Stay involved in Music at Cal Poly!
Cal Poly students from any major can be involved in Cal Poly's music programs.
Explore our online brochure to find out what we have to offer
A print version is available from the Music Department office
- Cal Poly Symphony
- Mustang Band (marching/pep band)
- Percussion Ensemble
- University Jazz Bands
- Wind Orchestra
- Wind Ensembles
- Brass Ensembles
- String Ensembles
- Arab Music Ensemble
- Piano Ensemble
- Guitar Ensemble
- Saxophone Quartets
- Wind Quintets
- University Singers
- Early Music Ensemble
- Cal Poly Vocal Jazz (not offered every year)
- Student Opera
The Cal Poly Guitar Ensemble is a group of classical guitarists whose focus is learning repertoire for performance. The repertoire is generally classical in nature, though other genres are sometimes included. Concerts consist of ensemble pieces as well as solo, duo and trio performances. Students must be able to read music on the guitar and be proficient in classic guitar technique “beyond a beginning level.” For more information, please contact the guitar instructor Jim Bachman.
(not offered fall quarter)
The Cal Polyrhythms, Cal Poly's Percussion Ensemble, is dedicated to performing a wide range of percussion chamber music, from modern masterworks to the "classics" of the twentieth century. Comprised of music majors and non-music majors alike, the performers bring a diversity of experience to the group, but share in the common goal of committing themselves wholly to the music. The Cal Polyrhythms are known for their dynamic and thoughtful performances of some of the genre's most fascinating works. The director of the ensemble is Dr. John Astaire.
The members of the Brass Ensembles include Cal Poly students from a variety of majors. Several groups comprise the ensembles, including two brass quintets and a brass choir. The Brass Ensembles perform concerts each quarter, and are also featured on the annual "A Night at the Mission" Chamber Ensemble Concert.
Several string chamber groups are active each quarter through the String Ensembles program. These groups involve students from many majors on campus, and range from string trios, quartets and quintets to chamber groups that also include piano or wind instruments. These chamber ensembles perform on a yearly "Evening of String Music" recital as well as for school functions, professional engagements and student recitals.
The String Ensembles are coordinated by Dr. David Arrivée, conductor of the Cal Poly Symphony. Each group is coached by Dr. Arrivée and periodically by other faculty and outside artists including Kathleen Lenski and Michael Nowak. For more information on the String Ensembles, contact Dr. Arrivée.
Participation and registration of singers and instrumentalists by audition and the recommendation of the conductor, producer and musical directors. Auditions for roles in the annual spring quarter productions are held the end of fall quarter. The one-act operas are double cast to allow maximum participation, and are performed fully staged and directed in Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre, with costumes and orchestra. Operas recently performed include Mozart's "The Impresario" and Haydn's "The Apothecary." For more information, contact the directors: Jacalyn Kreitzer and Katherine Arthur.
The Arab Music Ensemble performs the art and popular music of a wide range of Arabic-speaking societies while particularly focusing on the areas around the Eastern Mediterranean. Arab art music has intersected substantially with folk and religious musical traditions and has benefited deeply from the contributions of interconnected social groups including men and women of diverse ethnic, religious, and philosophical backgrounds. It also has connected historically to neighboring cultures of the larger region including those of Iranian (Persian) and Turkish (Ottoman) music. The repertoire of the Arab Music Ensemble comprises pieces ranging from the Ottoman era up to the present. The music is rooted in the traditional systems of melodic and metric modes (maqam and iqa` systems), and takes the form of instrumental improvisation (taqsim), vocal improvisation (layali and mawwal), and pre-composed works in many formal genres (e.g., dulab, sama`i and muwashshah). Students sing and perform instrumentally in a chamber music ensemble (takht) as well as in a larger orchestra (firqa). The traditional instruments employed include the `ud (lute), kamanja (violin), qanun (zither), nay (reed flute), riqq or daff (tambourine), darabukka or tabla (goblet drum), and others. Consistent with developments in composition and performance practice over the past century, the ensemble also employs instruments adapted from Euro-American traditions including the contrabass, violoncello, accordion, electric guitar, and drum set as well as Latin percussion, brass instruments, and others. Participation in the ensemble is open to all Cal Poly students and community members. Previous experience is not required. Performances include a formal concert at the end of each quarter and additional concerts in different configurations for other occasions.
For more information on the Arab Music Ensemble, contact Dr. Ken Habib.