Sonoma State Department Of Music Performing Ensembles



SSU Chamber Singers

Dr. Jenny Bent, conductor
Chamber Singers is a select choir of 20 singers that performs a variety of short and medium-length choral compositions including a cappella music and/or works accompanied by light instrumentation. Repertoire represents all historical periods and styles from early classics to significant contemporary works. The Chamber Singers perform throughout the campus community and beyond.
20 members
Contact: Dr. Jenny Bent


SSU Symphonic Chorus

Dr. Jenny Bent, conductor
Symphonic Chorus is a large vocal ensemble comprised of music majors, students from other majors, staff, faculty and members of the community. Numbering over 80 singers under the direction of Dr. Jenny Bent, the Symphonic Chorus presents two-to-three major concerts each semester, performing large works such as the Mozart Requiem and Orff's Carmina Burana, as well as thematic projects including Music of Latin America and The Long Road to Freedom.
80-120 members


Indian Singing Ensemble

Dr. Laxmi G. Tewari, conductor
Indian Singing Ensemble is a small, unaccompanied vocal ensemble that performs Hindustani classical vocal music. A master vocalist and ethnomusicologist, Dr. Tewari teaches each song by rote, focusing on developing a sense of improvisation within each raga.
Students receive first-hand knowledge about Dr. Tewari's life experiences, infusing their musical skills with a heightened awareness of the language, culture and traditions of India.
10 members


Opera and Music Theatre

Dr. Lynne Morrow, music director and conductor
Full productions of standard and new shows are presented each year in Evert B. Person Theatre. Note: ticket prices vary. Productions alternate each year between opera and music theatre. The 2015 production will be a Heriones, a new revue adapted by Jane Hammett from a variety of operettas. Private vocal instruction is an important component of this program. Enrollment varies.
Contact: Dr. Lynne Morrow


Vocal Repertory Class

Lynne Morrow and David Burnakus, directors
Ruth Ann Swenson, Jane Hammett, David Burnakus, Lynne Morrow, Voice Faculty
Vocal Rep class is a weekly forum for vocalists to perform solo repertoire and study elements of performing with members of the Voice Faculty and occasional master-classes by visiting artists. Students produce two full concerts per semester as a result of these endeavors. 20-30 members
Contact: Dr. Lynne Morrow



Concert Jazz Ensembles

Dr. Doug Leibinger, director
These comprise several jazz combos that each focus on a particular jazz sub-genre or era. This year’s Concert Jazz Ensembles are Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Kendrick Freeman, director; Jazz Standards Ensemble, Kasey Knudsen, director; and Soul Jazz Ensemble, Dave Len Scott, director; Horace Silver Ensemble, Kasey Knudsen, director.
5-10 members each group
Contact: Doug Leibinger

Latin Band

Kendrick Freeman, director
An awareness of other musical languages gives perspective to the practice of jazz. This ensemble provides an introduction to various styles, rhythms and concepts found in music from the Caribbean, Brazil and Haiti, delivered with an improviser's sensibility.
10 members
Contact: Kendrick Freeman

SSU Faculty Jazz Ensemble

Doug Leibinger and George Marsh, leaders
The SSU Faculty Jazz Ensemble gets together voluntarily for tuning listening skills and exploring ways to refine and inform our improvisations together, whether through free improvisation or straight ahead jazz--co-led by Doug and George. The SSU Faculty Jazz Ensemble performs several times throughout the year and includes Kasey Knudsen, saxophone; Dave Len Scott, trumpet; Doug Leibinger, trombone; Ken Cook, piano; Will Johnson, prepared piano; Randy Vincent, guitar; Cliff Hugo, bass; George Marsh, drums.
What principles or beliefs guide our work?
We all believe in developing the skills to understand one another’s voice as players in a group context that can take several shapes: Exercises that inform jazz improvisation, free improvisation, original ideas.
The study of technique is to serve the need to say something through music. That “something” can change and be informed by the group’s cohesion.
Contact: Dr. Doug Leibinger
Contact: George Marsh

SSU Jazz Orchestra

Dr. Doug Leibinger, director
An 18-20 piece jazz big band: 7 saxophones; 4 trombones; 4-6 trumpets; piano; guitar; bass; drums. Performs frequently in conjunction with Concert Jazz Ensembles and/or Latin Band. Annual Jazz Artist Residency concert each Spring semester.
18-20 members
Contact: Dr. Doug Leibinger


Brass Ensemble

Ruth Wilson, director
Brian S. Wilson, guest conductor
Founded in 2004 as an outgrowth of the University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Sonoma State University Brass Ensemble is a vibrant group of interested trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone and tuba players. The Brass Ensemble plays a major concert each semester and performs community outreach in local churches.
15-20 members
Contact: Ruth Wilson

Chamber Wind Ensembles

Dr. Andy Collinsworth, conductor
The Chamber Wind Ensemble is comprised of select members from the Symphonic Wind Ensemble. It is a conducted ensemble with flexible instrumentation to accommodate the needs of a diverse repertoire. Membership is open to all University students, regardless of major.
8-16 members
Contact Dr. Andy Collinsworth


Guitar Ensemble

Eric Cabalo, director and conductor
Designed for students to perform classical guitar repertoire for duos, trios, quartets and large
ensemble. Guitarists attain a working knowledge of ensemble skills like following a conductor, giving and receiving cues, listening and responding musically to the ensemble, and rehearsal techniques.
10-15 members
Contact: Eric Cabalo

Percussion & Improvisation Ensemble

Jennifer Wilsey Marsh, director
Development of professional chamber ensemble skills is at the core of the course objectives, group improvisational skills is also an essential aspect of this course. Opportunities for student composition and arranging for percussion ensemble are available.
5-10 members
Contact: Jennifer Wilsey

Rock Collegium

John Palmer, director
Rock Collegium is an outgrowth of MUS 481 –Special Topics Workshop whereby students study various styles of Rock music, compose in those styles and perform their pieces as a final project.
10-15 members playing guitars, vocals, bass, drums
Contact: Dr. John Palmer
Dr. John Palmer


SSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Dr. Andy Collinsworth, conductor
The 55-member SSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble is one of the premier large instrumental ensembles at the university. Membership in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble is open to all University students, regardless of major. The group regularly performs four to six concerts on campus during the year, and has performed on tour throughout California.
55 members on all woodwind and brass instruments with orchestral percussion
Contact: Andy Collinsworth



String Orchestra

Judiyaba, director
The String Orchestra is open to all Sonoma State students, playing music from the 17th century to the present. String players who want to join a performing ensemble and participate in weekly music making are welcome.
20 members playing violin, viola, cello and double bass
Contact: Judiyaba


SSU Symphony Orchestra

Dr. Alex Kahn, conductor
Led by Orchestral Studies Program Director Alexander Kahn, the SSU Symphony Orchestra performs classic and modern works for full orchestra.
40-60 members playing flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and percussion.



Instrumental Repertory Class

Judiyaba and Marilyn Thompson, directors
Instrumental Rep class is a weekly forum for instrumentalists to perform solo repertoire and chamber music assigned to them by their studio instructor, with occasional master classes by visiting artists. Students produce five concerts per semester as a result of these endeavors.
20-30 players on woodwind, brass, string and piano in solo and small groups
Contact: Judiyaba,
Contact: Marilyn Thompson,

Sonoma Musica Viva

Brian S. Wilson, director and conductor
Sonoma Musica Viva is a chamber music alliance at Sonoma State University dedicated to the recognition of significant works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Sonoma Musica Viva combines the talents of university music faculty alongside qualified student performers.
• Sonoma Musica Viva's goal is to make a wider public aware of new music.
• Sonoma Music Viva is committed to bringing to life great, If often overlooked, works for conducted ensembles of mixed instrumentation.
• Sonoma Music Viva concerts have an inviting and informal atmosphere, without the trappings of traditional stuffy classical concerts.
5-20 members
Contact: Brian S. Wilson

Trio Ariadne

Carol McGonnell, clarinet
Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello
Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
Trio Ariadne is a piano trio (clarinet, cello and piano) that provides a link between three campus units: the Department of Music, the Office of Residential Life, and the Green Music Center. All three artists are alumni of The Academy, a two-year program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education, for musicians who wish to redefine their role as artists, extending their music making from the concert stage into schools and the larger community. As Weill Hall Artists in Residence, Trio Ariadne presents two recitals each year and collaborative concerts with visiting artists throughout the year.
Contact: Elizabeth Joy Roe
Contact: Sæunn Thorsteinsdottir
Contact: Carol McGonnell


Trio Navarro

Marilyn Thompson, piano
Victor Romasevich, violin
Jill Brindel, cello
Trio Navarro is a piano trio (piano, violin and cello) that has served as Music Department Artists in Residence since 1992. They present three concerts of classical music each year. Pianist Marilyn Thompson is director of piano studies at SSU and has performed at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, the 92nd Street “Y” in New York City, the Phillips Gallery, Washington, D.C., Boston’s Symphony Hall, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, the Teatro Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, and Beijing, China. Violinist Victor Romasevich joined the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Violist in 1990, and in 1992 moved to the First Violin section. He appears frequently in recitals and chamber concerts as a violinist, violist, and keyboard player. Cellist Jill Rachuy Brindel is a member of the San Francisco Symphony and cello coach for the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. She has served as a Symphony mentor in the SF Symphony Community of Music Makers program.
Contact: Marilyn Thompson


Student Composers Concerts

Will Johnson and Marcia Bauman, coordinators
Student composers in the music composition program present two concerts of original music each semester, collaborating with fellow students, faculty and community performers to produce/perform/conduct their own works.
10-20 performers in vocal, classical, jazz, acoustic and electronic media
Contact: Will Johnson
Contact: Marcia Bauman


Faculty Composers Concerts

Brian Wilson and Doug Leibinger, coordinators
SSU faculty composers work in a variety of formats, from classical to avant-garde; from piano/vocal to jazz and more. This eclectic annual event brings together composers and performers from all walks of life in celebration of artistic creativity.
10-30 performers in vocal, classical, jazz, acoustic and electronic media.
Contact: Brian Wilson
Contact: Doug Leibinger