Instrumental Ensembles

There are also many smaller ensembles that make up the lively fabric of our music department here.

Brass Ensemble

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. Their repertoire includes antiphonal gems of the Renaissance, lush Romantic works for symphonic brass, and the contemporary stylings of ensembles including Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, Dallas Brass, and the Atlantic Brass Quintet. The Brass Ensemble plays a major concert each semester and performs community outreach in local churches. Membership is open to music majors, students of all disciplines, and members of the community.

For information contact Ruth Wilson at 707-664-3483.

Guitar Ensemble

Designed for students to perform 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. The Ensemble aims to Increase sight-reading skills to accommodate beginning through intermediate ensemble literature, increase performance skills including refinement of technique and stage etiquette. Stuents obtain a general knowledge of classical guitar ensemble literature. Also, supplemental technique exercises are learned helping to facilitate a stronger overall technique.

Percussion Ensemble

The percussion ensemble provides the percussion student, through rehearsal and performance activities, a chamber ensemble experience comprised of a wide range of repertoire and performance media encompassing the various styles of the avant-garde, standard works, transcriptions, original student and/or faculty compositions and arrangements. Development of professional chamber ensemble skills is at the core of the course objectives, in addition to gaining knowledge and appreciation of selected percussion ensemble repertoire. The development of group improvisational skills is also an essential aspect of this course.  Opportunities for student composition and arranging for percussion ensemble are available and are highly encouraged. Senior students serve as conductors on selected repertoire.

Sonoma Musica Viva

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. Brainchild of composer-conductor Brian S. Wilson, Sonoma Musica Viva combines the talents of university music faculty alongside qualified student performers. Sonoma Musica Viva's debut concert spotlighted Hungarian and Czech music written before 1940 – Bartók's Contrasts for clarinet, violin and piano, Mikrokosmos for piano, and Janáček's Capriccio for piano left hand, flute, two trumpets, three trombones and tenor tuba. Subsequent concerts have featured an all Stravinsky/Ravel program, an all-Messiaen concert; Music from the Second Viennese School; and a 2013 Centenary Celebration of Britten, Lutoslawski and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

  • 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.

String Orchestra

The String Orchestra is open to all Sonoma State students. It meets on Monday nights 7-8:30 and there is a concert at the end of each semester. The repertoire is from the 17th century to the present. It has included Lully, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Grieg, Terry Riley, Bartok and SSU composer Brian Wilson. String players who want to join a performing ensemble and participate in weekly music making are welcome.