The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, directed by Dr. Jay Dean, is an excellent college orchestra with a busy performing schedule. In addition to learning the standard orchestral literature, USMSO members often have an opportunity to play with such superstars of the musical world as Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, James Galway and Placido Domingo.
Frequent guest recitals and master classes in the Marsh and Bennett Auditoriums give the Southern Miss students a chance to enjoy the performance and the opinion of the best in the field.
William T. Gower Concerto Competition is open to all string, voice and piano majors biannually. The winners appear as soloists with The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra in the Future Stars concert in Bennett Auditorium.
Chamber music ensembles are formed in the beginning of each semester. The string faculty members serve as coaches and prepare the groups for the Marathon Concerts. The best ensembles are then selected to perform in the Honors Chamber Music Recital.
Additional performing experience and supplemental income are available off-campus as well. Many of the Southern Miss string students are contracted to play with regional orchestras such as the Mississippi Symphony, the Mobile Symphony, the Gulf Coast Symphony, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra or the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. Students also get frequently called for the local events in the Hattiesburg and Laurel areas.
The Southern Miss Suzuki School offers string instrument instruction to children. This is a good opportunity for the music students to gain teaching experience while maintaining an on-campus job.