to admit every interested string player (as well as some additional non-life sciences members). Wind positions are more competitive. In particular, flute and clarinet positions have been extremely competitive.

Can you tell me more about auditions?

More details  aboutour audition process, and downloadable excerpts of music that all auditionees must play, are available here.

How much experience do I need to join the LSO?

To see a list of the repertoire the LSO has played during its past seasons, click here.

Although the repertoire is sometimes difficult, we have had some members play in the orchestra after years away from their instrument who have really loved their experience. We encourage you to email us at orchestra@umich.edu to see if the LSO might be for you.

I can’t make it to the September auditions. Can I still join the LSO?

It depends. We welcome you to complete a prospective musician form. If we can use your instrument, and if it is early enough in the season, we will contact you. Otherwise, we will add your name to an “interested in the LSO” email list and contact you when future auditions take place.

Does the LSO provide instruments?

Unfortunately, the LSO does not provide instruments, except for a piccolo for a flute player who does not own one, and access to U-M percussion instruments for percussionists accepted to the orchestra.

What is expected of me if I join the LSO?

We understand that members of the Life Sciences community are very busy. However, the members of the LSO work very hard in preparing two performances a year.

We ask that you are professional and respect the hard work of your colleagues by being ready to play your part in rehearsal and to attend most, if not all rehearsals. We typically rehearse on Sunday evenings 7-9:30 at the School of Music. You can check to see how many rehearsals you will miss by checking the schedule here. We also expect you to attend the dress rehearsal and concert.

If you can attend one entire half of a season, but not the other, you can email us at orchestra@umich.edu to see if this can be accommodated.

What is it like being in the LSO?

LSO Musicians work hard, but they are also part of an incredible community of faculty, staff, students, and volunteers from all over the university’s life sciences community.

The musician next to you may be a neuroscience student studying Alzheimer’s disease, an epidemiologist, an administrative assistant from dermatology, or a surgeon developing artificial organs. Although we come from all across campus, we are unified in our common goal of growing as individuals and an ensemble, playing beautiful music, and providing a great performance for our audience. The LSO is a place to make new connections, and share a fulfilling experience outside of work and studies.

What happens to the prospective form information I submit?

The information you submit is kept in our database for the purpose of contacting you when the next auditions take place. If you receive a copy of the form, then you have successfully submitted your information

Click here to proceed to the webform.


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