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.
Weekly rehearsals for the end of term concert normally take place on Mondays, 8-10pm, 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 with the manager via the committee page for more information.
OUSE has performed in many different venues in Oxford, including Christ Church Cathedral, the Holywell Music Room, University Church, Merton Chapel, the Wesley Memorial Church and the Jacqueline Du Pre Music Room. In December 2007, 2008 and 2010 the orchestra went on tours to Paris, and in 2011 to the Netherlands.