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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Crane Strings and Orchestras

Crane Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Dr. Ching-Chun Lai 

The Crane Symphony Orchestra is the second oldest college orchestra in the United States, and in its long legacy, students at Crane have worked with legendary conductors and musicians, such as Nadia Boulanger, Sarah Caldwell, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Gunther Schuller, and Robert Shaw, to name a few. The Crane Symphony Orchestra is a premier, 90 member performing ensemble at The Crane School of Music. Non-Crane string players and string players with other performance concentrations should consult the Conductor of the Crane Symphony Orchestra for audition information. Woodwind, brass, and percussion auditions for all major instrumental ensembles will be given on material which is distributed by the major teachers of each instrument at the end of each semester. Consult studio teacher of your instrument for further information.

The mission for Crane Symphony Orchestra is not only pursuing a high-standard of performance. We are also committed to providing students with an excellent ensemble experience as part of the education for future music teachers, performers, scholars, composers, and music industry leaders. The Crane Symphony Orchestra performs a wide range orchestral repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music. Every year, the CSO performs four full symphonic concerts and two concerts in collaboration with the Crane Chorus.

In 2016, the Crane Symphony Orchestra and the Crane Chorus performed at Carnegie Hall with guest conductor Duain Wolfe (director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus). In 2012, the Crane Symphony Orchestra and the Crane Chorus took the stage at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, performing Verdi's Requiem. In 2013, under guest conductor Christof Perick, in collaboration with American Boychoir, Crane Symphony Orchestra and Crane Chorus performed Benjamin Britten's monumental War Requiem. Other recent guest conductors include JoAnn Falletta, Larry Rachleff and Joseph Flummerfelt. The Orchestra also tours regularly. Recently, CSO performed at the NYSSMA Winter Conference, and outreached to high schools at Long Island and Albany area.

Crane Chamber Orchestra

Conductor: Dr. Ching-Chun Lai 

The chamber orchestra concentrates on the study and performance of repertoire written for this orchestration, ranging from baroque to contemporary music. Membership is drawn from qualified students on campus. Audition is required for enrollment. For non-music majors, contact the orchestra director for registration and audition information. The Crane Chamber Orchestra will sometimes serve as the Opera Orchestra  (see below).

Opera Orchestra

In fall semesters when the Crane Chamber Orchestra does not serve as the Opera Orchestra, instrumental students at Crane have opportunity to join the opera orchestra, which performs fully-staged operatic works with the Crane Opera Ensemble. The size of the ensemble depends on specific work being performed, which is drawn from Baroque through contemporary operatic and musical theatre repertoire. The Opera Ensemble's 2011 production of Amahl & the Night Visitors was the 1st place winner of The American Prize in Operatic Performance and 2nd place in the National Opera Association's annual Collegiate Production Competition (Division 3). In 2018, Crane will premiere Mayo, a new opera Tom Cipullo commissioned through the Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize. In 2014, Crane presented scenes from three contemporary operas as part of the first ever Pellicciotti Prize, with all six composers and librettists in residence.

Chamber Ensembles

String students are regularly offered the opportunity to be in chamber ensembles such as String Quartets and Contemporary Music Ensemble. For more information, obtain further information from the appropriate faculty member.

Guitar Ensembles

Dr. Doug Rubio directs both Guitar Ensemble and Guitar Quartets at Crane.

Harp Ensemble

The Crane Harp Ensemble, directed by Dr. Jessica Suchy-Pilalis, regularly tours, and performed at the American Harp Society's 41st National Conference in New Orleans in 2014. After premiering new works written for them as part Voxnovus' "15 Minutes of Fame" project in 2013, the ensemble released a CD, 15 Minutes of Fame and Other Compositions for Multiple Harps, in 2014.