For over fifty years, the University Symphony Orchestra (USO) of the University of Leuven (KULeuven) has been a well-established name in Belgium. The musicians of the orchestra are students of the University of Leuven, who have a passion for music and come together every Wednesday evening to share this passion. They are conducted by Edmond Saveniers.
The season starts at the beginning of the academic year and ends around the Easter holidays. The first series of concerts take place in November, first during a concert tour abroad, then in our home town Leuven. The second series of concerts take place in spring, both in Leuven and elsewhere in Belgium. We have had the honour to play in the Kursaal in Oostende, the Concertgebouw in Brugge, and many other places. 
As the USO is a group of students, it is no surprise that there are also several other activities next to the weakly rehearsals, which create a fun and student-like group atmosphere. 

Read more about the USO:

  • Conductor
  • Management
  • Concert tour
  • History
  • Introductory Rehearsals

    What is the best way to get to know the USO? 

    The USO is an orchestra made up of students. These students have to attend classes during the day, but in the evening, they love to conjure sweet tunes from their beloved instruments. The passion and enthusiasm of all members of the orchestra add to the unique atmosphere, which still brings smiles to the faces of everyone who once played in the USO. 

    The best way to get to know this unique orchestra is to sit amongst the musicians and play the first notes of the programme together with them. That’s why we organise two introductory rehearsals at the beginning of every academic year. This year (2019-2020), these introductory rehearsals are held on Wednesday September 25, 2019 and on Sunday September 29, 2019 at 7.45 PM.

    All rehearsals take place in the ‘ensemblezaal’ of the arts center STUK. More information about the rehearsals can be found on the page ‘Rehearsals’


    In order to guarantee an honest selection for the restricted number of empty places, we organise auditions at the beginning of each academic year. Don’t let this scare you: a good basic command of your instrument is usually enough.

    Dates and auditions for the year 2019-2020 

    The auditions for 2019-2020 will be held on Monday September 30th for the woodwind and brass players, and on Tuesday October 1st for the string players. The auditions will take place in the Maria Theresiacollege (Sint-Michielsstraat, Leuven) at 7.45 PM. For practical reasons, the auditions for percussion, piano and harp are held at another time and place. Please contact us for more information regarding these auditions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at this email address
    Good luck!

    Remark: the location and hours of the auditions can possibly be updated. Make sure you know when and where you should come!

    What is expected from you on the auditions? 

    Everyone is asked to perform a prepared piece of their own choice, as well as a short piece of sight-reading, which is handed out fifteen minutes before the audition. This piece of sight-reading is selected from the repertoire of the USO, which reflects the level of the orchestra. Choose your own piece of music so that it shows your technical and/or lyrical abilities in a couple of minutes. Make sure it reflects the level of command you have over your instrument. 

    Who decides? 

    The enactments of the USO state that the auditions are held by the conductor, the concertmaster and the captain of your instrument section. The president of the board is present, but doesn’t have an influence on the decision. 

    Why are we holding auditions?

    There are two reasons. First of all, a symphony orchestra is characterized by a certain instrumentation. The number of people we are looking for depends on which and how many instruments are needed for a certain piece of music. Secondly, we are constantly aiming at a high level of quality. We expect the musicians that fill the empty places in the orchestra to be able to play their part to a sufficient extent. It would be a pity for both the orchestra as a whole and the musician in question, when he or she has great difficulties in playing his/her part. This is something we want to prevent by holding auditions. 

    Who can join? 

    Everyone who is a fulltime student at the University of Leuven and is accepted after the auditions can join the USO. As long as you stay a student at the University of Leuven, you can stay a member of the USO, with a limit of 7 years maximum.
    Other musicians (students of other institutions of higher education or even non-students) can be accepted for the duration of one programme or of one year. Students of the University of Leuven will always have priority. 

    When do I know the result of my audition? 

    You will hear the results of the auditions as soon as possible via e-mail or phone. If you haven’t been selected, you can always ask the conductor, the concert master or the captain of your instrument section for feedback. 

    Double bass players who are interested in joining, but are not able to bring their bass to the auditions, can contact us beforehand. We will provide an instrument for you. Other musicians of course bring their own instruments. 

    If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact any of the board members. Their information can be found on the page ‘Contact’. Also, feel free to contact our concertmaster at concertmeester@usoleuven.be.