top of page


The Amherst Symphony Orchestra, (Mark Lane Swanson, Music Director & Conductor), consists of anywhere from sixty to eighty Amherst College students (depending on the year and repertoire) as well as up to ten musicians from the other schools of the Five College Consortium (principally the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Hampshire College; students at Mount Holyoke and Smith are encouraged to participate in their own college orchestras).  It is perhaps the only non-conservatory liberal arts college orchestra of its size to be comprised entirely of students and to present at least six different programs per academic year.


The orchestra specializes in Western "classical" music of the classical, Romantic and early twentieth-century periods; it also performs annually with the Amherst College Choral Society (Arianne Abela, director), presents operas and musicals (both fully staged or in-concert), new music and world premieres, "pops" and film music, as well as annual events featuring Amherst College seniors as concerto soloists.  It aspires to perform at the level of a fine regional orchestra and offers its members the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of the finest (and often most exciting) works in the classical canon.


Applicants to Amherst College who are classical instrumentalists are encouraged to submit arts supplements in support of their application; if admitted, you are invited to become part of our extraordinary and fun ensemble!

For more information about the ASO, email director Mark Swanson at

bottom of page