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


Auditions take place in week 1 of the academic year and last ~5 minutes! Get more info at the music fayre during freshers' week.

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; there will also be a short sight-reading except.

Please arrive 10 minutes before your time slot and we'll direct you to a room where you can warm up.

For other queries including:

  • Auditioning after week 1

  • Requiring a bulky instrument (e.g. harp, percussion) for your audition

  • Any other accommodations you might need

Please do contacts us at


We rehearse regularly from Week 2 until the concert on Tuesdays, 18:30 till 21:00 in the Laidlaw Music Centre. There is a relaxed pub social after each rehearsal!

There will be an extra rehearsal on Sunday the 20nd of November.

The concert is on the evening of Thursday the 24th of November in the Younger Hall.


Repertoire for semester 1 of the 2022/23 academic year is as follows:

  • Wagner - Overture from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

  • Arutunian - Trumpet Concerto, with student soloist Matthew Foulds

  • Elgar - Variations on an Original Theme, the "Enigma Variations"

Contact for more information.

Music Society Logo Colour.png