About Our Ensembles

IWU Wind Ensemble

Winner of The American Prize in Band Performance 2016-17, the Illinois Wesleyan Wind Ensemble was founded in 1979. It is composed of the top wind and percussion students at the university who perform a wide range of excellent wind band literature.

The ensemble has worked with and sponsored commissions from Pulitzer Prize winning composers such as William Bolcom, John Corigliano, Karel Husa, Jennifer Higdon, Michael Schelle, and Joseph Schwantner. In addition, the Ensemble has also had the opportunity to work with the renowned Dutch composer Louis Andreissen.

The IWU Wind Ensemble annual Concerto Competition allows a student winner to perform as a soloist with the Wind Ensemble. The presentation of the selected winner is at our final concert of the academic year. In addition, one student conductor is selected in the spring semester to prepare and perform a work with their peers. 

The Wind Ensemble performs several concerts throughout the year and tours regularly. The group has made appearances at the College Band Directors National Association Conference and the Illinois Music Educators Association Conference. We also host an annual Honor Band Clinic in April of each school year. We are eager to have our Second Annual Honor Band Clinic January 19-20, 2024, and our First Annual Honor Jazz Band Clinic March March 8-9, 2024.

IWU Symphony Orchestra

A Finalist in the American Prize in Orchestral Performance 2016-17, the IWSO was founded in 1984 and welcomes students from music and non-music disciplines who perform a variety of orchestral selections from symphonies to musical theatre medleys. 

The ensemble has performed alongside various eminent musical personalities, including virtuoso string bassist Edgar Meyer and Grammy Award-Winning soprano Dawn Upshaw, who is also an Illinois Wesleyan alumna. Other distinguished guests that the ensemble has hosted throughout its tenure include Armando Ghitalla, Roger Roloff, and Laszlo Varga. In addition, IWSO has played in concert with the Volgograd Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Edward Serov and Peter Schickele (P.D.Q. Bach).

The Henry Charles Memorial Concert showcases the school’s finest musicians who compete in our annual Concerto-Aria competition. Winners have the opportunity to perform with the IWSO on a solo work for their instrument or voice. This concert highlights the amazing talents of our student body and is sponsored by the Alpha Lambda chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. 

The Orchestra has performed on CBS’s Sunday Morning and participated in frequent tours throughout the United States. IWSO hosts an annual Honor Orchestra Clinic, which will be held February 22-23, 2023. There is also a selected student conductor for the Symphony Orchestra who will prepare and perform a work with their peers.