The Duquesne Symphony Orchestra is a central element of The Mary Pappert School of Music's curriculum. The orchestral program is integral to the basic musicianship training that all instrumentalists in every degree program receive at Duquesne, in addition to developing the understanding, technique, and discipline required of the professional orchestral musician.
Orchestra members rehearse three times each week and also attend classes in orchestral excerpts and orchestra repertoire classes for brass, percussion, woodwind, and string sections.
The Symphony Orchestra regularly performs in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Music Hall, renowned for its architectural beauty. In the course of a typical school year, the Symphony Orchestra performs 4–6 concerts including major works from the standard orchestral repertoire and covers a broad and diverse range of music from the Baroque to the present day. Soloists with the orchestra frequently include principal players from the GRAMMY Award-winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Open to select graduate and undergraduate performance majors, the chamber orchestra is designed to study and perform unique and challenging repertoire that the Duquesne Symphony would not typically play.
More portable than the full orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra often engages with the Pittsburgh community more directly by performing in locations such as the Hillman Cancer Center and the Jewish Community Center, among others.