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St Andrews Symphony Orchestra

The Society's Flagship Ensemble

St Andrews Symphony Orchestra is the largest orchestra in town.

Fully auditioned, the Orchestra consists of the University's finest student instrumentalists and is professionally conducted by Iain McLarty. 


Recent repertoire includes Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade", Stravinsky's "Firebird" Suite, Saint-Saëns' "Organ Symphony", and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".

Past performances include concerts with Viv McLean (former winner of the Maria Canals Piano Competition) and Christian Elliott (Principal Cellist of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and former Guest Principal of the SCO and the BBC Philharmonic) as well as a performance with SATB chorus of "Ever to Excel", a piece commissioned by the Music Society and written by former University Composer in Residence Mark Boden as part of the University's 600th anniversary celebrations.

Our Conductor

Scottish conductor Iain McLarty

studied in the Soloist Class at the

Royal Danish Academy of Music

(DKDM) in Copenhagen with

Giordano Bellincampi and Michael

Schønwandt, concluding in a concert with

Aarhus Symfoniorkester featuring the Danish première of James MacMillan's "The Confession of Isobel Gowdie".

Committed to performing contemporary music, Iain has conducted numerous premières in both Scandinavia and the UK. He has taken part in masterclasses with the London Sinfonietta, Norwegian Radio Orchestra and BBC Singers and teachers have included Alexander Vedernikov, Johannes Schlaefli, Diego Masson, George Hurst, Benjamin Zander and James Lowe. Iain is currently Musical Director of the Scottish Chamber Choir and a regular guest conductor of Edinburgh University's String Orchestra.


Before taking up conducting, Iain studied Mathematics and Music at the University of Edinburgh, his interest in two such contrasting fields leading to his feature in the film, "Le pere di Adamo" shown at the Rome Film Festival. He also has a Masters in Musicology, with his research focusing on classical and church music in Scotland.

Candide Overture (Leonard Bernstein)St Andrews Symphony Orchestra
00:00 / 05:24
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein)St Andrews Symphony Orchestra
00:00 / 24:49
Finlandia, Op.26 (Jean Sibelius)St Andrews Symphony Orchestra
00:00 / 07:26
Audition Process

Auditions take place in the Music Centre in Week 1 of the academic year. The audition should only last approximately 5-10 minutes.

We ask all prospective members of the Orchestra to audition at the start of each academic year, including returning students. However, this process need not be a source of anxiety - it is quite informal and the panel consists of only the conductor. Players should prepare a piece they are comfortable playing unaccompanied and there will also be some sight-reading.


If interested in auditioning after Orientation Week, please contact the managers directly via email.

Spartacus, Ballet Suite No.2 (Aram Khachaturian)St Andrews Symphony Orchestra
00:00 / 22:06

Contact for more information.

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