As one of the largest and most prestigious performing organizations on campus, the Pomona College Orchestra has a long tradition as an important creative and cultural outlet for the students, faculty, and staff of The Claremont Colleges. Although the majority of its members are Pomona College students, the orchestra also has representatives from Scripps, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, and Pitzer colleges, as well as the Claremont Graduate University, other local colleges, and the greater Claremont community. The home of the PCO is the beautiful, recently renovated Bridges Hall of Music, on the Pomona College campus. The orchestra not only performs on this magnificent stage but also has the great privilege of rehearsing there regularly. The permanent conductor is Professor Eric Lindholm, and the conductor for the Fall 2023 semester will be Tony Rowe.
The members of the PCO benefit from the social, emotional, and spiritual experiences that come from a close association with great music and fellow musicians. Most of the orchestra’s personnel stay in the group year after year, seeing it as a part of college life that they don’t want to do without. Members form close friendships that last far beyond their years at Pomona, with the time spent in the orchestra acting as a common bond. The orchestra engages faculty or guest soloists each season, with recent performances featuring the internationally acclaimed Boris Berman in Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Takemitsu’s atmospheric To the Edge of Dream with guitarist Jack Sanders, and Barber’s popular Violin Concerto with violinist Sarah Thornblade. Through the department’s annual concerto competition, student soloists have presented pieces like the Sibelius Violin Concerto, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, and the Cello Concerto in D major by Haydn. Each season concludes with a collaboration with the Pomona College Choir, with recent examples including Mendelssohn's Elijah, with Grammy-award winning baritone Nmon Ford in the title role, the Requiems by Fauré and Duruflé, and the West Coast premiere of Florence Price’s Song of Hope. On its own, the orchestra engages music from all across the repertoire, including major works by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Bartók, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and many others. Rehearsals are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Audition required. Half-course credit. P/NC.