The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra is a closely-knit community of five strings-only ensembles. Providing opportunities for our more experienced and less experienced players to work and learn together is a hallmark of our PACO program. Senior PACO members are assigned to coach younger ensembles throughout the year, and there are several performance opportunities during the season which feature players from different orchestras, sitting and performing together.
Our most experienced ensemble, PACO performances receive outstanding critical acclaim. Four local concerts each season are supplemented with annual tours to Dunsmuir and Ashland plus regular international tours. Soloists are nationally renowned artists, and PACO’s chamber ensembles perform widely throughout the region. Community service is a strong component of every PACO orchestra.
The Sinfonia Orchestra comprises young musicians with excellent technical skills, working to cultivate artistic quality and maturity. Sinfonia performs three concerts each season, featuring prominent local soloists and winners of PACO’s own annual concerto competition.
The Debut Orchestra consists of young musicians already experienced in ensemble playing who are improving their technique and musicianship. Three annual concerts feature music for chamber orchestra as well as string quartet and other small ensembles. Debut Ensemble concerts feature outstanding local soloists and also provide solo opportunities for members of all PACO ensembles.
Our Prep Orchestra further explores and develops fundamentals introduced in the SuperStrings ensemble. One Winter and one Spring concert each season feature works for the orchestra as well as performances by chamger ensembles. Orchestra members are given opportunities to play solo parts and the occasional addition of soloists and supplemental wind players allow Prepsters to perform a broad range of repertoire.
Comprising our youngest PACO students, SuperStrings introduces the basic elements of ensemble playing to young string players with limited orchestral experience but having had a few years of private study. Under the direction of Natasha Makhijani, an emphasis is placed on creating a positive environment where the love of music and of playing together is fostered for a lifetime of enjoyment. SuperStrings’ two annual concerts feature works for the orchestra as well as performances by chamber ensembles.