About the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra
The Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra is comprised of the finest string, wind, brass, and percussion students at Sonoma State and of musicians from the broader Sonoma County community. Under the direction of Dr. Alexander Kahn, the Symphony Orchestra performs a diverse array of orchestral literature, ranging from the Baroque period to world premieres and from classical repertoire to film, opera, and educational works. Soloists are regularly featured, including guest artists, faculty soloists, and student soloists chosen through the annual concerto competition. In addition to performing four concerts each year in the beautiful confines of Weill Hall, the Symphony Orchestra performs regularly on tour throughout California and beyond.
Membership is through audition only and is open to all students regardless of major as well as community members. Auditions are held during the first week of each semester. For more information regarding the audition process, please visit the orchestra homepage at or email Dr. Kahn at
The Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra is generously funded through the Department of Music at Sonoma State University. However, donations are gratefully received to support our various initiatives, including our annual Concerto Competition, Composition Competition, Family Concert series, and our Lesson Scholarship Fund for Non-Majors. Please consider making a gift to support us! For more information please contact Dr. Alexander Kahn and/or Stephen Arneson, Director of Development for the School of Arts and Humanities.
The Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra
Proudly announces its
2019-2020 Concert Season
(all repertoire subject to change)
Saturday, Sept 28, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Season Opener: Back to Bach
Bach, Concerto for Two Violins (Aaron Westman and Anna Washburn, violin soloists)
Brahms Fugue, WoO 9 in A minor
Elgar String Quartet in E minor
Mendelssohn, Symphony No. 5, “Reformation"
Saturday, Nov 16, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Copland, Fanfare for the Common Man
Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (Nick Maritz, soloist and 2019 Concerto Competition Winner)
Tower, Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Howard Hanson, Symphony No. 2, “Romantic”
Sunday, March 1, 2020, 2 p.m.
Family concert: North, South, East, and West
Arturo Marquez Danzon No. 2
Garden of Dreams, featuring Musicians from the Ali Akbar College of Music
Copland, Rodeo (excerpts)
World premiere TBD (Composition contest winner)
Saturday, April 25, 2020, 7:30pm
Season Finale: Brahms & Beethoven
Brahms, Double Concerto for violin and cello (featuring Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Music Festival)
Beethoven, Symphony No. 5
Instruments are available to students who pay a $20 refundable deposit at Seawolf Services. For additional information please contact Dr. Alexander Kahn, Director of Orchestral Studies.
4th Annual Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition
The next Orchestra Concerto Competition will take place on Sunday, April 5, 2020, at 7:30 p.m. in Schroeder Hall. Judges will be Dr. Alexander Kahn (Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra), Richard Loheyde (Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra), and Jerome Fleg (Santa Rosa Junior College). The winner(s) of the competition will perform in concert with the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra during the 2020-2021 concert season.
How To Apply to the Concerto Competition
In consultation with your private teacher, please fill out the Concerto Competition Application Form. Participants should provide 1 copy of the score (orchestral score preferred; piano reduction acceptable) to Dr. Kahn along with their application form.
Concerto Competition Rules
The competition is open to Music Majors and Minors at Sonoma State University and all registered members of Sonoma State Music Department ensembles.
Concerti can be for single soloists or multiple soloists (concerti grossi, double concertos, duets, etc).
Arias, concert songs, and song cycles are all welcome provided they were originally written with orchestral accompaniment.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with Dr. Kahn for help in choosing an appropriate work before submitting an application.
Each competition performance will be 8 to 12 minutes in length at the panel’s discretion.
Applicants should provide their own accompanist.
Applicants may begin with a section of their choice, but must be prepared to play anything from the whole work if requested to do so by the committee.
Memorization is preferred but not mandatory.
Lengthy tutti sections should be omitted.
The committee reserves the right to choose several winners or not to choose anyone.
Winner(s) must be prepared to attend rehearsals and concerts as arranged with the Sonoma State Symphony Orchestra during the 2019-2020 concert season.
2020 Orchestral Composition Competition:
Featuring the Sonoma State University Symphony Orchestra Alexander Kahn, Director
‣ The competition is open to Sonoma State University students only.
‣ Only unperformed, unpublished, and un-awarded compositions will be considered.
‣ Entries must be submitted no later than December 1, 2019.
‣ The winning composition will be announced no later than December 15, 2019.
‣ Finished scores and parts of the winning composition must be submitted no later than January 10, 2019.
‣ Composers of the winning composition should be prepared to attend all rehearsals of their composition, the schedule of which will be announced by the orchestra director.
‣ The winning composition will open the SSU Symphony Orchestra concert on Sunday, March 1 2020, at 2:00 p.m. in Weill Hall.
‣ Compositions to be considered should be scored for a standard symphonic orchestra (2222 – 4321 – timp+2 – str) and must not exceed 10 minutes in length.
‣ The piece must be inspired by a work of visual art and accompanied by a program note documenting the connection to that work.
‣ The difficulty of the piece should be suitable for a young university orchestra.
‣ The score and parts must be complete, legible, and professional quality, adhering to the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association music preparation guidelines
‣ Two anonymous hard copy scores should be submitted in a manila envelope. The composer’s name or any reference to the composer must NOT appear on the scores. Non-anonymous entries will be disqualified.
‣ Composers should also include a separate sheet with their name, contact information, a brief biography, and program notes for their composition.
‣ All materials along with optional links to PDF scores, audio/MIDI realizations should be sent to: Thom Limbert, Ph.D. | Director Walford Studio/Composition | Assistant Professor of Music Sonoma State University | 1301 E. Cotati Avenue | GMC 2067 | Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org | 707.664.2218
Orchestra In The News
April 2, 2019
February 26, 2019
February 6, 2017
October 3, 2016
Inaugural Concert Promotion Video
September 8, 2016
September 10, 2015
September 15, 2015
December 8, 2015
December 15, 2015