School of Music > Academics > Ensembles


​Little can match the exhilaration, satisfaction, and complete joy of participating with colleagues in a stellar ensemble performance - which is why DePaul offers so many outstanding opportunities to make music in an ensemble setting. Student ensembles perform in the state-of-the-art Holtschneider Performance Center and venues off campus, opening student performances to citywide appreciative audiences​.

In addition, students will have the opportunity to perform in and attend concerts in Chicago. Just beyond the campus gates, the city's world-renowned musical institutions perform extraordinary programs, and our students are always encouraged to participate. Chicago gives our students an electrifying atmosphere in which to create and share their music.

Expand the ensemble names below to learn more about each.

Contributing to Chicago’s rich and cultural landscape, the DePaul Symphony Orchestra rehearses and performs in the Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall in the Holtschneider Performance Center on the Lincoln Park campus. The DePaul Symphony Orchestra focuses on a thorough and serious study of the core orchestral repertoire while also studying contemporary repertoire. Students receive regular coaching from members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, and DePaul’s pre-eminent string and wind faculties. Professionalism and orchestral fundamentals are prioritized. Rehearsals are two times a week for approximately two and a half hours, with concerts taking place a couple of times each quarter. Members of the DePaul Symphony Orchestra often perform as the DePaul Opera Theatre Orchestra. 

Guest Conductor Allen Tinkham will lead the DePaul Symphony Orchestra during the autumn quarter of 2023, with additional guest conductors for the winter and spring quarters to be announced at a later date. 

Membership in the DePaul Symphony Orchestra is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition. 

Michael Lewanski, Conductor

The DePaul Concert Orchestra studies and performs a diverse range of works—standard repertoire to new music, from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The orchestra's concerts feature adventurous programming designed to provide thought-provoking aesthetic experiences that recontextualize well-known pieces, present unfamiliar ones and connect musicians and audiences more deeply to the music of their past and present. The DePaul Concert Orchestra collaborates annually with the DePaul Choirs and DePaul Ensemble 20+. Members of the DePaul Concert Orchestra often perform as the DePaul Opera Theatre Orchestra. 

Membership in the DePaul Concert Orchestra is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition.

Erica Neidlinger, Conductor

Conducted by Erica Neidlinger, DePaul Wind Symphony consists of 55-60 outstanding wind players who perform a repertoire chosen from a variety of historical periods and for ensembles of various sizes. While this group occasionally presents pieces composed for smaller groups, much of its time is spent studying and performing works from the standard symphonic band repertoire. As with every ensemble group at DePaul, professionalism in performance quality and attitude is always emphasized.

Membership in DePaul Wind Symphony is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition.

Michael Lewanski and Erica Neidlinger, Conductors

DePaul Ensemble 20+ plays living composers' music and 20th-century works. Comprised mainly of School of Music performance students, the group rehearses, performs, and studies various works from the early 20th century to the present. Ensemble 20+ collaborates with composers and performers of varying backgrounds: DePaul faculty and students, Chicago composers, and national and international artists. Ensemble 20+ seeks to engage with the ever-widening and changing set of contemporary compositional styles and musical practices. It fosters collaboration and mutual respect among performers, composers, and audience members; it contributes to a positive and creatively vital musical community. 

Membership in DePaul Ensemble 20+ is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition. 

Eric Esparza, Conductor

The DePaul Choirs are dedicated to developing the choral artistry of a wide array of student singers (music majors and non-music majors) with diverse and engaging repertoire. The choirs perform a variety of musical styles, including Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 20th-Century, 21st-Century, spirituals, jazz, and music from a diverse mixture of world cultures. Performances are once or twice a quarter and often include collaborations with guest artists, culture bearers, and instrumental colleagues. Recent performances of masterworks have included Bach’s Hunting Cantata, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, DuBois’s Seven Last Words of Christ, Verdi’s Four Sacred Songs, and the Fauré Requiem. Repertoire for smaller works have featured compositions by Ysaye Barnwell, Chen Yi, Lonnie Norwood, Florence Price, Manuel M. Ponce, Henry Purcell, and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. 

The DePaul Choirs are comprised of the DePaul Chamber Choir, the DePaul Concert Choir, and the DePaul Symphonic Choir.  

Membership in the DePaul choirs is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition during the first rehearsal.

Always a venue for exceptional talent, DePaul Opera Theatre produces two or three full-length operas each year. Repertoire has included Carmen, La Bohème, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Candide, and the U.S. premiere of an opera by Philip Glass. The DePaul Opera Theatre performs in the new Sasha and Eugene Jarvis Opera Hall, one of the few wholly redesigned and dedicated vocal rehearsal and performance spaces for recitals, concerts, and opera productions on a college campus. 

Graduates of the DePaul Opera Theatre are currently performing with such opera companies as the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric, Berlin, Vienna, Zurich, Houston, Dallas, and Santa Fe. The opera program is led by Harry Silverstein, who has directed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, and English National Operas and for companies in Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and The Netherlands.

Membership in DePaul Opera Theatre is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition. Guest conductors will lead DePaul Opera Theatre productions during the 2023-24 academic year. 

Scott Burns, Director

The DePaul Jazz Workshop is dynamic and multi-purpose by design, ranging in size from as few as ten to as many as seventeen members, and performing repertoire from a wide variety of contemporary and historical composers and arrangers. The ensemble provides students with opportunities to develop further their understanding of medium and large ensemble performance practices; to improve improvisational knowledge and conceptual understanding of contemporary ensemble concepts and techniques; and to sharpen rhythmic flexibility, interpretative skills, section and ensemble phrasing techniques, and dynamic sensitivity.

Membership in the DePaul Jazz Workshop is open to all DePaul students, with placements made based on audition results and the ensemble's needs.

Thomas Matta, Director

Focusing on the traditional and contemporary repertoire for the standard big band instrumentation, the DePaul Jazz Ensemble performs a variety of works penned by contemporary and classic arrangers and composers, including new works.  Additionally, the ensemble rehearses and performs new student arrangements and compositions. The DePaul Jazz Ensemble has appeared at the Midwest Clinic, the International Association for Jazz Education Conference, and the Duke Ellington International Conference, among other conferences.

Membership in the DePaul Jazz Ensemble is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition.

Kathryn Sherman, Director

The DePaul Vocal Jazz Ensemble consists of ten to twelve vocalists and a rhythm section. With repertoire ranging from classic standards to contemporary compositions and arrangements, students perform music from premier arrangers of vocal jazz as well as emerging composers/arrangers within DePaul’s own Jazz Studies program. By exploring both classic jazz and other contemporary commercial music singing styles and techniques, students develop their skills in advanced harmony, improvisation, syncopation, ensemble blending, microphone technique, idiomatic phrasing, dynamics, solo and small group ensemble singing, sight reading, jazz arranging, and choral conducting.

DePaul Vocal Jazz Ensemble membership is open to all DePaul students, subject to audition.

Thomas Matta, Coordinator of the Jazz Combo program

Performance in jazz combos plays a significant and required role in the education and curriculum of Jazz Studies students at DePaul. Jazz combos provide students with opportunities to develop individual and personal approaches to and an understanding of common performance practices of small jazz ensembles.

Combos vary in size and instrumentation and are generally formed at the beginning of the academic year, with rosters and personnel remaining intact throughout the year. Jazz combos rehearse and are coached weekly by a jazz faculty member, culminating in an audio-recorded concert performance at each quarter’s end. Additionally, each combo will generally participate annually in at least one studio recording session. Additional performance opportunities on and off campus are a regular part of the program’s activities.

Membership in the Jazz Combo program is open to all DePaul Jazz Studies majors and to School of Music students, subject to audition results and permission of the Coordinator of the Jazz Combo program. 

Chamber Music at DePaul is a significant part of every student’s education and is a requirement for performance majors. The Chamber Music program is varied and extensive. During any given quarter, there might be 20 or more small ensembles rehearsing and being coached by faculty. Each group performs at the end of each quarter. Various chamber groups include small wind, strings, mixed, woodwind, and brass groups, in addition to the possibility of a brass ensemble or trombone ensemble. Baroque Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble are just two of the many chamber groups available every quarter.

Baroque Ensemble

Jason Moy, Director

The DePaul Baroque Ensemble is dedicated to performing instrumental and vocal chamber music from the 16th through mid-18th centuries. Student ensembles are coached on performance practice and other techniques that will enable them to play this music in a historically informed manner, with particular emphasis given to musical rhetoric and style, ornamentation, and improvisation. Although students play on modern instruments, ensembles are augmented by the School of Music's historical instrument collection of three harpsichords, a chamber organ, and a set of Baroque bows, all of which are available for students to use in performing repertoire ranging from instrumental/vocal trios and quartets to music for chamber orchestra.

Percussion Ensemble

Michael Kozakis, Director

The Percussion Ensemble consists of 15-18 percussion majors who perform a large variety of music expressly written for percussion. The ensemble is dedicated to balancing historically significant works and the latest contemporary works. The ensemble performs fall, winter, and spring concerts and performances at student recitals and clinics, including the 2003 Yamaha Orchestral Percussion Seminar. Performances include a mix of works written for the small chamber group to the large percussion orchestra. The ensemble has been able to perform with several guest artists, including Brett Dietz, Eric Millstein, and Michael Burritt.