Do You Play an Instrument?

The Caltech Orchestra is a full seventy-piece orchestra comprised of students, faculty, and staff at Caltech and players from the community. The orchestra meets once weekly, on Tuesday evenings. Noted guest artists regularly perform and work with the orchestra, including the renowned concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Martin Chalifour, giving Caltech students a unique musical opportunity to interact with prominent musical figures. Recent programs have included symphonies by Mahler, Brahms, and Beethoven, as well as contemporary compositions. The orchestra also sponsors an annual concerto competition to give exceptionally accomplished student soloists the opportunity to perform with the orchestra.


The Caltech Jazz Band rehearses one night a week, followed by an informal improvisation class. Local jazz professionals often stop by to perform with the band as guest artists, as well as offer clinics. Past clinicians include members of Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, legendary composer Bill Holman, and members of the great Count Basie and Duke Ellington Orchestras. Artists who have played with the bands include: Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Billy Childs, Steve Houghton, Bill Watrous, Bobby Shew, Gary Foster, Sal Lozano, and Greg Bisonette. The Jazz Band’s latest CD, The Capitol Sessions, was recorded at the infamous Capitol Studios in Hollywood.

The Concert Band only rehearses once a week and performs three major concerts a year. Artists who have performed with the Concert Band include clarinetists David Schiffren, Julia Heinen, Eddie Daniels, trumpeters Tony Plog  and Allen Vizzutti, tuba virtuoso Jim Self, and oboist Allan Vogel.  Major works in past years include performances of compositions by Frank Ticheli, Gustav Holst, Stanley Friedman, David Gillingham, Eric Whitacre, Rolf Ruden, Raymond Burkhart, Les Deutsch, and Charles Ives.  The Concert Band has recorded two CD's that are available for sale at the Caltech Bookstore.

Approximately thirty trios, quartets and quintets of varying instrumentation comprise Caltech's Chamber Music ensembles. Instrumentalists are grouped with those of similar abilities and rehearse weekly in preparation for public recitals, master classes and occasional performance for campus parties. Ensembles perform a wide variety of music ranging from Renaissance dances for recorders to Baroque trio sonatas, Classical string quartets, piano quartets by the Romantic masters, and the twentieth century music for winds. The Chamber Music Program also includes music for piano four-hands and two pianos.

Class instruction in Guitar is offered each term. Beginning Guitar requires no previous experience and provides an introduction to basic technique and musicianship, and includes classical, flamenco, and folk as well as jazz chord system. Intermediate Guitar emphasizes reading notes on the entire fingerboard and offers a more thorough study of classical technique and musicianship. Advanced Guitar, for the serious student, provides exploration of the expanded classical repertoire and a thorough treatment of musical interpretation and performance techniques. Works from the Renaissance through the Contemporary period are covered.

2004 © Caltech Music Program