The University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra (USO) was established in 1945 as a student orchestra which presented at least two major concerts a year.
Decades of stellar performances, memorable collaborations, and fearless directors have seen the ensemble grow into Edmonton's premier community orchestra. Although membership is based around the music department at the University of Alberta, students from other faculties in the University and members of Edmonton's musical community also perform in the USO.
The University Symphony Orchestra regularly gives up to six concerts a year and often participates in choral and operatic presentations. The repertoire performed ranges from the Classical period to present day. Although most concerts are held in the University's Convocation Hall, the USO also performs in Edmonton's renowned Winspear Centre for Music.
The USO's mandate is to prepare the music students thoroughly for professional symphony orchestra life, by providing study and performance of the main symphony repertoire and preparation for the professional audition process through judicious choice of repertoire and individual and sectional excerpt coaching. Members also receive training in orchestral etiquette.
Past conductors of the orchestra include G.T. Lindskoog, Arthur Crighton, Normal Nelson, Malcolm Forsyth, and Tanya Prochazka.
The University Symphony Orchestra is currently directed by Petar Dundjerski, a fierce advocate for music education. Petar received his Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Toronto and continued his studies at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado, and the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Petar was the Assistant Conductor-in-Residence of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra from 2006 until 2008.
He currently conducts University of Alberta Symphony Orchestra as well as the Singing Strings Orchestra within the Edmonton Music Enrichment Program.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble is a group of 48 of the university's most talented wind and percussion musicians, directed by Angela Schroeder. The Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs the most serious and challenging wind band music available. With essentially one player to a part, the repertoire is largely music that was originally conceived for the wind band. Recognized in national festivals and internationally, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performs four concerts a year and several performances away from the campus and for special events.
The ensemble has performed with notable soloists including Dr. Brian Bowman (euphonium), Jeff Nelson (horn), Jens Lindemann (trumpet), Matthew Coley (percussion), Jeff Campbell (clarinet), Lidia Khaner (oboe), Allison Balcetis (saxophone), and the Quatour International de Saxophones (saxophone quartet). The ensemble has hosted two Pulitzer Prize winning composers on campus – Michael Colgrass and John Corigliano - and performed the Canadian premiere performance of Corigliano’s Circus Maximus: Symphony No. 3 for large Wind Ensemble, under the supervision of the composer. In 2010, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the regional conference of the College Band Directors National Association in Reno, NV. Most recently the ensemble were invited performers at the Percy Grainger Wind Band Festival in Chicago, IL, and had the distinction of performing at Orchestra Hall – home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – in March 2016. They have participated in numerous composition consortiums, including works by Jonathan Newman and Libby Larsen, and continue to program Canadian premiere performances annually.
The Symphonic Wind Ensemble participates in the annual Department of Music Concerto Competition, offering students the opportunity to perform a solo concerto with the ensemble. In addition, the ensemble hosts the University of Alberta High School Honour Band each spring, inviting students from across the province to come to campus to work and perform with members of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble as well as our applied instrumental faculty. Alumni of SWE have gone on to positions with major orchestras, military bands – even the world-famous Canadian Brass!
Angela Schroeder is currently Professor of Music in the Department of Music at the University of Alberta. She is the Director of Bands, the Area Coordinator for Winds and Percussion, and conducts the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Summer Band. She teaches courses in conducting and music education, and works with Graduate students in instrumental conducting. Angela is also the conductor of the St. Albert Community Band, an ensemble that is currently in their 50th concert season. Angela completed undergraduate studies in Music at the University of Calgary, majoring in Secondary Education, with performance studies in piano and trumpet. She entered the Master's program in Wind Conducting at Northwestern University in 2002, where she studied with Mallory Thompson and earned her Master of Music in Conducting. In 2007, she completed the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Band Conducting at the University of North Texas, under the supervision of Eugene Migliaro Corporon.
Angela has guest conducted and adjudicated numerous school bands in festivals and clinics throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and Thailand. She is a contributor in Canadian Winds, the national journal for wind band educators, and wrote chapters in eleven volumes of the Teaching Music through Performance in Band series, which profile wind literature for all levels of instrumental instruction, published by GIA.