Instrumental groups

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University Symphony Orchestra

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: John Pickard
  • Rehearsals: Tuesday 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms
  • Beginning: 5 October (first rehearsal is on a Saturday 11.00am-5.00pm)

This 90-strong orchestra is conducted by members of Music staff. We perform repertoire from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries to a near-professional standard. We aim to balance established masterworks, some less well-known pieces and contemporary music. Highlights this year will include Shostakovich's 8th Symphony, Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony and Vaughan Williams's A Sea Symphony

University New Music Ensemble

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: Michael Ellison
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5.00 – 7.00pm, Victoria Rooms

NME performs new works and modern classics to the highest standard, bringing together leading performers from across the University to give two lunchtime concerts during the year, along with contributions to events such as Bristol New Music. This year NME will be performing key works of Magnus Lindberg and UoB composers. 

University Chamber Orchestra

  • Auditioned: Audition required
  • Conductor: Emma Howarth
  • Rehearsals: Mondays 7.00 - 9.15pm, Victoria Rooms
  • Beginning: 6 October (first rehearsal is on a Sunday)

The Chamber Orchestra performs at a high standard, with a varied repertoire covering classical symphonies through to 20th century music. Individual students have the chance to be featured through the esteemed annual concerto and composition competitions. Highlights of the coming year will include a collaborative concert with the Chamber Choir and our joint tour to a European city in the Easter break! 

University Wind Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Rowena Davies
  • Rehearsals: Mondays 5.00 - 6.30pm, Victoria Rooms
  • Beginning: 30 September

The Wind Orchestra is the largest of the non-auditioned ensembles and performs pieces in a wide range of musical styles. We welcome all abilities of wind, brass, and percussion players, so come along, meet new people, explore new music and enjoy being in a friendly and social ensemble! 

University String Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Stephen Nurse
  • Rehearsals: Mondays 5.15 - 6.45pm, Victoria Rooms
  • Beginning: 30 September

String Orchestra offers the chance for players to be part of a quality ensemble, without the pressures of auditions or intense practicing. We strive to play challenging music to a high standard, regardless of members’ skill. The ensemble usually puts on three concerts of engaging and varied repertoire each year, drawing on music from all periods; even student composed works. If you want to improve your playing in a fun, sociable ensemble, then join us on a Monday evening in the Recital Room in the Victoria Rooms.

University Big Band Society


  • Auditioned: Audition required (contact society for details)
  • Conductor: George Barnes
  • Rehearsals: Friday 5.15 - 7.30pm, Students' Union

Bristol University Jazz Orchestra (BUJO)

  • Auditioned: No audition for saxes, trumpets and trombones - but rhythm section and vocalists auditioned
  • Conductor: Abbie Neave
  • Rehearsals: Friday 5.15 - 7.30pm, Victoria Rooms

BUJO and Hornstars are both free, fun and exciting Jazz Bands, both in regular demand for university and external events. Hornstars are our auditioned big band playing some of the biggest venues across Bristol and the South West, with auditions held at the start of term 1 (visit our fresher’s fair stand to sign up). BUJO are our un-auditioned band (except for vocals and rhythm), yet are still a high quality outfit having won the South West Universities ‘Battle of the Big Bands’ Competition in 2018 and 2019. The bands cover a full range of jazz music, from classic swing to contemporary fusion, with additional funk and pop. Often the society collaborates with big bands from other universities, as well as hosting our own events such as the ‘Anson Rooms Takeover’ and the annual Vic Rooms concerts. As well as regular gigs, the society also holds an annual summer tour which is always well received – with both bands performing to large crowds in beautiful locations across Europe.

To find out more about any of the bands, find us at Freshers’ Fair or on Facebook. Membership is free.

BUMS Chamber Music

  • Auditioned: No
  • Co-ordinator: Lizzie Britton
  • Rehearsals: Various, Victoria Rooms

BUMS Chamber Music is a great opportunity for soloists, pianists and chamber ensembles as well as a fantastic chance for composers to have their works performed and recorded. Recent ensembles have included saxophone quintets, brass ensembles and string quartets, and all BUMS members are welcome to join! Recently we have combined with the Composition Society so will be performing several premieres this year! We are always looking for new groups and ideas to expand the chamber music scene so if you have formed a group already or are an individual looking for likeminded people to form an ensemble with, please get in touch, or register your interest at auditions. To register your interest, please email Lizzie at


  • President: Megan Matthews

The Bristol University Symphonia is a society consisting of two orchestras: Symphonia Symphony Orchestra (part-auditioned) and Symphonia Philharmonic Orchestra (unauditioned). There is an opportunity to play in both orchestras. Find us at Fresher's Fair or email

Symphonia Symphony Orchestra

  • Auditioned: part-auditioned
  • Conductor: Enyi Okpara

The 60-strong Symphonia Symphony Orchestra is a semi-auditioned, student run orchestra that plays a vast variety of repertoire. This term, the orchestra’s main project is Mussorgsky’s mighty 10-movement suite, Pictures of an Exhibition. Following on from this, in second term we will be focusing on Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Symphonia Symphony Orchestra also holds both a concerto and composition competition. Alongside this, we have regular socials and are a tight-knit group of musicians. If you would like to be a part of a student-led orchestra, make new friends and play exciting music this orchestra is for you!

Symphonia Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductor: Boko Zhelev

Symphonia Philharmonic Orchestra is an exciting new group and is the only completely unauditioned full orchestra at Bristol University. It will offer individuals the chance to be part of an orchestra without the pressure of auditions but still be able to play music to a high standard.

University Brass Band

  • Auditioned: No
  • Conductors: Matt Roche
  • Rehearsals: Wednesdays 5.00 - 6.30pm, Victoria Rooms
  • Beginning: 2 October

The Brass Band is a friendly, social and hard-working non-auditioned ensemble, welcoming brass (standard brass band instruments and trumpets) and percussion players of all standards. We aim to perform at a high level, working on some challenging, yet exciting, repertoire in a relaxed and low-pressure environment, with the premise of making sure that everyone is having fun! The band holds a number of concerts throughout the academic year, the highlight of which being competing at UniBrass, the annual inter-university brass band contest. We work on a wide variety of repertoire throughout the year, including various brass band classics such as 'Men of Harlech', test pieces such as 'Olympus', and exciting modern concert works including 'Blackbird Special', and those from the pen of composers such as Paul Lovatt-Cooper and Philip Harper. There will be solo opportunities available throughout the year, and chance for smaller light ensemble playing such as Christmas carolling. Last year, before their annual concert at the Victoria Rooms, the band was lucky enough to have a workshop led by Philip Harper, conductor of the world number one brass band, the Cory Band, and sectionals led by section principals of the band! If you would like to improve your playing and musicianship in a fun, social and low-pressure ensemble, join Brass Band on Wednesday evenings in the Victoria Rooms Auditorium!


Bristol University Symphonic Winds

  • Auditioned: Yes (contact society for details)
  • Conductor: Ellie Bunce
  • Rehearsals: Thursdays 7.00 - 9.00pm
  • Beginning: 3 October

Symphonic Winds is the University’s auditioned wind band, welcoming both music and non-music students alike. The ensemble was formed to perform a varied programme of a high quality, and pride themselves on their high standards. Symphonic Winds has approximately 30 members and its highlights include an annual joint concert with the University of Cambridge Wind Orchestra, this year taking place in Bristol. The auditions for this ensemble take place the week after Welcome Week, in the Victoria Rooms – sign up forms will be up on the noticeboard from the beginning of Welcome Week. We are a very sociable and close-knit band, who put on regular socials throughout the year. See Victoria Rooms noticeboard for information or email

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