The Utrecht Student Choir and Orchestra (USKO) is one of the largest and most well-known student music ensembles in the Netherlands. The main objective of the USKO is to encourage students in the practice of and love for music. Next to the performance of classical music at a high level, social activities play a major role in the USKO. For instance, each year a one-week rehearsal camp and a 10-day tour are organized, during which you get to know your fellow students and can have a great time.
At present the choir and orchestra consist of about 200 members, mainly students at Utrecht University and Hogeschool Utrecht. The USKO occupies a unique place within the Dutch music world because of the combination of a relatively large choir and orchestra, the youthfulness and enthusiasm of its members and the high quality of the performances.
The works of J.S. Bach play an important role in both the history and the present of the USKO. Shortly after the foundation of the USKO in 1945, a tradition was started of performing three of Bach’s greatest works in a three-year cycle: the Mass in B-minor, St. Matthew’s Passion and St. John’s Passion. In January, the rehearsals of that year’s Bach piece start with a rehearsal camp. After several concerts in the Netherlands, the Bach project is completed with an international tour. For over 70 years now, the music of J.S. Bach has formed the heartbeat of our choir and orchestra.
Besides the Bach repertoire the USKO performs two other programmes each year. In these concerts, we aim at presenting a varied (classical) program. In recent years we performed music of well-known composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Brahms and Britten.
For the choir, no auditions are held. For the orchestra, however, we do have auditions to guarantee our level of performance.
Rehearsals are on Wednesday (orchestra) and Thursday (choir) nights from 8pm till 10:30pm in cultural centre Parnassos, Kruisstraat 201 (Utrecht) or the church of St. Antonius, Kanaalstraat 200 (Utrecht). The choir and orchestra rehearse seperately, except during tutti-rehearsals (about once a month), rehearsal days and the rehearsal camp.
The first two rehearsals of the autumn program are open rehearsals. You are welcome to play or sing with us during these rehearsals to discover if you want to join the USKO! The open rehearsals for the orchestra are on 2 and 9 September and the open rehearsals for the choir are on 3 and 10 september.
The yearly costs for being a member of the USKO are approximately €100,- (student fee) or €140,- (non-student fee) per year. Next to this fee, there are additional costs for the optional rehearsal camp (approx. €150,-) and international tour (approx. €350,-).
If you are interested in joining the USKO or want some more information, do not hesitate to contact us via [email protected]