Instrumental Ensembles

Chamber Music

Talented and technically accomplished instrumentalists who aspire to a career in music should consider this program area. Graduates may reach goals as symphony musicians, private teachers, concert soloists, or band and orchestra conductors. Many go on to graduate school for further preparation.

Each student concentrates on developing performance skills on a selected brass, percussion, string, or woodwind instrument with assistance from faculty who have proven themselves as teachers and performing musicians. The curriculum emphasizes improvement, tone, musicianship, and technical mastery of the instrument.

During their last semester, students present a public recital, culminating their years of training at the Department of Music.

Performing ensembles are an important aspect of musical study in the Sonoma State University Music Department. Undergraduate majors must participate in ensembles each semester.

The Trio Navarro, in residence, provides a model of excellence in performance and the teaching of chamber music.

Sonoma County is home to the Santa Rosa Symphony and other professional ensembles. The area offers students numerous ensemble and solo performance opportunities. In addition to ensembles, a weekly forum provides majors with informal performance opportunities. This time is also used for master classes and performances by the faculty and guest artists.

Sonoma Musica Viva was founded in 2010 at Sonoma State University as a chamber music alliance dedicated to the recognition of significant works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Founding director and conductor Brian S. Wilson combines the talents of university faculty and North Bay professionals alongside qualified student performers.

Sonoma Musica Viva's debut concert took place on October 10, 2010, with a program of Hungarian and Czech music written before 1940 that included Bartók's Contrasts for clarinet, violin and piano; Mikrokosmos for piano; and Janáček's Capriccio for piano left hand, flute, two trumpets, three trombones and tenor tuba. The ensemble has presented programs of Stravinsky and Ravel; an all-Messiaen program; and Music From the Second Viennese School.

2015-16 performances
Music of Eastern Europe - Friday, October 30, 7:30 pm, Schroeder Hall
Faculty Composers concert - Thursday, March 10, 7:30 pm, Schroeder Hall

Mission Statement
Sonoma Musica Viva's goal is to increase awareness of significant, lesser-known works composed after 1900, specializing in repertoire for mixed chamber ensembles. Sonoma Music Viva creates performances in an inviting and informal atmosphere without the stuffy trappings of traditional classical concerts.




There are also many smaller ensembles that make up the lively fabric of our music department here.

Brass Ensemble

Founded in 2004 as an outgrowth of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the Sonoma State University Brass Ensemble is a vibrant group of interested trumpet, horn, trombone, baritone and tuba players. Founding conductor and composer Brian S. Wilson serves as permanent guest conductor. Instrumentation is modeled on the orchestral brass section of 3-4 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, baritone and tuba with occasional percussion, allowing the group to perform a wide range of music. Repertoire ranges from transcriptions of the antiphonal canzone of the Venetian school, excerpts from the orchestral and operatic repertoire, enlarged brass quintets and originally composed music.

The Brass Ensemble presents one major concert each semester. We also perform at special campus events and at local churches. Our members include music majors, students from all disciplines and members of the community.

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Guitar Ensemble

Designed for students to perform repertoire for duos, trios, quartets and large
ensemble. Guitarists attain a working knowledge of ensemble skills like following a conductor, giving and receiving cues, listening and responding musically to the ensemble, and rehearsal techniques. The Ensemble aims to Increase sight-reading skills to accommodate beginning through intermediate ensemble literature, increase performance skills including refinement of technique and stage etiquette. Stuents obtain a general knowledge of classical guitar ensemble literature. Also, supplemental technique exercises are learned helping to facilitate a stronger overall technique.

Percussion Ensemble

The percussion ensemble provides the percussion student, through rehearsal and performance activities, a chamber ensemble experience comprised of a wide range of repertoire and performance media encompassing the various styles of the avant-garde, standard works, transcriptions, original student and/or faculty compositions and arrangements. Development of professional chamber ensemble skills is at the core of the course objectives, in addition to gaining knowledge and appreciation of selected percussion ensemble repertoire. The development of group improvisational skills is also an essential aspect of this course.  Opportunities for student composition and arranging for percussion ensemble are available and are highly encouraged. Senior students serve as conductors on selected repertoire.