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The symphony orchestra director leads a large orchestra in Aalfs Auditorium.

USD is home to the largest university orchestral program in the state of South Dakota. The strings and orchestral studies area at USD provides orchestral musicians, both strings and wind/percussion players, with numerous opportunities for performance and study. Students have the opportunity to study with the members of the Rawlins Piano Trio, whose numerous recordings and tours have established their international reputation, an orchestral conductor who has conducted and given recitals throughout the United States, Latin America, and Europe, and world-renowned guest artists and soloists who bring their expertise to campus each year. 


With roots stretching back to the 19th century, the University of South Dakota Symphony Orchestra has built a legacy on providing quality performances of standard and distinctive repertoire to the southeastern part of South Dakota. Though mainly comprising of university music students, the orchestra is open to non-music majors as well as community members and advanced high school students.


The USD Symphony Orchestra performs the major works from the canonic repertoire and is one of the region's leading orchestral ensembles that promote new music by underrepresented composers. In the Spring semester, members of the orchestra are selected to perform for the USD Opera Orchestra, which gives a professional-like orchestral experience to advanced strings/wind students who perform in the pit for the annual productions of the nationally-awarded USD Opera. Also, the orchestra highlights the winners of the annual University of South Dakota Concerto/Aria Competition, and the orchestra's final performance of the academic year is devoted to a combined piece for orchestra and chorus. 


The USD Symphony Orchestra has been recognized at the national level in The American Prize - Celebrating Excellence in the Performing Arts, as a finalist for the 2021 Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music and the 2021 Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming.


Auditions & Rehearsals

Musicians from across campus and the community are highly encouraged to participate and perform with the USD Symphony Orchestra. Rehearsals take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 - 5:20 p.m. All string instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass) are welcomed. 


Any USD student, faculty, staff, or community member interested in performing with the USD Symphony Orchestra should contact Luis Viquez, D.M.A., at


Fall 2021 Audition Dates

  • Winds/Percussion: Monday, August 23. 4:00  p.m. (CFA 155)

  • Strings: Tuesday, August 24, 3:30 pm (CFA 155)


Audition Excerpts:  Click here

For questions or more information, contact:

Name Department & Office Contact
Luis Viquez
  • Assistant Professor, Clarinet, Director of Orchestras
W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 130

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