Symphony Orchestra

The Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra is a fun, passionate, diverse, and welcoming community of musicians dedicated to performing a variety of musical genres through unique concert experiences in the community and beyond.

The Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra (MHSO) is one of the largest musical groups on campus. Led by their conductor Ng Tian Hui, the group reflects the diversity of the college's community, with musicians from the five colleges and the Pioneer Valley, in addition to students, faculty, and staff from Mount Holyoke College. Students who perform in the Orchestra might be majors in Music or Biology, English or International Relations, philosophy or mathematics. They are drawn by the collective desire to be an active participant in creating great beauty in the realm of sound. 

History of the Orchestra

The orchestra is particularly proud of its second prize in the 2014 American Prize for Orchestral Programming, and acknowledged for its fine work by grants from the Massachusetts Arts Council, Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, National Arts Council of Singapore, the Singapore International Foundation, Women’s Philharmonic and WomenArts in acknowledgement of its creative and engaging programming.

Dedicated to creating unique concert experiences through a wide range of music, the orchestra produced a well received inter-disciplinary work called “Midwinter Dreams” in 2013. The production brought together choreographers, composers, dancers, lighting Designers and paper Sculptures in a re-interpretation of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream coupled with the world premiere of Four Interludes by Robert Honstein. 

In the past few years, the orchestra has gained a faithful following in the local community with its annual Monsters Ball around Halloween. Costumed revellers dance to classic waltzes and polkas by Johann Strauss Jr. in between some of the most popular soundtrack music from our time. The past two years has included music from the following films: Harry Potter, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Psycho, Star Trek, and Star Wars.

The great symphonic masterworks are also an important part of the Orchestra’s repertoire; recent performances include Haydn’s 26th Symphony, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20, Rachmaninoff’s second Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, Wagner’s Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan and Isolde.



All players interested in playing with the orchestra should sign up for an audition during the annual audition period at the start of the academic year. Each audition typically lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Every Fall, both new and returning members are required to audition. This allows us to more fairly account for progress in each returning player's ability for the year's seatings and rotations. The orchestra listens to much fewer auditions in the Spring term because members who are admitted in the Fall do not need to re-audition. As such, please email Tian Hui Ng at to schedule a time. Please check the auditions page for this year's Fall and Spring audition times.

Current students who would like to audition before the end of Fall Term should also email him.

Each audition typically lasts 10 to 15 minutes. Please see detailed information on the orchestra's audition procedures.