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Photo collage of student and community musicians in the orchestras.


The NC State Orchestras—Raleigh Civic Symphony and Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra—are open to both students and local musicians who play string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

They each perform one world premiere composition on every concert in addition to both traditional and contemporary repertoire. Their concerts have been called “some of the most fascinating and inventive programs in the area” by IndyWeek.

Students in the orchestras have the opportunity to workshop new music by diverse composers and learn alongside experienced musicians.

My experience in the symphony has been very fun and fulfilling. I really enjoy being able to forget my stresses of the day and take a break every Monday night to work on beautiful music with some very talented people.

Hannah Maier

The Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra performs the virtual world premiere of Freedom by Milad Yousufi.

Raleigh Civic Symphony (MUS 121)

The 75-piece Raleigh Civic Symphony is a full symphony orchestra of student and community musicians that performs a standard and contemporary orchestral repertoire in two concerts yearly. Area professionals serve as principal strings and section coaches, providing high-level instruction and leadership to community and student players.

Directed by Dr. Peter Askim

MUS 121 meets Mondays, 7:15-9:45 p.m.

A student plays the piano with the Raleigh Civic Symphony during a concert.

Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra (MUS 122)

The 30-piece Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra includes both students and community members and explores repertoire for a smaller orchestral force. The Chamber Orchestra has the same high artistic standards as the Symphony, performs two programs yearly, and uses professional leaders as coaches for the ensemble.

Directed by Dr. Peter Askim

MUS 122 meets Wednesdays, 7:15-9:45 p.m.

Image of the violin section of the chamber orchestra performing during a concert.

Innovation and representation

Our orchestra programs often leverage technology and innovation and highlight themes which address social, environmental or historical contexts to create immersive events. Repertoire and commissions frequently include voices which have been underrepresented in the concert hall, such as the US Premiere of Florence Price’s “Ethiopia’s Shadow in America”.  

Recent projects have included virtual reality experiences, multi-disciplinary collaborations, world premiere performances, and real-time, technology-enabled distance collaboration (the orchestras recently made their Broadway debut as part of NYC’s Kaufmann Music Storefronts series.)

Concerts frequently celebrate vital issues of our time: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Rocky Mount, NC “I Have a Dream” speech, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the National Park System, the effect of humans on animals and the environment, and music exploring the hidden histories of NC psychiatric institutions (composed by Grammy-nominated Raleigh native Tift Merritt, below).

Recent world premieres include works by composers Michael Thomas Foumai, Phil Kline, Allison Loggins-Hull, Tift Merritt, Jessica Meyer, Jeff Peterson, Rufus Reid, Jeff Scott, Liliya Ugay, Aleksandra Vrebalov and Paul Wiancko.

Photo of orchestra students performing on stage with Balsam Range during the International Bluegrass Music Awards.

Making musical memories

Orchestra students perform on stage with bluegrass band Balsam Range during the International Bluegrass Music Awards in Sept. 2019.


Lindi Wang

Applied Music Lecturer, Violin | Orchestra Teaching Assistant

Frequently asked questions

Students and community musicians who play string instruments, woodwinds, brass, percussion or piano are encouraged to audition for the orchestras.

Both orchestras perform orchestral repertoire from a wide variety of time periods and styles, with the size of the group being the primary difference. 

Assignment to either group is determined by the conductor (in consultation with each musician) following a successful audition, taking into account the particular instrumental needs of each ensemble at any given time.

Other questions?

For questions about the symphony or chamber orchestra, contact Dr. Peter Askim at paaskim@ncsu.edu or 919.515.8279.