Play and perform with various ensembles

Why Our Program?

  • We provide training at the highest level for serious young musicians.
  • You can play and perform with ensembles of various sizes and musical styles in the Setnor School.
  • You will meet numerous nationally and internationally renowned resident and visiting artists. They often teach workshops and master classes, providing experiences and insight that both broaden and deepen your studies.
  • You can take advantage of global study opportunities in Strasbourg, London, Los Angeles, New York City, and other amazing places.
  • When you graduate, you will belong to a global network of enthusiastic alumni, many of whom mentor students in achieving success at VPA and beyond.

Performance Opportunities

The Setnor School of Music offers a wide range of performing ensembles, and you are encouraged to take advantage of the valuable opportunities to collaborate and perform with other musicians in vocal or instrumental ensemble settings.


In addition to individual recitals and ensemble concerts, organ and piano performance majors may perform in the Setnor School’s weekly convocation, an informal gathering of faculty and students.

Organ majors are encouraged to sing in the Hendricks Chapel Choir during their first year, where you sing for weekly Sunday chapel services, perform occasional organ voluntaries and hymns, and gain exposure to a broad range of liturgical choral music. Student organists are able to draw on a myriad of performance, church music, and arts administration opportunities both on campus and in the wider community. While most of the teaching takes place in the Setnor School of Music, student organists regularly make use of additional opportunities supported by Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse Catholic Community, and the Syracuse Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in order to make the most of their experience in Syracuse. View our list of opportunities [PDF] to get a sense of what our student organists are up to. For more information, or to express an interest in applying or getting involved, email Dr. Anne Laver, assistant professor of organ and University organist, at


String performance majors are required to participate in a large ensemble during each semester they are enrolled as a full-time student. Students have an opportunity to perform in a symphony and/or chamber orchestra, the Baroque Ensemble, and the Contemporary Music Ensemble, as well as a variety of chamber music ensembles.

In addition, guest artists and faculty frequently collaborate with students in performances of the major chamber music repertoire, thus passing on their experience, traditions, and insights to the next generation of players. 


You are required to participate in a choir each semester that you are enrolled as a voice performance major. The Setnor School offers six different choirs with a variety of styles, from world music to contemporary works. In addition, the Opera Workshop provides an opportunity to perform complete operatic roles in fully-staged performances. An active, student-run a cappella culture provides camaraderie, fun, and the opportunity for leadership. It is common for students to participate in each other’s degree recitals, and many take leadership roles in the productions of the First-Year Players.

Off campus, voice majors are valued members of the professional chorus of the Syracuse Opera, sometimes performing small solo parts; several have been engaged to sing more substantial roles in recent years. Other activities include paid positions as section leaders in church choirs and performing roles with the nearby Oswego Opera Theater.


The Wind Ensemble is the premier concert wind organization at Syracuse University.


Setnor Auditorium | Crouse College

The Setnor School of Music has classrooms and rehearsal spaces in Crouse College and Shaffer Art Building, as well as a recording studio in the Belfer Audio Archive of Syracuse University Libraries. Most of the school's facilities are in stately Crouse College, which is the third oldest building on campus and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the acoustically rich, 700-seat Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College houses a magnificent 3,823-pipe Holtkamp Organ below a 70-foot-high open timber roof and stained glass windows. Approximately 200 concerts and recitals by students, faculty, and guest artists are held in the auditorium during the academic year. Students giving recitals have access to concert grand pianos and a variety of harpsichords.

Learn more about the Setnor School's facilities

Visiting Artists

Prominent artists of all musical genres give concerts and master classes on campus regularly. These visits give you the opportunity to work with outside artists and make lifelong contacts. Below are just some of our visiting artists by area.

Organ/piano: Organists Michel Bouvard, Nathan Laube, Alan Morrison, and Bruce Neswick as well as pianists Boris Berman, Frederic Chiu, Claude Frank, Ann Schein, Peter Frankl, and Anton Nel
Strings: Guitarist Eliot Fisk, Kronos Quartet, Dinosaur Annex, cellist Jakob Kullberg, and Open End Ensemble
Voice: Phyllis Bryn-Julson '67 G'69, John Shirley-Quirk, Marcus Haddock, Thomas Paul, Jon Fredric West, Stephanie Blythe, and Richard McKee
Woodwinds/brass/percussion: Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, Imani Winds, Bill Harris, and Boston Brass

View a list of past visiting artists