Performance Opportunities

Vanderbilt University Orchestra

Blair School students have a wide range of performance opportunities, from solo recitals and chamber music to orchestras, choirs and fully produced operas. There are also performance opportunities throughout the Nashville community. Volunteer opportunities are available, both in person and online, at area schools, nursing homes and more, and students may book paid gigs through our student referral service.

Vanderbilt Performing Ensembles

Vanderbilt University Orchestra

The Vanderbilt University Orchestra focuses on the highest-quality performance of canonical classical romantic and 20th-century works, with additional repertoire drawn eclectically from a wide range of periods and styles. Students become immersed in the stylistic demands of particular composers and periods, while honing their skills as ensemble players. Commercial recordings and collaborations with guest composers and other artists are important components of the ensemble's activities. It is open by audition to non-music majors.

Vanderbilt Wind Symphony

The Vanderbilt Wind Symphony comprises woodwind, brass, percussion, harp, piano and double-bass students. Its repertoire consists of canonical works and new compositions, including settings in a diversity of styles and genres. Particular features of the Wind Symphony experience include participating in commercial recordings, performances at conferences and on tour, interacting with living composers, and working with guest artists and Blair faculty performers and composers. It is open by audition to non-music majors.

Vanderbilt Opera/Oratorio Orchestra

The Vanderbilt Opera/Oratorio Orchestra provides an opportunity for students to learn the important art of vocal accompaniment through collaboration with the Vocal Department in Vanderbilt opera and oratorio productions.

Vanderbilt Chorale

Open by audition to all Vanderbilt students (both music and non-music majors), Vanderbilt Chorale is a select 24-voice choir that performs music in a variety of styles, with multiple formal concerts per semester and bi-annual national and international tours. High levels of musicianship, preparation and vocal flexibility are required.

Vanderbilt University Singers

Vanderbilt University Singers performs choral music of all genres, and combines with the orchestra to perform major choral works each year. This ensemble fulfills ensemble credit for students who are majoring or minoring in music, but is open by audition to any Vanderbilt students who meet prerequisite standards of music reading, vocal quality and choral experience.

Blair Jazz Choir

Blair Jazz Choir is a small ensemble (limited to 12 voices plus rhythm section) that performs jazz works including scat, contemporary, and standard jazz. They hold performances on and off-campus throughout the semester. It is open to any Vanderbilt student by audition.

Vanderbilt Opera Theatre

Vanderbilt Opera Theatre is open by audition to all Vanderbilt students. VOT, under the direction of Gayle Shay, presents one fully staged and costumed production with orchestra in the fall semester, and a staged art song theater piece in alternating spring semesters under the auspices of the Lyric Theatre Workshop). Repertoire for the fall production is drawn from the operatic and musical theater canon. All members of the cast participate in backstage production work as assigned by the faculty.

Chamber Music Ensembles

A foundational element of the Blair School of Music's educational program is its innovative chamber music-based ensemble curriculum. With more than two dozen instrumental chamber ensembles in place, students acquire listening and collaborative techniques that impact their overall musical development. Their experiences participating in both large and small ensembles complement each other by developing skills that enhance the students' growth in all of their musical experiences. Ensembles may be formed by the students themselves or at the recommendation of the faculty.

Blair Big Band

The Blair Big Band is a student group that plays big band swing and Latin music from the traditional composers up to the modern. The band consists of five saxophones, five trumpets, five trombones, and from three to five players in the rhythm section. Additionally, the group employs both male and female vocalists. The band is open to all Vanderbilt students by audition.


Vanderbilt University's West African drumming and dance class and performing ensemble. The group performs traditional songs and dances from Ghana, West Africa. As part of Blair's music program, African music is taught through oral tradition, although some written materials are available from time to time. Students are encouraged to use their memory in retaining the rhythms, songs and folklore presented.

Vanderbilt Steel Bands

The Vanderbilt Steel Bands are open to all Vanderbilt students by audition. They focus on musical styles such as Calypso and Soca from the Caribbean, with emphasis on music and history from the island of Trinidad, birthplace of the Steel Pan.