Instrumental groups

Page contents

University Symphony Orchestra

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor:  John Pickard (autumn term) and Neal Farwell (spring term)
  • Rehearsals: Tuesdays 7.00 - 9.15pm, Victoria Rooms

This is the University’s main orchestra, and it is conducted by members of Music staff. A full-size symphony orchestra, we perform ambitious repertoire from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries to a high standard. We aim to balance established masterworks, some less well-known pieces and contemporary music. Repertoire in the autumn term will feature Holst’s Beni Mora Suite, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music and the remarkable 2nd Symphony by the Welsh composer Grace Williams.

University New Music Ensemble

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: Michael Ellison
  • Rehearsals: Teaching Block 2 only, Wednesdays 5.00 – 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms

NME performs brand new works and modern classics to the highest standard, bringing together leading performers from across the University to give one concert during the year, along with contributions to events such as Bristol New Music. 

University Chamber Orchestra

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: Sam Kail-Dyke
  • Rehearsals: Mondays 7.00 - 9.00pm, Victoria Rooms

Chamber orchestra is a high-standard, student lead auditioned ensemble that welcomes 40 musicians from across the university to perform a variety of thrilling professional repertoire, from classical symphonies to late romantic music. This year we have planned aprogrammeof four concerts, including our flagship St. George's concert. Individual students have the chance to be featured through the esteemed annual concerto competition as well. Please email our manager for more information: 

University Wind Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Thomas Jensen
  • Rehearsals: Mondays 5.00 - 6.30pm, Victoria Rooms

The Wind Orchestra is the largest of the non-auditioned ensembles and performs pieces in a wide range of musical styles. We welcome all abilities of wind, brass, and percussion players, so come along, meet new people, explore new music and enjoy being in a friendly and social ensemble! Each year we compete in the South West Universities Concert Band Fest. For further information, please email 

University String Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Jago Webb
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5.00 - 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms

String orchestra is a fun and exciting ensemble open to all string players without the pressures of auditions or intensive practice regimes. Violin, viola, cello, and double bass players are welcome to join as we strive to play challenging and engaging music to a high standard. Our repertoire is always varied, drawing on music of all genres. Players have the opportunity toshowcase their work in 3 concerts over theyear. For further information please email  

University Big Band Society

Welcome to Bristol University Big Band Society!  

We have two amazing big bands which cover a full range of jazz, from classic swing to contemporary fusion, funk and pop. As well as being in demand for formals and parties, we put on our own events throughout the year, with a particular recent highlight being our sell-out event ‘Clusterfunk’ at Bristol Beacon hosted with the JazzFunkSoul Society.  

The society also holds an annual summer tour which is always well received – with both bands performing to large crowds in beautiful locations across Europe.  

Visit our Welcome Fair stand to sign up for auditions which happen at the start of the year! We have free membership available through the SU website.  

Find us on Facebook (The Bristol Hornstars and Bristol University Jazz Orchestra) and Instagram (@bristolbigbandsoc).


  • Auditioned: Audition required (contact society for details)
  • Rehearsals: Friday 5.30 - 7.30pm, Students' Union

The Bristol Hornstars are Big Band Soc’s auditioned band, and are renowned as one of Bristol's premier jazz ensembles! The Hornstars bring a dazzling mix of  jazz, funk, latin and modern classics to local venues. Conducted this year by Izzy Mastriforte, be sure to audition for some of the finest jazz the city has to offer.

Bristol University Jazz Orchestra (BUJO)

  • Auditioned: No audition for saxes, trumpets and trombones - but rhythm section and vocalists auditioned
  • Rehearsals: Friday 5.30 - 7.30pm, Students' Union

The Bristol University Jazz Orchestra are Big Band Soc’s un-auditioned band (except for vocals and rhythm), giving everyone an opportunity to be a part of an accomplished and vibrant jazz ensemble. Performing at events across the city, the inimitable BUJO is conducted this year by Oli Manley. Be sure to come along for lively rehearsals with midpoint pints and unforgettable gigs 

BUMS Chamber Music

  • Auditioned: No
  • Co-ordinator: Anna Harris 

BUMS Chamber Music is the perfect opportunity for all instrumentalists to get involved with music at Bristol. We help you meet and connect with other chamber musicians so you can create and join ensembles, we will also be running some larger one off ensembles throughout the year too! Recent ensembles included piano trios, wind quintets and string quartets, but there are endless possibilities. We also collaborate with the composition network so composers can get their works performed. There will be many performance opportunities through the year with regular concerts happening in Clifton churches for groups to participate in. If you would like to get involved, you can fill out the BUMS chamber music form or contact Anna at 

Flute Choir

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Ben Connolly
  • Rehearsals: Fridays 5.00 - 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms

The Flute Choir is a friendly and supportive ensemble, catering for a range of abilities. We are anunauditionedensemble, who perform a variety of repertoire, including pieces written or arranged specially for us by members of the Composition Network. Whether you’d like to get back in to playing the flute, or you’re an experienced player, you’d be welcome to join Flute Choir!

For further information please email


  • President: Noah Chandler
  • Vice-President: Emily Whitehall

Bristol SU performing arts society of the year 2023

Bristol University Symphonia is a Gold Balloon accredited society who won Performing Arts Society of the Year in2023! We have two student-run orchestras: Symphonia Symphony Orchestra, which is part-auditioned, and SymphoniaPhilharmonic, which is the only un-auditioned full orchestra at the University. Besides playing prestigious music, we have a jam-packed social calendar, and eat biscuits and cakes during rehearsal breaks! We offer a non-pressurised fun environment for music making and are accessible to all. We have a vibrant and social orchestral family, and we enjoy engaging with our local community, including through outreach events and sponsorships. 

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@bristolsymphonia) to keep up to date and find us at the Welcome Fair or email for more information. Apply now for either/both orchestras: 

Symphonia Symphony Orchestra

  • Auditioned: part-auditioned
  • Manager: Ella Kronqvist
  • Conductor: Caleb Kernaghan

Symphonia Symphony Orchestra is a part-auditioned group that plays a wide variety of advanced orchestral music including late 19th century gems and modern favourites from the world of film. Last year, this included Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in C minor. The orchestra is a tight-knit family of musicians, and we encourage everyone to attend our regular fun socials, including post-rehearsal wind downs. We rehearse on Thursday evenings and perform at least three concerts per year. Our esteemed annual concerto and composition competitions also offer special opportunities for individual musicians to showcase their talent. 

Symphonia Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Manager: Peta Wall
  • Conductor: Felicity Lewis

Symphonia Philharmonic Orchestra is the University’s only completely un-auditioned full orchestra. No matter what your instrumental proficiency is, we welcome you to perform orchestral favourites, in a relaxing, fun and easy-going environment. Our repertoire includes famous film and theatre pieces and well-known classics. Last year, this included Danny Elfman’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. We rehearse on Tuesday evenings and perform at least three concerts a year. In addition, we have many fun socials and often collaborate with other societies, allowing our members to meet new people and make friends while playing music. So for a relaxed opportunity to play music and make friends, we'd love to see you at Symphonia's Philharmonic Orchestra! 

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@bristolsymphonia) to keep up to date and find us at the Welcome Fair or email for more information. Apply now:

University Brass Band

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductors: Imogen Mcara
  • Rehearsals: Thursdays 7.00 - 9.00pm, Victoria Rooms

The University of Bristol Brass Band is a friendly, social and hardworking non- auditioned ensemble, welcoming brass and percussion players of all standards. We aim to perform at a high level, working on some challenging, yet exciting, repertoire in a relaxed and low-pressure environment.The band holds a number of concerts throughout the academic year, the highlight of which being competing atUniBrass, the annual inter-university brass band contest, in which last year Bristol won the most entertaining band! In previous years, the band has been lucky enough to have workshops led by Philip Harper, conductor of the Cory Band, as well as sectionals led by section principals. If you have any questions please email the band manager at: 

Bristol University Symphonic Winds

  • Auditioned: Yes (contact society for details)
  • Conductor: Jasmine Law
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5.00 - 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms

Visit the BUMS website ( for more information on auditions. 

Symphonic Winds is the University's auditioned concert band, performing new and classic wind repertoire to a very high standard. Symph winds has around 40 members and form a close-knit group with regular socials and extra events. This year we are planning to enter the National Concert Band Festival (NCBF) for the first time in the ensemble's recent history! Auditions take place during the first week of term. For more information, email the manager at

Please see a digital copy of our Calling All Musicians leaflet : CAM 23-24 (PDF, 1,318kB)

Edit this page