Orchestra Indiana announces 2023-2024 season


Highlights include music from the Harry Potter films, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, a tribute to the Beatles, and Beethoven’s immortal 9th Symphony.

Orchestra Indiana to begin search for new music director.

CONTACT: Katie Morgan Perez (765) 669-0356, kperez@orchestraindiana.org

February 28, 2023

MUNCIE, IN – Today, Orchestra Indiana announced details of its 2023-24 concert season with performances in Muncie’s Emens Auditorium and venues throughout East Central Indiana. Highlights include music from the Harry Potter films, Copland’s Appalachian Spring, a tribute to the Beatles, and Beethoven’s immortal 9th Symphony. Season ticket packages including all six programs in the Muncie area are on sale now through the Emens Auditorium Box Office. Call (765) 285-1539 between 10am – 5pm weekdays or email emens@bsu.edu with questions.

“It’s an exciting season that continues the artistic profile we established when Orchestra Indiana was founded,” said Orchestra Indiana Executive Director Katie Perez. “From the Beatles to Beethoven, there really is something for everyone.”

With the recent appointment of Matthew Kraemer as Music Director of the Louisiana Philharmonic, Orchestra Indiana is in search of new artistic leadership. The search process will be led by a committee comprised of members of the Orchestra Indiana Board of Directors and musicians.

For the 2023-24 season, respected conductor, violinist, and educator Joel Smirnoff has been named Principal Guest Conductor. Smirnoff, who currently resides in Carmel, was a long-time member of the Juilliard String Quartet, Chairman of the Juilliard School’s Violin Department, and led the Cleveland Institute of Music for nearly a decade.

“While work has already begun, it may take several seasons to find the right person to lead our orchestra,” said Steve Slavin, Chairman of the Orchestra Indiana Board of Directors.” “We are fortunate to have Joel Smirnoff – a very accomplished musician and artistic leader – close by to provide stability while we go through the process.”


Magical Music: Harry Potter & More

Joel Smirnoff, Principal Guest Conductor
Saturday, September 16 @ 7:30pm – Emens Auditorium, Muncie
Sunday, September 17 – TBA
Orchestra Indiana opens a wondrous new season with music from the Harry Potter movies, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” immortalized in Disney’s Fantasia, and other magical tunes.

Appalachian Spring

Joel Smirnoff, Principal Guest Conductor
Saturday, October 14 @ 7:30pm – Rediger Chapel Auditorium, Taylor University
An intimate program of classical favorites including Copland’s Appalachian Spring as originally written for a 13-piece chamber orchestra, Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.

Classical Mystery Tour

Saturday, November 11 @ 7:30pm – Emens Auditorium, Muncie
Original cast members of Broadway sensation “Beatlemania” join Orchestra Indiana for a tribute to the Fab Four. Enjoy all your favorite Beatles’ hits including “Yesterday,” “Help,” and “Love Me Do” performed by musicians who look and sound like John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Christmas Celebration

Saturday, December 2 @ 6:00pm – Emens Auditorium, Muncie
Orchestra Indiana performs the sounds of the season.

Brahms Violin Concerto

Joel Smirnoff, Principal Guest Conductor
Saturday, February 10 @ 7:30pm – Emens Auditorium, Muncie
Sunday, February 11 – TBA
Romance will be in the air in a program featuring Brahms’ impassioned Violin Concerto and highlights from Prokofiev’s searing Romeo & Juliet.

Beethoven’s 9th

Joel Smirnoff, Principal Guest Conductor
Friday, April 12 @ 7:30pm – Emens Auditorium, Muncie
Saturday, April 13 – TBA
Enjoy an epic season finale – Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – the great composer’s immortal “ode to joy.”


Orchestra Indiana began in March 2022 when the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and Marion Philharmonic Orchestra merged into one organization. Both the MSO and MPO have rich histories in our region, and Orchestra Indiana is fortunate to continue their legacies.
The Muncie Symphony Orchestra began when Dr. Robert Hargreaves was hired by the Ball State Teachers College to lead the college’s music program in the 1940s. He thought Muncie needed an autonomous orchestra. Hargreaves led the first professional orchestra with two concerts in the spring of 1948. (cont.)

By January 1950, more than 50 musicians met and approved a constitution for the Muncie Civic and College Symphony Association. For more than 70 years, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra flourished thanks to a strong relationship with Ball State University, with BSU music faculty and talented music students making up a large portion of the orchestra.

The Marion Philharmonic was formed in 1969 under the direction of Benjamin G. Del Vecchio. The orchestra was comprised of students and local area musicians until it became a semi-professional ensemble within a five year period. Mr. Del Vecchio was an Indiana University doctoral student when he joined the music faculty at Taylor University. Little did he know founding an orchestra would become a major priority. With the assistance of Dr. Edward Hermanson of Taylor University and a group of committed Marion businessmen, the orchestra quickly became a passion of Del Vecchio and together they developed the MPO.

The musicians of Orchestra Indiana include musicians from both the former MSO and MPO. They are professors, students, and professional musicians who hail from east central Indiana, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Cincinnati. Many of our musicians also have “day jobs” as farmers, teachers, EMTs, and executive directors. All are passionate about bringing live orchestral music to you!

Orchestra Indiana names a new Executive Director

Muncie, IN – Orchestra Indiana is excited to announce that Katie Morgan Perez has been named Executive Director. Perez joined Orchestra Indiana as the Director of Operations in October of 2022, and previously served as the Executive Director of the Community School of the Arts in Marion for eight years. Perez steps into the role following the recent resignation of Scott Watkins.

“In the past few months I have had the pleasure to work alongside an incredible staff and production team dedicated to bringing the highest quality of orchestra music to the East Central Indiana region, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Board, the staff, and the talented musicians that bring this important mission to life” stated Perez of her new role.

Read the full press release here.

Free shuttle service for OI patrons!

We are proud to announce that Orchestra Indiana and Hillcroft Services’ Reliable Transit Division have once again partnered together for the 2022-23 season to provide FREE shuttle service for OI patrons in need of additional assistance to and from the two main parking lots and the handicap lot that feed Emens Auditorium.

Shuttle service will be offered to and from the McKinley Avenue Parking Garage, the New York Street Parking Garage, and the Handicap Lot on the corner of Riverside Ave. and Dicks St. starting one hour prior to show time and will resume immediately following the conclusion of the show for 30 minutes. We hope that this service will be beneficial for any OI patrons who may need additional assistance to and from the parking facilities.


Can I bring my kids to a concert?

It depends on the concert and on the age of your kids. Many standard-length classical concerts may be difficult for small children because they require an attention span that may be beyond what a child can maintain. Our free community concerts and Education Concerts are a great way for families (including children of all ages) to enjoy classical music together. Your kids or grandkids may also enjoy the concerts in our Indiana Trust Pops Series, which include a holiday concert, movie music, and more!

To further build your children’s interest in classical music, play classical music at home or in the car. When they are old enough to sit quietly for an extended period, you may wish to bring them to the first half of a Classical concert. In all cases, it’s a good idea to check with the orchestra directly about the appropriateness of the concert you plan to attend with your kids. And don’t forget that children in grades K-12 can get free tickets to our subscription concerts!

FAQs about your first concert

Where and when do Orchestra Indiana concerts take place?
All Muncie subscription concerts will be held in Emens Auditorium on Ball State Campus. Marion subscription concerts and free community concerts occur at a variety of different locations. Visit the “Upcoming Events” page for detailed information about concert locations and start times.

Is there a shuttle service from the parking garages to Emens?
Yes, for all concerts held in Emens Auditorium, we are again offering a shuttle service to and from the parking garages this season. Find out more here.

What is classical music?
The term “classical music” can be problematic. Music history refers to the years from roughly 1750 to 1825 as the “Classical” period, when Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven achieved their glory. But in a broader sense, the term classical music is used to describe the continuing heritage of music mostly written to be performed in concert halls by orchestras, singers, choruses, chamber ensembles, and solo instrumentalists.

I’ve never been to an orchestra concert before. What should I expect?
Expect to enjoy yourself! This is the time to let go of any preconceptions you may have about classical music or the concert experience. Some things about the concert may seem strange because they’re new to you, but if you just focus on the music, you’ll have a great time. Open yourself up to the music. Feel the rhythms; follow the tunes. Watch the musicians and the conductor; see how they interact with each other. Notice how the music ebbs and flows – surging and powerful at some times, delicate and ephemeral at others.

What if I don’t know anything about classical music? Do I need to study beforehand?
There’s no need to study. The music will speak for itself. Just come and enjoy it! Over time, many frequent concertgoers do find their enjoyment is deeper if they prepare for a concert. This can be simple, like reading the program notes beforehand; or it can be more involved, like listening to recordings of the music to be performed in the days before they attend a concert. Pre-Concert Lectures take place before select concerts and provide an insightful and informative introduction to the pieces on the program for those concertgoers who would like more background about the music they’re about to hear! Check the details of upcoming events to find when the next Pre-Concert Lecture is happening.

Will I enjoy the concert?
Live music is amazing! And, odds are, you’ll recognize some of the music. Many of today’s popular songs, television shows, video games, and movies include classical music, like the Lone Ranger theme (Rossini’s William Tell Overture), the Bugs Bunny cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?” (Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries), Call of Duty (Mozart’s Dies Irae), and many more.
You’ll notice that each classical piece uses its own group of several tunes over and over, in different ways. You’ll start to “recognize” these melodies as a work progresses. Listen for the ways a melody is repeated: Is it exactly the same as the first time, or with a different character? Does it start the same as before, but go off in a different direction?

What should I wear?
There is no dress code! Anything that makes you feel comfortable is fine. Some people will be wearing business clothes or slightly dressy casual clothes, and you’ll see everything from jeans to dresses. Some people enjoy dressing up and making a special night of it. If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne. It can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze (which may distract you).

Should I arrive early?
Plan to arrive anywhere from 10-30 minutes before concert time, so you can find your seat, silence off your cell phone, take a look at your surroundings, absorb the atmosphere, and have time to glance through the program book, too. Most concerts start on time. If you’re late, you may end up listening from the lobby! If that happens, the usher will allow you inside during a suitable pause in the program, so your arrival won’t disturb other concertgoers. Don’t forget the Pre-Concert Lectures before select concerts.

How long is the concert?
Most subscription concerts are 90 minutes to two hours long (usually including an intermission). Free community concerts and family concerts usually range from one hour to 90 minutes.

Can I take pictures?
Cameras, video recorders, or other recording equipment are NOT permitted in concerts. Phone calls, phone alarms, and texting during the performance can be distracting to the audience members around you or even to the musicians, so please remember to silence your phone and put it away before the concert begins.

When should I clap?
Generally, it is considered proper concert etiquette to clap only after a piece is complete. Just like books have chapters and TV series have episodes, many orchestral pieces are divided into multiple sections called movements. Each movement can stand alone but contributes cohesively to the entire piece. Generally there are very brief pauses in between each movement, and the audience applauds at the conclusion of the work. You can tell how many movements a piece has by looking at your program. For example:

Symphony No. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con moto
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace
IV. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace

This symphony by Beethoven has four movements, so we can expect pauses between each movement and applause at the end of the last movement. Movement titles are often Italian terms for how fast the tempo will be or other characteristics. If you lose track of where the piece is, you can always wait for the rest of the audience to clap before applauding. Another good sign is when the conductor either turns around or steps off the podium.

Will there be an intermission, and what should I do during it?
Most subscription concerts will have a 15-20 minute intermission. Check your program or ask an Orchestra Indiana staff member in the lobby. Just as the musicians will need to take a break, you may use the time to visit the restroom or socialize. Select concerts may have refreshments available in the lobby during intermission (or before the show).

Can I bring my kids?
It depends on the concert and on the age of your kids. Many standard-length classical concerts may be difficult for small children because they require an attention span that may be beyond what a child can maintain. Our Free Community Concerts and Education Concerts are a great way for families (including children of all ages) to enjoy classical music together. To further build your children’s interest in classical music, play classical music at home or in the car. When they are old enough to sit quietly for an extended period, you may wish to bring them to the first half of a Classical concert. In all cases, it’s a good idea to check with the orchestra directly about the appropriateness of the concert you plan to attend with your kids. Children in grades K-12 can get free tickets to our subscription concerts!


FAQs about the orchestra

Why are the musicians onstage playing before the concert begins?
Just like athletes warming up before a game, musicians need to warm up their muscles and focus their concentration. Some of them are working on the passages they need to polish up before the performance, with no regard for what anyone else is practicing.

Why do the musicians wear formal black clothes?
This is a long tradition that started centuries ago. Sometimes musicians dress a little more casually, but they still try to look similar, so that the audience can concentrate on the music. Soloists are the exception: they often dress differently, because they are the focus of attention.

Why are there are more stringed instruments than anything else?
The sound of each individual stringed instrument is softer than a brass or woodwind instrument. But in large numbers, they make a magnificent, rich sound.

Why do the string players share stands?
Fewer stands mean that the musicians, who are moving around quite a bit, have more room to play freely. Also, because the strings play more continuously than the other instruments, their page turns can fall in inconvenient places where there should be no break in the music. The musician on the inside seat turns pages while the musician on the outside seat continues to play.

Why do their bows move together?
The players within each string section – first violins, second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses – are usually playing the same part, so it’s essential that they sound as one. Each type of bow movement produces a different sound, so each string section sounds more unified when the players use the same bow motion.

What does the concertmaster do?
The concertmaster sits in the first chair of the first violins. He or she acts as the leader of that section but also plays a leadership role with the orchestra as a whole. He or she is also the last orchestra member to enter the stage before a concert and cues the oboe to “tune” the orchestra.

Why do all the musicians tune to the oboe?
The penetrating tone of the oboe is easy for all players to hear. And its ability to sustain pitch is very secure. The oboe plays the note “A,” and all the players make sure their “A” is exactly on the same pitch as the oboe’s “A.” This ensures that they all are on the same pitch before the concert begins.

Why does Maestro leave after most pieces of music?
This provides the conductor a little breather – a chance to collect his or her thoughts before starting the next piece. If the applause is very enthusiastic, the conductor will come onstage again, bow, and perhaps recognize some musicians who played important solos in the piece.

Why don’t the musicians smile while they play?
Look closely and you’ll see that some of them do! But in general, they are concentrating deeply, just like outfielders waiting for the fly ball or pitchers winding up to a curveball. They’re “in the zone.” Some musicians “feel” the music and move in their chairs or move their heads. After the music is over, you may see them smiling broadly. If it was a concerto, and they liked the soloist’s performance, they won’t just smile – the string players will tap their stands with their bows as a sign of appreciation and others will stomp their feet.

What is an orchestra?

A symphony orchestra is a collection of up to about 100 musicians who play instruments of four basic types: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Click on the hyperlinks for each instrument to hear an Orchestra Indiana musician play and discuss each instrument.

  1. Strings – violins (smallest, and highest in pitch), violascellos, and double basses (largest and lowest in pitch). These players sit in a semicircle directly in front of the conductor and make up more than half the orchestra. The harp is also a string instrument, although it looks very different from the other strings. The harp player usually sits behind the violin sections.
  2. Woodwinds – flutesoboesclarinets, and bassoons. These players sit a few rows back from the conductor, in the center of the orchestra. You may sometimes see closely related instruments being played alongside these instruments. Each of the woodwind instruments has “cousins” that may be smaller, like the piccolo, or larger, like the English horn, bass clarinet, and contrabassoon.
  3. Brass – trumpetshornstrombones, and tubas. These instruments are the loudest, so you’ll see them in the rear of the orchestra.
  4. Percussion – drums, bells, tambourines, chimes, symbols, woodblocks, and sometimes odd things such as hubcaps that are struck, plucked, rubbed, etc. This includes the timpani, xylophone, and marimba. Some works use lots of different percussion; others may have a single musician playing the timpani, or no percussion at all. The percussion section is at the back of the orchestra because percussionists often play more than one instrument and need space to move from one to the other during the concert. Although the piano is really a keyboard instrument, not percussion, it is occasionally used in the orchestra and will usually be located towards the back of the orchestra, near the percussion.