Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra Mixes Classical, Gospel, and More

Liz Lupton
October 18, 2012
Press release
Students perform in the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra's spring 2011 concert.
Berklee's Contemporary Symphony Orchestra will present a diverse program including classical, gospel, jazz, and bluegrass.
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Boston, MA, October 18, 2012  – Berklee College of Music’s Contemporary Symphony Orchestra will present a diverse program of classical (both contemporary and 19th century Russian romantic), gospel, jazz, and bluegrass on November 2. The fall concert, conducted by Francisco Noya, who also serves as the resident conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, takes place on November 2 at Northeastern University’s Fenway Center, 77 St. Stephen Street, Boston, at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

The 96-student ensemble will perform a range of styles from John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Tromba lontana to Reinhold Glière’s Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 74. A program highlight is the multimedia performance of Anthony Paul De Ritis’ Devolution, which features a DJ soloist mixing Ravel’s Boléro and the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 while the orchestra plays Deritis’s original music. In addition to the large orchestral works, players from within the orchestra will perform with their own gospel, jazz, and bluegrass small bands.

The Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, founded in 2007, began with a small group of Berklee students and faculty looking to add orchestral music to the musical menu at Berklee. The orchestra has now grown to a nearly 100-member strong ensemble, composed of Berklee students whose principal instruments range from bass to bassoon and whose major concentrations represent the entire range of Berklee’s programs. Today, the group focuses on presenting unique programs that showcase the versatile and deeply expressive voice of today’s orchestra. 

“Students at Berklee are generally as comfortable playing music that is ‘off the page’ as they are with music that is ‘on the page,’“ said Melissa Howe, chair of the college’s String Department. “Plus, they are often focused on taking music of the present and moving it into the future in a unique and compelling way. Combine this forward-thinking attitude with that experience, and you have the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra.”

Liz Lupton is a publicist at Berklee College of Music. You may contact her at