Symphony Orchestra

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About the Symphony

The University Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students that performs at least 2-3 concerts per semester. It is open to any student at the university by audition. Non-majors are particularly welcome to join!

The UNHSO is a full symphony orchestra that plays pieces from all eras and styles of the repertoire, from Baroque masters to new compositions. The orchestra is led by Dr. David Upham. Rehearsals are held in the Paul Creative Arts Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:10-12:30. String players have an additional rehearsal on Monday evenings from 8:10-9:30 pm. 

How to Join the Symphony Orchestra

Auditions for the woodwinds, brass, and percussion are held only in the fall. String players may audition and join the ensemble at the beginning of either semester.

Information about the audition process


Prepare a 5-minute chair placement audition that includes:

  1. Required orchestral excerpts for your instrument. These excerpts can be found in the Paul Creative Arts Center outside of room M203 in mid-August and will also be posted here.
  2. Solo repertoire. A solo is required for music majors, and is highly encouraged for non-majors. Please select a solo or etude that best demonstrates your abilities that is 2 to 3 minutes in length (maximum). This solo is to be presented in addition the required excerpts.

Wind, Brass, and Percussion

Prepare a short etude or excerpt from a solo.

Prepare both required excerpts for your instrument. Excerpts will be posted in the Paul Creative Arts Center outside M203 in mid-August and will also be posted here.

Sign up for an audition time on the list posted next to the audition excerpts outside M203. You will play your symphony audition during the time posted for your instrument. You can audition for the UNH Bands at the same time.

Please contact Dr. David Upham in M206 with any questions you may have.

Performance Schedule

Saturday, October 14, 2023 – 7:00 pm ~ UNH-NHASTA Fall Orchestra Festival

Sunday, October 15, 2023 – 2:00 pm ~ UNH Symphony Orchestra Concert

Sunday, November 19, 2023 - 7:00 pm ~ UNH Symphony Orchestra and Youth Symphony 

Sunday, December 3, 2023 - 5 pm ~ Seasonal Spectacular Concert with all Department of Music Ensembles (ticketed event - purchase on PCAC Ticket Office website:

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 8:00 pm ~ UNH Symphony Orchestra 

Thursday, April 25, 2024– 8:00 pm ~ UNH Symphony Orchestra Concert

All performances are held in the Johnson Theatre, Paul Creative Arts Center, on the UNH Durham campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

orchestra conductor

Dr. David Upham is the orchestra conductor at the University of New Hampshire, and the founding director of the UNH Youth Symphony Orchestras. Prior to his arrival in New England, he was active in Seattle, Washington, as a conductor of professional, community, and student ensembles. He was the Music Director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra and of the Young Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra at the Seattle Conservatory of Music. Dr. Upham also served as the Associate Conductor of the Rainier Symphony Orchestra, regularly conducted various professional ballet orchestras, and was a featured guest conductor with the Northwest Mahler Festival. In November of 2009, he made his international debut at the contemporary music festival, Aujourd’hui Musiques, in Perpignan, France. Dr. Upham conducted the New Hampshire All-State Orchestra in April 2012.

 Dr. Upham is in demand as an educator and clinician at festivals across the country. In addition to his work at the Summer Youth Music School at UNH, he also conducts at the Lutheran Summer Music Academy, and works occasionally at the Vivace Chamber Players festival in Seattle. He had a long tenure with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras, serving as conductor or assistant with each of the organization’s five orchestras. Dr. Upham also had a successful 10-year career as a public school music educator, leading orchestral programs in Kent and Bellevue, WA. In his position at Newport High School, he developed a thriving program with 120 string students across 3 orchestras, who consistently won top awards at various music festivals throughout the region.

Dr. Upham has degrees from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa), the University of Northern Colorado, and received his DMA in conducting from the University of Washington. 

For more information contact Dr. David Upham