Oxford University String Ensemble (OUSE) is the university’s premier string orchestra. Founded in Michaelmas 2005 by Marc Gascoigne and Matt Bain, this auditioned student-run ensemble of the Oxford University Music Society provides a venue for talented string players to rehearse and perform challenging string music at a high standard. The ensemble performs a staple of the string orchestra repertoire each term, such as Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Souvenir de Florence, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony op. 110a, Vaughan Williams’Fantasia on the Theme of Thomas Tallis, and Bartók’s Music for Strings, Harp and Percussion. It also collaborates with soloists on lesser-known works such as Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings and Hindemith’s Concerto for Trumpet, Bassoon, and Strings, has recently performed a number of baroque concerto grossi, and enjoys playing neglected miniatures such as Elgar’s Sospiri and Suk’s Meditation op. 35.
Recent highlights have included Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 7 and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings in 2019’s Journey to the North Concert, and Prokofiev’s String Quartet No. 2 in Hilary 2020.
Weekly rehearsals for the end of term concert normally take place on Sundays, 11-2pm, in the Denis Arnold Hall, Faculty of Music. Auditions for OUSE are held as part of the main university-wide OUMS auditions in 0th week of Michaelmas Term, which interested musicians can sign up for at the Freshers’ Fair. It typically comprises of performing a short prepared piece and sight-reading. OUSE welcomes applications at other times of year – please get in touch via the committee page for more information.