Whatever subject you may be studying at Surrey, there are ample opportunities for all students to make music whilst you are here.

Guide to music ensembles and societies

University of Surrey Orchestra

Conductor Russell Keable

The University of Surrey Orchestra openly welcomes players from the local community to join our talented and passionate Orchestra.

Following an audition, players are selected to form a high-quality ensemble capable of delivering outstanding performances to Guildford audiences.

The Orchestra rehearses every Monday evening during semester from 7pm. The Orchestra generally performs three concerts a year at St Saviour's Church and Guildford Cathedral, and is conducted by the internationally renowned Russell Keable, as well as student conductors.

The Orchestra will host regular members' social events providing an opportunity for all members to socialise outside of rehearsals. 

Players are generally expected to have reached Grade 7 or above in their instrument.

University of Surrey Orchestra Day

Following the success of our first Orchestra Day, a second Orchestra Day was held in January 2018.

The impressive repertoire included the film musical masterpieces, Danny Elfman’s, Batman and John Williams, Star Wars.

If you would be interested in attending any future Orchestra Day events, or in further information in becoming a member of the orchestra please email: orchestra@surrey.ac.uk


Russell Keable has established a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting musicians. As a conductor he has been praised in the national and international press: ‘Keable and his orchestra did magnificently’, wrote the Guardian; ‘one of the most memorable evenings at the South Bank for many a month’, said the Musical Times.

Russell is internationally recognised for his world-class performances with non-professional orchestras.

Orchestra repertoire

The repertoire of the Orchestra in recent years has included:

Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Saint-Saens Organ Symphony No. 3, Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4, J. Strauss Die Fledermaus Overture, Copland Appalachian Spring, Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, Sibelius Symphony No. 7, Beethoven Symphony No. 8, Mozart Overture Die Zauberflote, Bernstein On the Waterfront Suite, Kodaly Psalmus Hungaricus (with the University Choir), Stravinsky Firebird Suite (1919 Suite), Nielsen Helios Overture, Britten Soirees Musicales, Sibelius Symphony No. 2.

University Choir

Conductor Russell Keable

The University Choir is a lively and fun Choir open to all University of Surrey staff and students. A basic level of sight reading, an ability to hold a tune and enthusiasm is all we ask for. No audition necessary. The University Choir rehearse every Wednesday evening from 6pm-8pm in PATS Studio One and perform 2-3 times a year in St Saviour’s Church and Guildford Cathedral. Over the past 3 years the Choir have performed, with the University Orchestra, works including Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, Orff Carmina Burana and Bernstein Chichester Psalms.

University Chamber Choir

Conductor Russell Keable

The University Chamber Choir is open to all students through an audition process. The Chamber Choir rehearse each Tuesday Lunchtime 1pm-2:30pm and perform at a wide range of engagements throughout the year both on and off campus, including the annual University Carol Service at Guildford Cathedral. Repertoire includes works by from Purcell and Parry to new music by student composers.

Singers are generally expected to have reached Grade 7 standard. Auditions take place in October and singers should bring a short piece to sing and will be asked to sight sing.

University String Orchestra

A student led music ensemble within the Music and Sound Recording. The University String Ensemble is open to all students and staff who play a stringed instrument.

USSU ensembles

Societies run by the Students’ Union can be found here. They include big band, concert band, gospel choir and jazz orchestra. Find out more.

Contact us

For more information on any of these ensembles please email arts@surrey.ac.uk.