University Orchestra

Music stands and instruments laying on the ground

The KU University Orchestra is an ensemble open to all enrolled students at the University of Kansas regardless of major. The UO meets once weekly during the Fall semester on Tuesday evenings from 6–7:50 pm and once weekly during the Spring semester on Wednesday evenings from 6-7:50 pm. The UO rehearses in Murphy Hall, Room 118, and typically presents 1-2 concerts per semester.

The University Orchestra is open to all players without audition. If you play a wind instrument and would like to get some orchestral experience, this is a great starting place. If you played an instrument in high school and want to keep playing, this is the ensemble for you! The atmosphere is fun and friendly, and a great opportunity to meet new friends on campus.

The University Orchestra, founded in Fall 2020, had its origins in a student-led group, the Bravura Chamber Orchestra, established by a former KU student and conductor, Kris Hilding.  Since its debut, KUUO has created interdisciplinary concerts partnering with the likes of the KU Astronomy department as well as playing alongside KU Symphony Orchestra.  KUUO promotes a mission of community outreach and focuses on both traditional and creative, diverse musical experiences.

The orchestra is conducted and run by the graduate students in orchestral conducting for whom the ensemble doubles as a repertory orchestra. Repertoire performed includes standard symphonic literature, concertos, and new music alongside more popular selections and arrangements.

To register your interest and to find out more, please email

Conductors 2021-2022

Frances Ho

Frances Ho is currently in her D.M.A program at the University of Kansas in Orchestral Conducting under the instruction of Dr. Carolyn Watson.  She is the Assistant Conductor of the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra, working as the Graduate Teaching Assistant.  

Frances was the former music director for Belmont Opera at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, making her opera debut with Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land.  In 2016, she directed the Washington premiere of Bill Rauch’s Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella with the nationally renowned Roosevelt HS Theatre and was nominated for best musical theatre pit direction through the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards.  

Previously, Frances studied conducting under Dr. Robert Gregg as well as received instruction from Mark Shapiro through EAMA and Julliard, Robin Fountain at Vanderbilt University, and Don Schleicher through additional courses and workshops.

Joseph Chan

Joseph Chan

Joseph Shing Him Chan is an emerging Australian conductor currently based in Lawrence, Kansas, where he is completing a Master of Music (MMus) under the tutelage of Dr. Carolyn Watson. Balancing his strong instinct for musical interpretation with a cooperative approach, Joseph is equally comfortable engaging both professional and developing ensembles.

During his undergraduate studies in Australia, Joseph was one of eleven young conductors selected to participate in the prestigious Australian Conducting Academy Summer School held in Tasmania. There, he worked with the principal guest conductor of The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Fritzsch. He has extensive experience working with a variety of community and youth ensembles, including conducting the Brisbane Baroque Players, Queensland Youth Orchestra Wind Symphony, and the University of Queensland Chorale. Joseph has also worked with local and international conductors Dane Lam, Larry Rachleff, and Christopher Seaman.

Now beginning his career in the United States, Joseph has been actively involved in the orchestral programs of The University of Kansas, regularly directing the Kansas University Symphony Orchestra as well as co-founding a new ensemble, the Kansas University Orchestra. In the summer of 2021, Joseph spent a month at The Conductors Retreat at Medomak learning from Maestro Kenneth Kiesler.

His study at the University of Kansas is supported by the 2021 American Australian Association Arts Fund.