Intermediate String Ensemble (ISE)

 Karl Ørvik, Conductor

Students in ISE work to develop and refine their ensemble skills. ISE is structured like a string chamber orchestra, with sectioned seating (First Violins, Second Violins, Violas, Cellos, Bass) and section principals. The repertoire focuses on authentic string orchestra compositions rather than arrangements, and is appropriate for the various abilities of the students.



Saturdays, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

2017-2018 Performances

Saturday, November 4 (Performathon)

December 16, March 17, June 16 (Ensembles Concerts)

Auditions Requirements


Two of the following scales (two octaves): GM, DM, AM, CM, B-flatM, A-flatM

One piece or etude from repertoire equivalent to Suzuki Book 2 (last five pieces) or Suzuki Book 3



Two of the following scales (two octaves): CM, DM, FM, GM, D-flatM, E-flatM

One piece or etude from repertoire equivalent to Suzuki Book 2 (last five pieces) or Suzuki Book 3



Two of the following scales: B-flatM, A-flatM (two octaves) and CM, DM, AM, E-flatM (3 octaves)

One piece or etude from repertoire equivalent to Suzuki Book 3



Two of the following scales: CM, E-flatM (two octaves) and GM (three octaves)

One piece or etude from repertoire equivalent to Suzuki Book 3



Complete THIS FORM to schedule an audition.

Contact: Will Fickes, Artistic Director – or 617-482-7494


Goals and Expectations

1) ensemble playing: listening to others, both within and across sections; adjusting pitches and learning to tune to the ensemble; matching bowings and articulations; applying all dynamic markings; continuing to develop strong sense of individual rhythm within the group; learning to voice and balance within and across the ensemble; learning to follow conductor’s beat patterns and expressions; learning to phrase in an orchestral context; introduction to different styles of playing relating to time period of composer; sightreading

2) individual techniques: working on aspects of intonation, rhythm, bowing, and good posture according to individual ability; applying concepts from private lessons into rehearsals

3) practicing: practicing ISE music on a regular basis during the week; working to retain key concepts and instructions from rehearsal to rehearsal; taking music to private lessons


Individual Review Days (IRDs) – Students are expected to individually perform selected excerpts from the ISE repertoire in front of the ensemble. IRDs occur 1-2 times per concert cycle, and the excerpts are given out at least three weeks prior. An atmosphere of positivity and encouragement is promoted by all.


  • Arrive on time: The first people to arrive are responsible for setting up chairs and stands. Everyone will be responsible for returning chairs and stands at the end of rehearsal.
  • Arrive prepared: At the end of each rehearsal, students will be given clear instructions regarding what to practice for the next rehearsal. It is crucial to the success of the ensemble that everyone practices their parts individually, outside of Saturday rehearsals. Bring your music and a pencil to each rehearsal- don’t assume your stand partner will bring the music!
  • Individual Review Days: During one rehearsal of each concert cycle, all members of ISE will individually perform selected excerpts from the repertoire we are currently studying. I will give two weeks’ notice prior to each of these Review days, with the specific measure numbers that each instrument section has to prepare.
  • Ask Questions! If there is anything that you don’t understand about the music we’re playing, its better to ask me right away, either before, during or after the rehearsal. Asking questions is a necessary part of the learning process!


Conductor: Karl Ørvik

Karl Ørvik has appeared in solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Norway and South Korea. A violinist with both the Boston Public Quartet and Trio Klaritas, he has also performed as a concerto soloist, concertmaster and section violinist with numerous orchestral ensembles. Mr. Ørvik is a dedicated teacher who works easily with students of all ages and abilities. He is a member of the violin/viola departments at the Community Music Center of Boston, the Waldorf School of Lexington, and the Dedham School of Music, and in summers, he teaches at Point Counterpoint in Vermont and the Youth and Muse Festival in Boston. In demand as a clinician and adjudicator, he has been published in the ASTA Journal, and is the author of New Scale Method, an innovative scale method book for advanced violinists. A native of Canada, Mr. Ørvik has studied with many distinguished violinists and chamber musicians, including Roman Totenberg, Stephen Majeske and Calvin Wiersma, and members of the Muir, Cleveland, Cavani and Fine Arts string quartets. He holds performance degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Lawrence University, and in January of 2012 he received his DMA from Boston University.