Symphonic Winds Instrumental Chamber Music

Expanding Horizons—Performnig Great Music–Creating Lasting Memories

"Symphonic Winds was a pivotal part of my college experience. From my first rehearsal, I was hooked. The repertoire was challenging but fun to play, and I was always proud of our performances. The ensemble allowed me to make friends outside of my major, some of which I am still great friends with today. I am so grateful to Simon Tillier and the Symphonic Winds program for providing me with a creative outlet and experiences that I will bring with me forever. It has encouraged me to continue my musical career into graduate school and beyond."—Katie Kubat ‘20

"Symphonic Winds was a place where I could refocus, socialize and feel accomplished. Due to my experiences in the ensemble I will continue performing music throughout my life, while pursuing my dreams."—Brittney Ferrian '17

"Symphonic Winds offered me a close-knit and diverse community to engage with. My passion and talent for music would not have reached their heights without the support I received in the group."Anne Ternes '17

UMN Morris Symphonic Winds is the primary large instrumental ensemble for wind, brass and percussion players at Morris. Under its conductor Simon Tillier, this auditioned group is made up of some 55 music and non-music majors from throughout the campus. Performances feature a wide variety of works from all musical periods, cultures and styles, emphasizing core and contemporary repertoire. In particular, Symphonic Winds' cross-discipline approach provides the ensemble with the opportunity to commission and collaborate on works involving literature, theatre, film, and dance.

Symphonic Winds frequently collaborates with composers, guest artists, and faculty soloists, including saxophonist Andy Scott, composer Christopher Marshall, electric guitarist Michael Nicolella, and conductor Milt Allen. In 2018 the ensemble commissioned and premiered States of Matter, a three-movement work by U.K. composer Jenni Watson, inspired by the environment and sustainability – issues very much at the heart of this campus. 

Symphonic Winds tours regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2015 the ensemble traveled to the United Kingdom to give concerts in Manchester, Bristol, and London as part of a Morris Study Abroad Program, and in 2018 it toured the state of Alaska. The ensemble is currently preparing to undertake a regional tour in 2023 and a tour to Ireland and Scotland as its next international venture.

Many students in Symphonic Winds actively play a role in the running of the ensemble through its Student Council. These responsibilities include publicity, fundraising, social events, and logistics. There is also a librarian position.

We hope you will take a moment to explore the various links.

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Jenni Watson

States of Matter-Icemelts for Wind Ensemble (UMM Symphonic Winds 2018 Comission)

James Flegel

Prairie Peace for Solo Guitar and Chamber Winds (UMM Symphonic Winds 2017 Comission)
James Flegel, guitar, Simon Tillier, conductor and Morris Symphonic Winds Players
Flegel Prairie Peace

Christopher Marshall

Burning Blue for Solo Electric Guitar and Large Chamber Ensemble (UMM Symphonic Winds 2015 Comission)
Michael Nicolella, electric guitar, Simon Tillier, conductor and Morris Symphonic Winds players.
Live concert recording

Council Members

  • President: Christian Scribner (tuba)
  • Secretary: TBA 
  • Treasurer: TBA
  • Publicity Officer: TBA
  • Ensemble Manager: TBA
  • Member-at-Large: TBA
  • Tour Representative: TBA
  • Librarian: Bryanna Wiebe (flute)



Past Repertiore

Audition Information

Symphonic Winds and Instrumental Chamer Music Auditions

Tuesday, August 23, 2022, 2:00-5:00PM – HFA 180

Symphonic Winds and Instrumental Chamber Ensembles are open to any student, regardless of their major. Morris has a long tradition of serving players from many different musical backgrounds. Students in our ensembles typically have a wide range of abilities and experiences. We aim to accommodate all students and will endeavor to ensure that auditions are informal and friendly.

How to Join
  1. Complete the Sign-up Form to indicate your interest in performing in Symphonic Winds and/or instrumental chamber music.
  2. Sign-up for an audition on the bulletin board outside HFA 180. audition. Auditions will be held on Tuesday, August 24, 2-5 p.m. in HFA 180.
  3. All accepted members should be registered for MUS 1300-001 by the first rehearsal.
  4. Students who wish to participate in INSTRUMENTAL CHAMBER MUSIC should first audition and will then be given the appropriate permission number to register with.
Who is required to audition?
  • First year or transfer students.
  • Students that have not played in a UMN Morris instrumental ensemble before.
  • Existing students arenotrequired to audition but should make sure they are registered to ensure a place in an ensemble.
What to perform in your audition?

Auditions are very informal and provide the opportunity for students to meet the conductor and perform 2 short pieces of their own choice or from the resource links provided below. Percussionists are invited to demonstrate their playing on whatever instrument(s) they are familiar with. If you are unable to perform on the scheduled audition day sign-up for an audition time anyway and come to meet Dr. Simon Tillier.

Students can register for MUS 1300-01 Symphonic Winds at any time, but their place in the ensemble will only be confirmed upon completion of a satisfactory audition. Chamber groups require a permission number from the instructor to register.

Use of School Instruments

The Music Discipline maintains a selection of instruments for use by students. This is especially useful for performers of the larger (or more expensive) instruments such as tuba, euphonium, and bassoon. However, it is also a resource to players who relied on school-owned instruments while in high school.

Students who need an instrument for auditions should contact Professor Simon Tillier as soon as possible after having arrived on campus. An instrument will be provided for the audition, and then permanently checked-out to those students who participate in an ensemble. (Note: Students who need to use a school instrument are encouraged to sign-up for one of the later audition appointments, to have as much practice time as possible on their new instrument.)

Autition Materials
Important Dates
  • Tuesday, August 24, 2-5 p.m., Auditions held in HFA 180
  • Monday, August 30, 3:30-5:20 p.m., First Symphonic Winds rehearsal
  • Friday, September 9, 3:30-5:00 / 6:30-8:30 p.m., Symphonic Winds Workshop Weekend (on-campus). Guest coaches, sectional and full rehearsals, and social activities.
  • Saturday, September 10, 9:30-5:30 p.m., Symphonic Winds Workshop Weekend (on-campus). Guest coaches, sectional and full rehearsals, and social activities.
  • Saturday, October 8, 4 p.m., Homecoming Combined Ensemble Concert
  • Sunday, November 5, 4 p.m., Symphonic Winds in Concert
  • Friday, December 2, 7 p.m., Symphonic Winds Holiday Concert – ‘Tis the Season
  • Sunday, March 5, 3 p.m., Symphonic Winds Concert – Musical Mavericks
  • April 22-24, Symphonic Winds Regional Tour