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As the flagship orchestra at SFA, the Symphony Orchestra offers high-caliber performance opportunities to undergraduate and graduate music majors as well as non-majors. Founded more than 20 years ago, the ensemble has been under the direction of Dr. Gregory Grabowski since 2019. The SFA Symphony Orchestra performs repertoire ranging from the classics of the high Baroque to the melodic complexity and chromaticism of Mahler and his contemporaries, to music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

SFA provides an intense, varied program for students studying violin, viola, cello, double bass, and harp. Students learn to improve their playing in weekly private lessons, studio classes, full orchestra, and chamber ensembles. In addition to regularly scheduled orchestra concerts and studio recitals, the School of Music holds an annual concerto competition in which winners have the opportunity to perform as soloists with the SFA Symphony Orchestra. Graduates continue their studies at conservatories around the country and perform with professional orchestras such as the Longview Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, Texarkana Symphony, and many more.


All string majors perform regularly in chamber ensembles throughout the academic year. Performing in small ensembles serves a vital role in a musician’s growth, building independent musicianship and refining skills in articulation, intonation, balance, style, and interpretation.


In collaboration with the SFA choirs, the SFA Symphony Orchestra presents a choral/orchestral masterwork each season. These concerts often feature SFA music faculty soloists and guest artists. Past masterworks concerts have included works such as the Verdi Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.


The SFA Symphony Orchestra collaborates with the SFA Opera, Voice, and Theater departments to present a fully-staged opera production each spring. Past productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, and Verdi’s La Traviata.