2019-2020 Orchestra Season

LABOR DAY POPS at The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater

Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater

MON SEP 2, 2019, 6:00pm​
$5 in seated area, free for terrace and lawn


The Star-Spangled Banner
Rimsky-Korsakov: Procession of the Nobles
Roger and Hammerstein: Carousel Suite
Kirsten and Robert Lopez: Music From Frozen
Strauss II: Voices of Spring Waltz
Conti: Music from Rocky
Roger and Hammerstein: The Sound of Music Suite
Suppe: Poet and Peasant Overture
Shostakovich: Waltz No. 2
Strauss I: Radetzky March      

You requested, MDSO performs! Invite your friends and family to join MDSO for their annual Labor Day Pops concert, this year at the new Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater. Enjoy Broadway smash-hits from Carousel and The Sound of Music, and dramatic movie themes from Rocky and Frozen. Bring your friends and family for an evening of musical favorites that promises to be full of surprises!


& Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1
Masterworks I

Rite of Spring

SAT SEP 21, 2019, 7:30pm | Kirkland Fine Arts Center
Tickets: $15, $20, $25

Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Experience the powerful dissonance and driving rhythms of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Since its controversial 1913 premiere with the Ballet Russes, this musical portrayal of prehistoric Russian ritual has inspired generations of modern composers and listeners. Guest artist Ilya Yakushev will join the MDSO for a riveting performance of Tchaikovsky’s iconic first piano concerto.


Masterworks II

Symphony Number 5

SAT OCT 26, 2019, 7:30pm | Kirkland Fine Arts Center
Tickets: $15, $20, $25

Shostakovich: Festive Overture
Mahler: Adagietto
Gounod: Ballet Music from Faust
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Contemplate the heroic struggles of key figures in literature and western music with a program featuring the work of Gounod, Mahler, and Shostakovich. From Faust’s quest for ultimate knowledge to Shostakovich’s longing for artistic freedom, this masterful program promises grand orchestration and inspired melodies.


“Gaelic Symphony” by Amy Beach and Young Artists
Masterworks III
Women 2020

SAT FEB 1, 2020, 7:30pm | Kirkland Fine Arts Center
Tickets: $15, $20, $25

Gounod: Je veux vivre

Rodrigo: Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios
Natalie Mustea, voice

Maurice: Tableaux de Provence, 12'
Jenny Tullis, saxophone

Beach: Symphony No. 2 “Gaelic”
William McClain, guest conductor

Celebrate the centenary year of the Nineteenth Amendment with a concert dedicated to the legacy of revolutionary women and their allies. The MDSO features American advocate Amy Beach’s “Gaelic Symphony,” along with performances by winners of Millikin’s annual Concerto and Aria Competition.

More Info


Pirates of Penzance

Tickets: $20
FEB 20-23 [THUR/FRI/SAT at 7:30pm, SUN at 2:00pm]

Millikin University's upcoming production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" promises not to be what you might expect. These "pirates" are members of a 50's biker-gang, and are rebels without a cause. Except all of that changes when a young pirate apprentice meets the sorority girl of his dreams. This is an updated version of a classic operetta that you will not want to miss! This production is collaboration between Millikin Opera Theatre, the Millikin Chamber Orchestra, and Millikin's School of Theatre and Dance.



Pass Concert

Thur Feb 27, 2020, 10:00am
Children Concert: presented free of charge for Decatur elementary students!

The world famous production of Beethoven Lives Upstairs features a lively exchange of letters between a young man and his composer uncle. The production features professional actors, period costumes, and rich scenery bringing all your favorite music of Beethoven to life.

The Amherst F. Hardy Foundation has provided a generous grant to bring this lavish production to Decatur.


Symphony No. 5 and Young Artists
Masterworks IV

Beethoven 250

SAT FEB 29, 2020, 7:30pm | Kirkland Fine Arts Center
Tickets: $15, $20, $25

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 2, movement 1
Austin Shaw, piano

Abe: Prism Rhapsody for Marimba and Orchestra
Sam Deanne, marimba

Beethoven: Symphony No.  5
Tiffany Lu, guest conductor

Since its premiere in 1808, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony has attained worldwide renown, influencing composers of symphonies and chart-topping hit songs alike. Its revolutionary motive and architectural style is rooted in the famous opening four-note motive, which Beethoven himself described as “thus fate knocks at the door!”

More Info


and Bogza Symphony Debut!
Masterworks V

Carmina Burana and Sergey Bogza

SAT APR 18, 2020, 7:30pm | Kirkland Fine Arts Center
with Millikin Union of Choirs
Tickets: $15, $20, $25

Bogza: Symphony No. 1
Orff: Carmina Burana

O Fortuna! The MDSO and Millikin Union of Choirs come together to perform Carl Orff’s epic Carmina Burana. Although this famous scenic cantata premiered in 1937, Orff drew its Latin, Middle High German, and Old French texts from late medieval manuscripts. Maestro Bogza pairs this performance with a premiere of his own symphony, promising a blockbuster conclusion to the 2019-2020 season!

Stay Connected


Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra

The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble comprised of faculty, hired professionals, and is open to students who successfully audition for the Millikin University School of Music. The MDSO performs an annual Labor-Day Pops Concert, 5 Masterworks Concerts, Advent Services, and hosts high-profile guest artists and concerto/aria competition. Selected students also have the opportunity to play for Musical Theatre productions and various community and educational events. Membership in MDSO places a high demand on students who gain hands-on experience by playing side-by-side with faculty and other professionals in a nurturing environment.

Millikin Chamber Orchestra

Millikin Chamber Orchestra is primarily a student ensemble and is dedicated to providing high-quality training through exposure to an immense body of orchestral literature. Rehearsals are MW (7:15-9:45 p.m.) and membership is open to all Millikin students through audition. There are no restrictions on those playing a string instrument, but those playing wind, brass, and percussion, must be recommended by studio teachers.

Fall 2019 String Placement Audition Excerpts
Sunday, August 19, 1-4 pm, PMC 301

Use this recording for tempi reference:

Sheet Music


Sergey Bogza, Music Director and Conductor
sbogza@millikin.edu | (217) 424-3774

Georgia Hornbacker, Violin
ghornbacker@millikin.edu | (217) 424-6302

Sharon Chung, Viola
schung@millikin.edu | (217) 424-6307

Amy Catron, Cello
acatron@millikin.edu | (217) 424-3522

Guilherme Zilz, Double Bass
gehratzils@millikin.edu | (217) 424-3535

Stay Connected


Stay Connected


The Amati String Scholarship

The Amati String Scholarship offered to School of Music students covers up to full tuition for exceptionally talented string students.  For more information, contact School of Music Audition Coordinator, Hannah Krajewski (hkrajewski@millikin.edu).

amati string scholarships

Stay Connected


Common Questions

How can I get into the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra and Millikin Chamber Orchestra?

If you audition successfully for the Millikin University School of Music on violin, viola, cello, or orchestral bass, you will automatically become part of the orchestra program. No further audition is necessary.

What if I play a wind or percussion instrument?

If you are a music major or minor on a woodwind or brass instrument, your required major ensemble will always be the Concert Band or Symphonic Wind Ensemble. However, you may also play in the orchestra upon placement by your studio teacher. Percussionists rotate between Band, Wind Ensemble, and Orchestra.

What if I won’t be majoring in an orchestral instrument, but I’d like to keep up my playing?

If your primary medium is voice, piano, guitar, or some other non-orchestral instrument, you may still be able to play in the orchestra as an elective. Violinists, violists, cellists, and bassists play an audition for the conductor. If you play woodwind, brass, or percussion, you must be placed by the studio teacher.

What if I’m not going to major in music at all?

All Millikin students are eligible to audition for the orchestra on string instruments. Wind, brass, and percussion players must be placed by the performance faculty.

Is financial aid available for playing in orchestra if it’s not my major instrument?

If you play an orchestral instrument, we encourage you to schedule an audition for the School of Music, regardless of your intended major. Talent awards for ongoing and successful contributions to Millikin’s instrumental ensembles are available to all students.

Is the orchestra open to community players?

Per-service positions are available to qualified freelance musicians. Contact Dr. Sergey Bogza to schedule an audition.

What works have been performed by the Orchestra recently?


Knoxville, Summer of 1915
Symphonies Nos. 3,5,6,7, and 9, Piano Concertos Nos. 1,3,5
Symphony No. 4, Haydn Variations, Serenade in A, Piano Concerto No. 1
Psalm 150
As Quiet As
Tender Land Suite, Appalachian Spring Suite, Old American Songs
Nocturnes, Afternoon of a Faun
Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 9
Enigma Variations
Creation, Nelson Mass, Symphony No. 81
Symphonies Nos. 1,2,4, and 5
Symphony No. 4
Songs of Love and War
Requiem, Symphonies Nos. 26, 41
Pictures at an Exhibition
Tombeau de Couperin, Pavane, Mother Goose Suite
Reels and Revelries
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 5
Sweeney Todd
Death and Transfiguration
Rite of Spring
Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto, Nutcracker
Selections from Meistersinger, Tannhauser, and the Ring
Light of Three Mornings, Autumn Leaves
Jerusalem, Open your Gates

Stay Connected


Our History

The Orchestra was created by the convergence of an established community orchestra with the Millikin University Orchestra in the early 1920’s. The scope of the Symphony’s services and activities were expanded in 1975 with the formation of the Symphony Guild of Decatur, a non-profit support organization representing the wider community. This partnership has allowed the MDSO to provide an ever-expanding galaxy of cultural benefits to central Illinois in the last quarter century, including symphony concerts, the co-sponsorship of the Decatur Youth Orchestra, youth scholarships for private lessons and summer music camps, in-school programs, a competition for University soloists, clinics, workshops, master classes with guest artists, and partnerships with the music programs at area schools. For the first two decades of this period, the orchestra was conducted by the successive Deans of the Millikin University School of Music, Ronald Gregory and Wesley Tower.

An important new stage of growth began in 1996 with the creation of a full-time position for a professional Music Director and Conductor, a position that was filled with the appointment of Dr. Michael Luxner. Since that time, the orchestra has converted from a college-community model to a fully auditioned professional model. Working conditions, pay scale, rehearsal schedules, travel allowances, and repertoire are now on a par with other professional ensembles in the region, and the orchestra’s student members are trained in a professional environment and standard of performance.

The MDSO is also intensely engaged in efforts to build new audiences and to raise the Orchestra’s profile in the wider community. Initiatives in this area include outreach concerts, media appearances, contract services, publications, speaking engagements, and new partnerships with underserved constituencies. Building on a venerable history and unique spirit of the town and gown cooperation, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony looks forward to a distinguished future of artistic achievement and community pride.

Stay Connected