Music Performance Opportunities

Symphonia, Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Pang Fan 

Student Soloist Concerts and In-House Concerts

Student soloists are invited to perform in concerts twice each term. Over 500 students participate in the private music lesson program, studying more than 30 instruments with 48 instructors. Students prepare pieces for informal in-house concerts and the most complete and well-prepared performances are selected to perform in public at Student Soloist Recitals. Programs reflect the wide range of styles, instruments and genres studied by students at PEA.

Instrumental and Vocal Chamber Music

Fifteen to 20 chamber music groups rehearse and perform works from the Baroque period to the 21st century. Instrumental ensembles ranging from trios to quintets study masterworks by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Haydn. Vocal groups sing Italian madrigals, cutting edge new composition, African-American Spirituals and more. Chamber music ensembles perform each term as part of the Concert Series.

Chamber Orchestra

This ensemble draws on the most advanced instrumentalists to perform works which require smaller forces, particularly works of the early classical and Baroque periods, such as Mozart symphonies and Bach and Handel concerti grossi. The Chamber Orchestra also performs with the campus choirs in major choral works.

Symphony Orchestra

A full symphony orchestra performs several times throughout the year. Repertoire ranges through the symphonic literature from Schubert and Beethoven to Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. Opportunities also exist for students of outstanding accomplishment to appear as soloists with the orchestra in our yearly concerto competition.


This small, intermediate-level string orchestra studies varied repertoire and performs several times each year. In recent years, Symphonia has played music from Beethoven to themes from Lord of the Rings.

Concert Choir

This 40-singer ensemble, selected by audition, sings a full spectrum of choral music with a focus on unaccompanied literature. The choir tours regularly in conjunction with the Chamber Orchestra and is our most advanced vocal group. Recent projects include a collaborative performance of Mozart’s Requiem, Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, and Jeffrey Van’s A Procession Winding Around Me.

Exeter Choral Union

This mixed-voice choral ensemble of students, faculty, staff and Academy family members performs a variety of works from the choral literature. The group is open to all members of the Exeter community and often collaborates with the Concert Choir and Women’s Chorus to prepare large works with the orchestras.

Concert Band

The Concert Band performs music from the entire range of wind ensemble literature, including marches, brass ensembles, classical arrangements, and contemporary music. Open to all woodwind, brass, and percussion players without audition, this group performs several times throughout the year.

PEA Jazz Ensemble

This jazz ensemble studies classic, big band repertoire by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Woody Herman as well as by more recent composers and arrangers. Stage band performs each term.

Jazz Combo

This is a developmental jazz group where players build their skills in style, soloing and performing.

West African Drumming Ensemble

Group lessons are offered in West African drumming. Students learn basic playing techniques of the hand drumming traditions of West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil and the African Diaspora. The Drumming Ensemble performs several times throughout the year, including collaborations with the Glee Club and the Dance Department.

A Cappella Singing Ensembles

Exeter has six student-run singing groups that prepare and perform music in the college a cappella tradition. Treble only: Sans Hommes, Fermatas, In Essence. Tenor/bass: Exeteras. Mixed voices: PEADQUACS.

Voices Of Praise (Phillips Church Gospel Choir)

The intent of the Voices of Praise is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, through the singing of various styles of gospel music. This ensemble provides music for worship services, campus event and the Exeter community. Voices of Praise is open to all PEA students, regardless of creed. 

Exeter Association Of Rock (E.A.R)

This active club of rock 'n roll enthusiasts rehearses regularly and contributes to the many outstanding musical performances on campus. E.A.R. is open to all interested individuals.


Democracy of Sound (Exeter) is a multi-media and performance art club that sponsors campus events challenging and questioning the basic aesthetics of sound and music. Multiple installations and projects are mounted each year.

Concerto Competition

Each winter instrumentalists perform movements from the concerto literature for an outside panel of expert judges. The winner is invited to perform in the spring concert accompanied by one of the campus orchestras.

Song Festival and Competition

Each year solo singers present material during a festival concert to a panel of expert judges. Judges provide comments and feedback to all singers. Older singers compete to be recognized with a solo performance in the spring choral concert.

Music 400 and 500

Outstanding solo performers, typically in their upper and senior years, can register for this recital preparation course. Players and singers perform for one another weekly and receive guidance in preparing a significant public performance.

Informal Groups

Each term, many students form and reform countless groups to enjoy music-making together. Sometimes they have specific performance opportunities in mind, often they just want to jam together. All find a home in the music building.