Intermediate String Orchestra



Students generally spend more than one year in each ensemble.  We welcome students taking lessons through the Duke University String School and students taking private lessons in the local community to participate in the DUSS String Orchestras.

The Intermediate String Orchestra is for violin, viola, cello and bass students.  Violinist and cellists have mastered skills learned in Violin and Cello Choir levels.  Violin students are encouraged to consider learning how to play viola, and we welcome bass students who have been taking double bass lessons for 1-2 years to join at this level.

ISO students will be introduced to beginning level string orchestra music.  In this ensemble, students will learn how to watch a conductor, watch their section leaders for bow direction and bow placement, sit with a stand partner and blend their sound with a section, count multiple rests, listen to fellow orchestra members in other sections, and much more.

Audition Prerequisites:

String players ready for this ensemble should be comfortable playing in 3rd position and follow bow directions on music easily such as up bows, down bows, hooked bows, retakes.  Students should be able to sight read and play rhythms such as 16th notes, dotted rhythms, and triplets.  Students should be able to play double stops (play on more than 1 string at a time), have the full use of the bow from frog to tip, and have a developing vibrato on all fingers.

Audition Guidelines:

  • A scale demonstrating ability to correctly shift to 3rd position and play multiple notes in one bow, such as multiple slurs or martelé bow strokes.
  • Three minutes of a solo piece of your choice.  Memorization of the scale and solo piece is preferred. Students will be asked to play a sight-reading example.
    • Students interested in being a leader will play excerpts chosen each year for each section during audition weekend. Excerpts are sent to registered students approximately 1 month before the audition dates. Auditions for leadership occur each year, and students who were leaders the previous year will also need to audition for leadership if they are interested in being leader again.
      • Violin leaders come from the 1st violin section and must audition into the 1st violin section in order to be a leader. Violinists who are already in the 1st violin section of their orchestra need only prepare the leadership excerpt to audition for leadership. Violin leaders rotate between leading the 1st and 2nd violin sections.
  • An example of appropriate solo repertoire is as follows:
    • Violin: Concertino by Kuchler, Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms (Fun with Solos), Twelve Easy Fantasties by C. Dancla Op. 86, Seitz Concertos No. 2 or No. 5, Vivaldi A Minor Concerto, or pieces at the level of Suzuki Book 4.
    • Viola: Pieces at the Suzuki Viola Book 3 or 4 level.
    • Cello: Gavotte by J. B. Lully, Minuet by Boccherini, Scherzo by C. Webster, Beethoven Minuet in G, Bach Gavotte in C minor, Bach Minuet No. 3, Dvorak Humoresque, La Cincuantaine by G. Marie, Bach Allegro Moderato (Suzuki Cello Book 3).
    • Bass: Please prepare one 1-2 octave scale.  Acceptable audition pieces would include those in Suzuki Book 2 or Vance “Progressive Repertoire” Book 2 pieces, Breval Sonatina, Pleyel Sonatina No. 2 (Solo Time Book 4), or pieces at the ASTA CAP level 2-3 pieces.  Bassists should demonstrate good posture, intonation in 1st through 4th positions, and have strong rhythm.